A Civil Code of the Russian Federation refers to computer programs and databases as to a copyright and related rights. This means that the copyrights for computer program or database arise automatically upon creation and are valid during author lifetime and 70 years after their death.
Computer programs are granted legal protection as works of literature, and databases as to digests.
The author has the legal right to register a computer program or database in Rospatent during the entire period of duration of copyright. This registration is not obligatory and is purely of declarative purpose. However, it has many advantages for example, it can become additional evidence in the event of a conflict or serve as evidence of the seriousness of intentions for foreign partners. Since the registration is published in the State Register of Computer Programs and databases and in official bulletin, information about the program will become known to the public, which may become additional advertising for the right holder. In addition, registration of the program is a prerequisite for a custom work contract.
In order to register a computer program or database, it is necessary to gather a certain set of documents and submit it for registration in Rospatent. The FIPS is engaged in the state registration of computer programs. With reference to application for registration FIPS checks existence of required documents and materials for correspondence to legislative requirements. It should be taken into account that computer programs or databases may not contain information classified as state secret or other secret information protected by law. Otherwise, the right holder is responsible for disclosure of such information in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation. If all documents provided are in order and in case of pronouncement of a favourable decision, the program is recorded in National registry of computer software. The applicant is issued a certificate of state registration and information about the registered computer program is published in the official bulletin. The process of registering a computer program and a database usually takes 3 months.
The copyright holder of the computer program can be either the author or composite author or the third party who the program was designed for, however authors of the program are always considered its developers, regardless of who is the legal owner. Initially, exclusive rights for computer program or database belong to their authors, but they can be delegated to third parties by virtue of the treaty, however copyright itself is inalienable. Sale and purchase agreement or cession of rights for computer programs or databases must be concluded in writing, otherwise it is deemed barred. The copyright holder of the computer program has the right to dispose the program at their own convenience, as well as prosecute third parties violating their rights.
The registration procedure for foreigners does not differ much from procedure for Russian citizens including the amount of fees. However, foreign citizens cannot file for registration unassisted. It is possible to do only with assistance of licensed patent counsel of the Russian Federation who is specializing in computer programs, databases and topologies of integrated microcircuits.