Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia Ratify Eurasian Economic Union Treaty, Armenia to Join Union
The Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), signed on May 29, 2014 by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, was ratified by the parliaments of these countries in the first half of October and will come into force on January 1, 2015, establishing a new form of political and economic union among the Customs Union members.
In addition, on October 10, 2014, the Agreement on accession of Armenia to the Eurasian Economic Union was signed by Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia on one side and Armenia on the other. Armenia will become a member of the EAEU upon ratification of the Agreement by its parliament, but not earlier than January 2, 2015.
Among many issues governed by the Treaty are the general principles of intellectual property rights protection in the EAEU. Chapter 23 of the Treaty contains provisions on harmonization of national legislation in the area of IP protection and cooperation between the parties for the purposes of protection of IP rights, including the establishment of effective customs measures and the unitary customs register of IP rights. Moreover, the members of the EAEU agree on introducing a system of trademarks and service marks of the EAEU, as well as of appellations of origin of the EAEU.
The Treaty contains the list of international agreements on protection of IP, which the members of the EAEU should be parties to, but also allows the members of the EAEU to implement a higher level of protection of IP rights than those prescribed in the mentioned agreements.
The general provisions of Chapter 23 are further elaborated in Annex 26 to the Treaty, the Protocol on Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights. The Protocol provides minimal standards of IP protection for copyright and related rights, trademarks and service marks, geographical indications and appellations of origin, patents, selection inventions, topographies of integral circuits and know-how.
In addition, the Protocol elaborates on the introduction of trademarks and service marks of the EAEU (further referred to as the “Union Trademark”), which is basically a regional trademark right valid in the territories of all members of the EAEU. The system of Union Trademarks will coexist with the national trademarks registered in the EAEU members. First drafts of the agreement on the Union Trademark were prepared in 2012-2013, but there has been little progress in the development of the agreement (in fact, the latest draft on the website of the EAEU is dated May 16, 2013).
Finally, the Protocol establishes the regional regime of exhaustion of trademark rights both for national trademarks of the EAEU members and the Union Trademark. Currently, out of all members of the EAEU, only Belarus has implemented the regional regime of exhaustion of trademark rights in its national legislation.
The Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union and the Protocol on Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights are considered a positive development towards harmonization of national regimes of IP protection in the countries of the EAEU. The Treaty introduces a few novelties such as the system of the Union Trademark and the Union Appellations of Origin, as well as confirm the regional regime of exhaustion for trademark rights, which will require additional developments on the level of the EAEU, as well as implementation of these novelties on the national level in all members of the EAEU.
By: Taras Kulbaba
For more information, please contact Taras Kulbaba at our Brussels office.
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October 2014 News
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