Consistent measures are being taken in the Republic of Uzbekistan to improve the mechanisms for implementing the results of intellectual activity and ensuring reliable legal protection of intellectual property (IP). Nevertheless, despite the success achieved, a number of issues remain relevant in such areas as the legal protection of IP objects, the timely adoption of measures for infringements, as well as the protection of the IP rights of foreign companies.
In order to increase the investment attractiveness of the country, combat counterfeit products and secure intellectual property protection, on April 26, 2022, the Decree of the President No. PP-221 “On additional measures for the further development of the intellectual property sphere” was adopted.
In accordance with this Decree, the Intellectual Property Agency and its territorial centers were attached to the Ministry of Justice with the transfer of tasks, functions and powers.
Also, from August 1, 2022, studies and verifications in the following processes are carried out using the “Portal for the Protection of Industrial Property” of the Ministry of Justice:
· Study and verification of intellectual property rights in the name, packaging and other details of products in the process of its certification;
· Study and verification of compliance with intellectual property rights when registering medicines, medical devices by the Pharmaceutical Industry Development Agency.
The Decree determined that from September 1, 2022:
- A procedure for sending and receiving applications for inclusion in the Register of intellectual property objects in electronic form, online tracking of the stages of consideration of applications and notification of applicants about the decisions made through the Customs Information System "Single Window" is being introduced.
- Customs authorities can protect the legitimate interests of the right holders of intellectual property objects, which are included in the Register, in the following order:
• in case of detection of goods at customs posts with signs of infringement of IP rights – sending a notification about this fact to the personal account of the right holder in the Customs Information System "Single Window" within 1 working day;
• in case of receipt of an application from the right holders within 1 working day from the moment of sending the notification – taking measures to protect their rights. However, if the customs authorities do not receive an application from the right holders within the specified period, the goods are allowed through in the prescribed manner;
• when right holders, included in the Register, apply to the customs authorities to take measures to protect their rights to intellectual property objects, it is prohibited to demand from them information that helps to disclose the alleged offense (about the manufacturer, the possible location of the goods and the date of its movement across the customs border, the features of transportation and the type of packaging, the location of the goods or the planned destination).
In addition, by January 1, 2023, the Ministry of Justice will have to develop and launch a special Internet auction trading platform "Intellectual Property for Everyone", containing:
• information about IP objects offered for auction;
• the starting price for the sale of IP objects offered for auction;
• information about concluded license agreements.
Moreover, by October 1, 2022, the State Inspectorate for Control in the Sphere of Informatization and Telecommunications must develop and launch the information system "Register of Offenses in the Sphere of Copyright and Related Rights" (Register of Offenses), which contains information about websites that have infringed copyright and related rights in Internet.
This State Inspectorate enters information about websites that systematically infringe copyright and related rights into the above-mentioned Register of Offenses based on the opinion of the Ministry of Justice. Further, the Ministry for the Development of Information Technology and Communications may ban these websites until the infringement of intellectual property ceases.
In addition, this Decree recommended that the Supreme Court adopt a decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court “On the unified judicial practice of considering cases in the field of intellectual property by courts of all instances on the basis of a unified approach in order to ensure the legal protection of intellectual property through the courts”.
Finally, the Decree determined that from November 1, 2022, the interdepartmental exchange of data on infringements of IP rights is carried out through the information portal “IP-Protection” of the Ministry of Justice (Portal). The use of the Portal is carried out in a certain order:
• Department for Combating Economic Crimes under the General Prosecutor's Office – provides information on manufacturers of falsified or counterfeit products at the request of the Ministry of Justice and relevant state bodies and organizations within 10 working days through the Portal;
• The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry for the Development of Information Technologies and Communications (in compliance with the requirements of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On Personal Data") – provides information on persons who infringe intellectual property rights on the Internet, social networks, at the request of the Ministry of Justice and relevant state bodies and organizations within 10 working days through the Portal;
• The State Customs Committee – quarterly submits to the Ministry of Justice generalized information on intellectual property objects included in the Register and the facts of suspension by customs authorities of the passage of goods that have signs of infringement of rights to intellectual property objects through the Portal;
• The Antimonopoly Committee – submits to the Ministry of Justice on a quarterly basis information on cases considered on facts of unfair competition committed with the use of intellectual property, and decisions made on them.