published on:August 2012
by:Business and Finance and Intellectual Property Practices
In this issue:
- Reform of the Russian Civil Code: Changes in Legal Entities
- Russia's Accession to the WTO
- Arbitration of Disputes in Russia: Recent Developments
- Shareholders' Agreements:Proposed Amendments
- Copyright Infringement: Liability of Internet Service Providers and Website Owners
Our offices in Moscow, Russia, and Almaty, Kazakhstan, opened in 2012 with the addition of a team of 45 lawyers from another prominent international firm. We represent international and domestic clients in the region encompassing the Russian Federation, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including Central Asia and the Caspian.
Reform of the Russian Civil Code: Changes in Legal Entities
The ongoing process of Russian corporate reform continues in an effort to streamline the operations of companies and bolster protections for investors. Russia is currently considering important changes to the Civil Code that will affect the types and forms of legal entities available for business activity. These are currently being considered
by the Russian parliament and could be enacted later this year, although the exact timing is unclear as of this writing.
Russia's Accession to the WTO
In December 2011, the protocol on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was signed at the Eighth Ministerial Conference in Geneva, ending 18 years of negotiations. Ratification by the Russian parliament and the signature of President Vladimir Putin followed in July 2012, which means Russia will become a full member of the WTO as of August 23, 2012.
Arbitration of Disputes in Russia: Recent Developments
Submission of Corporate Disputes to Arbitration
It is increasingly common in Russia for contracts to require arbitration rather than litigation as a binding means of dispute resolution. The Russian legal system recognizes both domestic and foreign private arbitration.1 However, the scope of matters subject to arbitration remains controversial because the Russian courts assert exclusive jurisdiction over certain types of disputes. Some recent cases have tested the boundaries of this exclusivity.
Shareholders' Agreements:Proposed Amendments
The "shareholders' agreement" is a relatively new concept in the Russian legal system. In the past, joint ventures in Russia have typically been organized through offshore holding companies, with agreements between shareholders and other legal documentation governed by foreign law. Investors argued that such arrangements were necessary to provide legal certainty and stability.
Copyright Infringement: Liability of Internet Service Providers and Website Owners
The main body of Russian intellectual property (IP) legislation is contained in Part IV of the Civil Code and generally corresponds to international standards. Russia is a party to the major international IP treaties, such as the Berne Convention, the Madrid Agreement Concerning International Registration of Trademarks, and other agreements administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, as well as the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects
of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (which Russia joined as a prerequisite to its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO)).