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The Russian Government, on 1 January 2021, introduced new Rules about the amount of inventorship remuneration to be paid by employers to their inventors - employees by default (that is, in case there is no agreement between the employer and employee to the contrary). The amounts are comparatively high, which should be a reason for employers in Russia to pay closer attention to the internal policies on this matter. At the same time, from 1 January 2022, the employer will be obligated to offer to assign his patents to the inventor-employee free of charge, in cases where the employer is going to early terminate a pending patent for an invention created during employment.

The Russian law (art. 1370 of the Civil Code) clearly stipulates, that although the right for an employee’s invention initially belong to the employer, the inventor-employee should notify the employer about an invention, and the employer has 4 months from such notification to file a patent application or to notify the inventor about a decision to keep the invention secret. If within these 4 months the employer did not file a patent application and did not notify the inventor about a decision to keep the invention secret - in such a case an inventor has the right to file a patent application in his own name (if the patent is granted, he or she is obligated to grant a license to the employer for such an invention). But if an application is filed in the name of the employer, the inventor retains the right for remuneration.

Before the year 2014, the legislation empowered the Russian Government to set the minimal amounts of such remuneration which could not be amended by the parties. After 2014, the law limited the powers of Government in this field by setting up default rates, which are applicable only in cases where the parties did not agree to the contrary. Meanwhile, the parties may agree lower rates.

From January 1, 2021 the new Decree of the Russian Government on this point entered into force. An employer is to pay to their employee-inventors the following amounts by default:

  • for the creation of an invention — 30% of the employee’s average salary,
  • for the use of an invention — three average salaries for each year of use if the invention is used by the employer themselves; or 10% of the license fees due to the employer if there is a license agreement; or 15% of remuneration paid to the employer in case of an assignment. If there are several inventor-employees, these amounts are divided between them.

The Government also sets up the deadlines.

These rates are applied dispositively, that is, in relation to those authors of work made for hire with whom the employer has not signed an agreement on the remuneration payment. If there is such an agreement, payments to the authors are made in the amount and in the way stipulated by its provisions. Moreover, the author’s remuneration rates specified in the Rules are minimal and the employer has the right to pay a larger amount of remuneration.

In December last year, Article 1370 was amended. The amendment is to come into force from January 1, 2022. This amendment will introduce the new Clause 4.1 which obligates an employer to inform the employee about the employer’s intention to terminate patent protection before expiration of its term, and if the employee wants, the employer is obligated to assign their rights to a patent to an inventor-employee free of charge.