Uzbekistan Introduces Monetary Fines for IPR Infringement
On February 3, 2022, Uzbekistan adopted amendments to the Law on Trademarks, Service Marks and Appellations of Origin; the Law on Company Names; and the Law on Inventions, Utility Models and Industrial Designs. Under the amendments, which enter into force on May 4, 2022, legal entities can be fined between 2,200 EUR (2,890 USD) and 4,400 EUR (4,970 USD) for infringing these IP rights.
Following a right holder’s complaint, the Uzbek IPO will conduct an inspection of legal entities reported as infringers, after obtaining approval from the Representative for the Protection of Rights and Legal Interests of Business Entities under the President of Uzbekistan (the Business Ombudsman). The IPO officials will then prepare an official report on the offense identified during the investigation. If the infringer or their representative refuses to sign the report, the IPO officials will have to confirm this by means of a video or by the testimony of two witnesses.
Within five working days from the date the report is issued, the IPO will make a decision on the monetary fine and send this decision to the infringer within one working day. If the infringer pays 70% of the total fine amount within one month from the date the decision to impose a fine was sent, they will be exempted from paying the remaining amount. In case of non-voluntary payment, the IPO will make a court claim for the payment within five working days. The infringer has the right to appeal the IPO’s decision to impose a fine before an administrative court.
It remains to be seen how well the new measures will work in practice. The requirement for the IPO to obtain approval to conduct inspections and the possibility for the infringer to appeal the IPO’s decision before the court may draw out the process – it may take up to two years to reach the final court ruling. Moreover, the amendments do not provide for the seizure and destruction of infringing goods.
By: Djakhangir Aripov and Zumrad Ergasheva
For more information, please contact Djakhangir Aripov at our Uzbekistan office.