BELARUS: Amended GI Law in Force
An amended law on geographical indications (GIs) entered into force in Belarus on August 29, 2020, clarifying the definition of a GI and specifying the procedure for obtaining GI protection in more detail.
A GI is now defined as a designation identifying the goods as originating from a certain geographical area if their quality, reputation, or other characteristics can be essentially attributed to their geographical origin. Previously, the definition included two terms: the “name of place of origin of goods” (registered with the Belarusian National Center of Intellectual Property (NCIP)) and the “indicator of the origin of goods” (not registered, but acquired protection through use). The latter term has been excluded, and the “name of place of origin of goods” is now defined as a specific type of GI.
The right to use a GI may be granted to natural and/or legal persons or associations of persons to designate the goods they produced in a certain geographical area. Foreign GIs can be protected in Belarus if they are registered as GIs in their country of origin. When applying for protection, non-residents must be represented by Belarusian patent attorneys unless otherwise provided for in international treaties.
The applications will go through a preliminary examination (within three months from the date the NCIP receives a confirmation of the official fee payment, as in the previous law) and a substantive examination (within one year from the date of the decision to consider the application; this term was not defined previously).
If the application is approved, the NCIP will enter the GI into the State Register of Geographical Indications within one month after receiving the confirmation of the official fee payment. A certificate on the right to use the GI will be issued within one month from the date the information is entered into the Register.
The certificates on the right to use “name of place of origin of goods” issued under the previous law will remain valid but will gradually be replaced by new certificates on the right to use GIs. They will be provided free of charge at the rights holder’s request when extending the validity term or at any time before its expiration.
By Anastasia Khioni, Junior Associate, PETOŠEVIĆ Belarus
This article first appeared in the INTA Bulletin and was reprinted with permission from the International Trademark Association (INTA).
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