Uzbekistan Adopts Resolution Aiming to Improve its IP Protection System
On April 26, 2022, Uzbekistan adopted the Resolution No. 221 introducing numerous changes and improvements in the field of intellectual property, to be implemented between 2022 and 2026.
One of the most important novelties is that from September 1, 2022 right holders will be able to file and track Customs Watch Applications online through an information system called “One Window”. The customs authorities will also use this system to notify right holders when infringing goods are discovered. Upon receiving the notification, right holders will have one day to request the necessary customs actions. If no request is filed, the authorities will take no action. Another important novelty is that right holders will no longer be required to provide information on potential infringers, such as importer names, possible transportation methods and locations of infringing products.
The recently adopted Uzbekistan’s Law on Geographical Indications contains no provisions on penalties for the breach of the law, so the Resolution aims to introduce these provisions in the Administrative Code by August 2023. The penalty amounts have not been defined yet.
Provisions on compensation for IP infringement in the amount from EUR 470 (USD 500) to EUR 23,500 (USD 25,000) will be introduced into the Law on Trademarks, Service Marks and Appellations of Origin; the Law on Inventions, Utility Models and Industrial Designs; the Law on Company Names; and the Law on Selection Patents, also by August 2023.
The Agency for Technical Regulation and the Agency for Pharmaceutical Industry Development will have to ensure compliance with IP laws when issuing product certificates and when registering pharmacies, medicines, and medical equipment. By June 1, 2022, the Ministry of Justice will have to launch a portal which the Agencies will use for compliance checks starting from August 1, 2022.
The Ministry of Justice, which has authority over the Uzbek IPO, has to develop, also by June 1, 2022, the so-called “IP Protection Portal” for intergovernmental cooperation in dealing with IP infringement. This portal will be used by:
- The Department for Combating Economic Crimes for transferring data on producers of counterfeit goods to the Ministry of Justice within 10 working days following the Ministry’s inquiry;
- The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications for transferring data on online IP infringers to the Ministry of Justice within 10 working days following the Ministry’s inquiry; and
- Customs and the Antimonopoly Committee for reporting their decisions and actions in IP-related cases to the Ministry of Justice.
From November 1, 2022, the portal will also be used for transferring data on preliminary injunctions issued to sellers, producers and distributors of counterfeit goods.
Under the Resolution, the Supreme Court has to develop thorough guidelines for reviewing IP cases which will need to be adopted by all courts handling IP matters. October 2023 is the deadline for the Supreme Court to complete its analysis of international IP court practice as part of its guideline preparation process. The guidelines are expected to harmonize the local court practice and make the rulings more consistent.
Despite its positive aspects, Resolution No. 221 does not provide for the introduction of criminal liability for IP infringement, or for the incorporation of the seizure and destruction of IP-infringing goods into the administrative procedure. Therefore, it is anticipated that right holders will not be able to seek criminal liability until at least 2026 and that they will have to resort to the more lengthy civil procedure in order to enforce IP rights.
By: Umida Solijonova
For more information, please contact Umida Solijonova at our Uzbekistan office.
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