At the end of March 2021, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation put forward a proposal to introduce an approved panel of experts to be responsible for forensic examinations in intellectual property matters. According to the draft Order of the Ministry of Justice of Russia N 237, a new panel of experts for the "Investigation of intellectual property" matters would be officially recognized.
The Order includes categories of forensic experts and lists specialty categories of forensic examination that would be carried out by the Ministry of Justice. With the benefit of such a list that includes intellectual property, Russian courts dealing with IP matters would be able to look to the Ministry for help on matters requiring expert analysis.
In practice, forensic expert examinations are requested by Russian courts when the science or engineering aspects of a case are complex and the court is in need of guidance.
For example, in patent disputes, there are invariably complex technical questions associated with the interpretation of the patent claims and the analysis of the impugned device or product. In trademark disputes, forensic examination addresses issues of trademark similarity, similarity of goods and services and if there is confusion between the allegedly infringing unregistered designation and the protected trademark.
For that reason, in IP cases there is a high demand for the use of special knowledge associated with the legal protection of intellectual property. Currently, the practice is such that the parties of a case put forward their own preferred expert candidates, usually patent attorneys, non-state expert institutions or university professors. The court is then faced with the decision as to who is the best candidate.
According to the Ministry, the possibility of involving the Ministry as a state expert organization will help to resolve the challenges faced by the courts in choosing which expert is the better one for the case.