Uzbekistan Amends Trademark and Copyright Laws
On August 20, 2021, Uzbekistan adopted amendments to the Law on Trademarks, Service Marks and Appellations of Origin and the Law on Copyright and Related Rights. The amendments, which entered into force on August 21, 2021, introduced several important novelties.
One of the novelties is the introduction of the expedited examination of trademark applications, which should be completed within one month from the formal examination decision date. Expedited examination is an alternative to the regular substantive examination, which takes between six and seven months. An applicant may file a request for expedited examination together with the trademark application or within three months from the application filing date. For an application to undergo expedited examination, the applicant has to order a trademark availability search, which takes 10 days and is subject to payment of a separate service fee, ranging from approximately USD 200 to USD 300 per trademark for one class, depending on the type of mark. The Uzbek Intellectual Property Office is not limited to running the availability search only among existing trademark applications and registrations, but can also include other available or well-known information that may serve as an obstacle for trademark registration. It is uncertain whether the cited trademark-related information retrieved from the Internet can be treated as well-known or whether it should simply be treated as publicly available.
The amendments also introduced third-party observations into the trademark law. The IPO is required to publish information on new trademark filings on its official website within one working day from the application filing date, and interested parties may then submit written observations against filed applications.
The amendments also stipulate exclusive trademark rights starting from the registration date. Information about a trademark registration will be recorded in the IPO’s register and published on the IPO’s website on the date of trademark registration. Previously it was unclear whether trademark rights started on the date of publication or on the date of registration. These two dates were different – publication usually took place at the end of each month, while registration took place three days after the payment of registration fees.
Under the copyright law amendments, duration of copyright changed from 50 to 70 years after the author’s or the last co-author’s death. The amended copyright law also stipulates a fine for breaching copyright law ranging from USD 540 to USD 27,000 depending on the severity of the infringement.
While the amendments are not substantive, they represent a step forward in following the principles and rules set forth in the TRIPS Agreement as part of Uzbekistan’s aspirations to join the WTO.
By: Umida Solijonova
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