On May 5, 2022, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued much anticipated Russia-related general license (GL) 31, “Authorizing Certain Transactions Related to Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights.” GL 31 authorizes certain transactions otherwise prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR Part 587 (“RuHSR”) with respect to intellectual property. Specifically, GL 31 authorizes transactions in connection with “patent, trademark, copyright or other form of intellectual property protection (collectively, the “IP Protection”)”:
- Filing and prosecution of applications to obtain IP Protection;
- Receipt of IP Protection;
- Renewal or maintenance of IP Protection; and
- Filing and prosecution of any opposition or infringement proceeding with respect to IP Protection or defense to any such proceeding.
GL 31 does not authorize: (1) opening or maintaining correspondent or payable through accounts (CAPTA) for entities subject to Directive 2 of Executive Order 14024; (2) debits on the books of U.S. financial institutions of the Central Bank of Russia, National Wealth Fund of Russia or the Ministry of Finance of Russia; and (3) transactions prohibited by Executive Orders (EO) 14066 (March 8, 2022) and 14068 (March 11, 2022). Relevant transactions prohibited by EOs 14066 and 14068, among others, include any and all new investments in Russia and facilitation of any transaction by a foreign person where that transaction, if performed by a U.S. person, would be prohibited.