The West’s Use of Intellectual Property to Stifle Russia’s Commercial and Private Aircraft

As technology and innovation have progressed, war has transformed close behind, generating new types of weapons and threats. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrates the use of this development, including everything from Molotov cocktails to nuclear warfare. Though the West has not entered the fight, it has contributed to Ukraine’s efforts by not only supplying technology but by stifling it.

The United States Department of Commerce announced March 18, 2022, that it was imposing a new license requirement on aircrafts made in the United States or manufactured with more than 25% of its parts in the United States. Additionally, any action taken to assist these aircrafts, including refueling, maintenance, or repair, is prohibited. 1 In essence, the action has grounded 100 planes that arrived in Russia. The new rules have forced Russian airlines to start looking for alternatives to the ineffective and banned parts so their planes can fly without violating Western protocols. 2

This is a part of a larger effort by the Department of Commerce to cut economic and technological ties with Russia. The United States Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office cut ties with both Russia’s intellectual property agency and the Eurasian Patent Organization. The USPTO will also not grant requests for Russian patents for entrance into the Global Patent Prosecution Highway, which allows expedited processing once approved in the originating patent office.3 In response, Russia issued a decree that prevents patent holders from “unfriendly countries” to receive any compensation for the invention.4 On top of that, the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration has expanded entrance for Eurasian patent holders into its Patent Prosecution Highway program.5 Both sides are attempting to stronghold their enemies’ patents while supporting its allies. Clearly, as war and violence progress in Ukraine, the fight will continue among the soldiers but also among the countries’ patent offices.


Stephen Kunin Recognized by The 2022 Best Lawyers in D.C.

Maier & Maier partner Stephen Kunin is once again recognized as a top lawyer in the Intellectual Property field.  The 2022 Best Lawyers in D.C. publication has recognized Mr. Kunin for his work in Intellectual Property.

Maier & Maier prides itself on the ability to provide top tier service and relevant expertise to each of its clients.  Mr. Kunin is a shining example of the professionalism and successful track record that Maier & Maier brings to every engagement.

The complete publication of The 2022 Best Lawyers in D.C. can be viewed here.

USTR Makes IP a Focus of NAFTA Renegotiation

Earlier this month, the US Trade Representative (USTR), Robert Lighthizer, released a detailed and comprehensive summary of the negotiating objectives for the US’s forthcoming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The text of these objectives are available in a press release here.

In particular, the USTR seeks to add a substantive section on intellectual property, aimed at “ensur[ing] provisions governing intellectual property rights reflect a standard of protection similar to that found in U.S. law.” Listed objectives include securing greater compliance with the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), particularly with respect to meeting enforcement obligations under TRIPS; eliminating government involvement in the violation of intellectual property rights, such as through cybertheft and piracy; and “prevent[ing] the undermining of market access for U.S. products through the improper use of a country’s system for protecting or recognizing geographical indications, including failing to ensure transparency and procedural fairness and protecting generic terms.” The last objective appears to be aimed at the increasing levels of protection that have been offered by some countries to products with geographical indications, such as champagne or Parmesan cheese.