The law on the mandatory pre-installation of Russian software has come into force

Pepeliaev Group advises that, on 1 April 2021, Federal Law No. 425-FZ “On amending article 4 of the Law of the Russian Federation “On the protection of consumers” dated 2 December 2019 came into force. The law obliges producers and persons authorised by them to perform the prior installation of Russian software on separate types of goods.

In accordance with Resolution No. 1867 of the Russian Government dated 18 November 2020, the prior installation of Russian software must be performed on the following types of goods:
  • Smartphones, tablet computers;
  • Stationary and portable computes (laptops); and
  • TVs with a Smart-TV function.
The Resolution has approved the corresponding Rules for the preliminary installation of Russian programs for electronic computers on separate types of technically complex products.

An obligation for prior installation is imposed on producers of such goods and persons authorised by them, including importers and sellers (clause 1 of the Rules).

In addition to prior installation, producers and their authorised persons must ensure that Russian pre-installed programs have been displayed without discrimination in comparison with other pre-installed programs (clause 3 of the Rules). This requirement suggests equal user experience, which means the number of actions to launch and use a program. Russian applications must be displayed next to other programs of the same class[1].

The list of programs to be installed is approved by Directive No. 3704-r of the Russian Government dated 31 December 2020, which also came into force on 1 April 2021. The list contains 28 programs in total. 'Yandex.Browser' and the 'Gosuslugi' application must be installed on smartphones and tablet PCs; meanwhile, the 'My office Standard. Home edition' text editor must be installed on computers, and the installation of online cinemas is provided for TVs with a Smart-TV function.
It is important that the version of the prior installed program should be free of charge for the user when he/she turns on the device for the first time and in the process of its maintenance, including updates. The program’s rightholder is entitled to propose and/or distribute paid versions or paid extended functionality of the program during maintenance. However, if the user refuses paid maintenance, the rightholder must keep the possibility to use and functionality of the installed program (clause 7 of the Rules).

What to think about and what to do

On 1 July 2021 amendments to the Russian Code of Administrative Offences will come into force. These amendments provide for liability for a violation of requirements on the mandatory pre-installation of Russian software. The fine imposed on officials will be from RUB 30,000 to RUB 50,000, while on legal entities it will be from RUB 50,000 to RUB 200,000.

Before the above amendments come into force, producers and their authorised persons must bring their activity in line with the new legislative requirements on mandatory prior installation of Russian programs on smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVs with a Smart-TV function.

Help from your adviser

The lawyers of Pepeliaev Group are ready to provide comprehensive legal support to companies involved in the development and sale of electronics.
Pepeliaev Group provides the following types of services:
  • Advising on legal risks;
  • Providing legal assistance at all stages of the development and sale of software and electronic devices;
  • Representing a client when dealing with state authorities, as well as other services.

[1] “The Russian Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and the Mass Media explained to producers the methods of the preliminary installation of Russian software”digital.gov.ru

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