On August 22, 2012, Russia became a full WTO member (the 156th), and probably the last major trading country to join the organization.
Russia’s Communist Party and other protectionist groups were against the country’s accession and even challenged the accession in the country’s Constitutional Court. On July 9, 2012, the Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of Russia’s ratification law and signing procedure for Russia’s WTO accession.
There will be no transitional period for Russia to start fully applying the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). Several years before joining the WTO, Russia brought its substantive intellectual property laws into conformity with the TRIPS Agreement and other WTO rules.
RecentlyRussia streamlined its Patent and Trademark Office official fees. The official fees for foreign applicants became the same as forRussia’s domestic applicants. This resulted in an approximately 25 to 30 percent increase of official fees for registration of trademarks but reduction of the fees for patents, utility models and industrial designs.
All of Russia’s trading partners and Russia itself believe that they will benefit from the country’s membership in the WTO. It is expected that in the long run WTO membership will create a more stable framework for doing business in Russia and improve IP enforcement in Russia.