Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova Sign EU Association Agreements

Jul 31 2014 - 14:04

Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova signed Association Agreements with the EU in Brussels on June 27. The agreements will come into effect after ratified by all EU member countries.

According to some media sources, the agreements aim to accelerate the three countries’ political and economic integration into the EU and are a historic step away from Russia and its continuing influence over the former Soviet countries.

Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova will enjoy free trade with the EU, the market comprising 500 million consumers. It is expected that the national incomes of the three countries will increase; the rough estimate for Ukraine is an increase of EUR 1.2 billion per year. The three countries will also benefit from a visa-free travel regime with the EU countries.

Even though EU officials claim that this step will not affect the countries’ economic relations with Russia, Moscow is concerned, especially because it failed to convince Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to join the Customs Union (CU). Russian officials have said that if the three countries agree to free trade with the EU, they will lose free-trade privileges with Russia.

Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova were members of the EU Eastern Partnership, a program devoted to improving the political and economic relations between the EU and six post-Soviet states, also including Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus. The Partnership provides the foundation for Association Agreements between the EU and those partners who have made sufficient progress.

The Association Agreements with Moldova and Georgia were signed in their entirety, while the signing of the Ukraine Association Agreement concerns the chapters left after the political ones were signed on March 21.

During the recent IP Forum organized in Kiev, one of the main topics of discussion was the signing of the economic chapter of the agreement containing provisions regarding the IP protection regime.

The main attention was brought to the following provisions of the Association Agreement that need to be implemented by Ukraine:

1) trademark applications need to be published;

2) trademark non-use period will be increased from 3 to 5 years;

3) protected geographical indications at EU level will be prohibited for use in Ukraine – a transitional period for different kinds of goods varies from 7 (cheese) to 10 years (alcohol);

4) employers automatically get exclusive economic IP rights to computer programs if created by employees in the course of their job duties or while following instructions given by employers;

5) designs should have individual character in order to be protected;

6) liability for intermediary service providers – the provisions of the Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and Council of June 8, 2000, the so-called “E-Commerce Directive”, were added into the Association Agreement with minor changes; and

7) the term for patent protection of medicinal and plant products (which are subjects of marketing authorizations), can be prolonged up to 5 years depending on the time spent on completing the marketing authorization process (equivalent to SPC).

Prepared by: Elena Zubenko; Masa Lopicic

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Source: ITAR-TASS; Radio Free Europe

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