Intellectual Property: Border Crossing Fines

The Russian authorities are tightening measures to combat the diversion of domestic technologies abroad: a special decree of the government of the Russian Federation imposed fines on participants in the draft National Technology Initiative (STI) for transferring technologies developed with state support to foreigners. The Decree introduces the responsibility of STI participants for the alienation of exclusive rights to intellectual property to foreign legal entities and Russian companies whose share in the capital is below 50%. In the event of such an alienation, STI participants must return all received state funds within five days, as well as pay a fine, which will be calculated depending on the amount of support received and based on the Bank of Russia key rate.

The logic of the developers of the new penalties is clear: if you developed a technology for a grant from the budget, and then sold it abroad, then please return everything that the state spent on this work, plus pay a fine in the form of a fine. However, representatives of the Russian hi-tech community believe that it will be difficult to put such a good idea into practice. After all, the copyright of a particular technology can be proved only if there is a patent on it. And far from all new technological solutions created, including with the participation of STI projects, go to patenting, and thus, the concept of technology transfer abroad often looks very vague. New penalties can have the opposite effect: for reinsurance, young scientists will be less likely to make contact with foreign specialists, being afraid to make themselves suspected of causing an important idea to leak abroad.

However, soon after the decision was issued, the press service of the Russian Venture Company (STI project office) hastened to declare: new penalties will be applied only in cases of explicit transfer to the foreign jurisdiction of exclusive rights to intellectual property. So, the common formats for the interaction of STI employees with foreign specialists should not suffer.