Registering Design Patents for Everyday Objects Still Common in Ukraine
Over the past few years it has become common in Ukraine to register design patents for everyday objects like toothpicks, batteries and hinges. In this way, individuals or companies try to make money as such design patents are recorded in the customs register of IP rights, and retailers have to pay royalties to right holders when importing them. The amount of royalties varies from USD 100-500 per container. Some importers refuse to pay the royalties and start court proceedings to invalidate the design patents, but others accept to pay because it is often a cheaper alternative.
Well-known retailers such as the German METRO Cash & Carry, Danish JYSK, and Ukrainian Velyka Kyshenia have all encountered this problem. Back in 2012, JYSK and Fozzy Group, a group of companies that owns and manages retail stores in Ukraine, filed an invalidation claim against a design patent for coat hangers and won the case in 2013. However, only a month later, the Ukrainian IPO registered the equivalent design patent again.
Such cases have become so common because the Ukrainian IPO is not required to examine design patent applications with respect to novelty. To resolve the issue, retailers are initiating legislation amendments such as making the examination by independent experts mandatory and preventing registrations of previously cancelled design patents.
Prepared by: Olga Goncharova
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Source: Ukrainian news portal Apostrophe
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