Kazakhstan Limits Administrative Actions IPR Owners Can Take Against Small Businesses
On December 26, 2019, the President of Kazakhstan signed a Decree No. 229 limiting administrative actions that IPR owners can take against small businesses suspected of IPR infringement. As a result, the suspension of police actions such as raids of premises suspected of storing counterfeit goods took effect on January 1, 2020 and will continue until January 1, 2023.
The Kazakh government explained that the measures are designed to support small local enterprises. However, the change has a negative impact for trademark owners, because raids were the main tools used in securing evidence against counterfeiters.
The inspections can still be conducted under certain circumstances, but all inspections related to intellectual property rights, specifically trademark rights infringement, have been completely banned.
Many local infringers involved in counterfeiting activities correspond to the requirements of a small business entity (e.g. the average annual number of employees does not exceed 100 people) and even if they do not – it may be expected that medium-size infringers might re-organize the business so that it consists of several small business entities instead of one medium entity.
The administrative actions are still possible against medium and big business entities, and also against individuals that did not officially register the entities.
It is also possible to initiate cases under the Criminal Code, but thresholds based on numbers and values of infringing goods must be met.
After the roundtable organized by a local IP firm, a letter has been sent to the President’s Administration, asking to include trademark infringement cases into the list of exceptions, so the raids will be allowed. However, up until now the government has not responded.
For more information, please contact Mayya Pak at our Russia office.
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