Ukrainian IPO Reform Explained
For a long time, Ukraine had a three-level state IP protection system comprising the Ministry of Economy, the State Service of Intellectual Property as the national IPO, and the State Enterprise “Ukrainian Intellectual Property Institute” (Ukrpatent) as the examining authority.
In 2016, the State Service of Intellectual Property ceased to exist, and its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Economy, while Ukrpatent continued to operate as the examining authority.
This lasted until 2020, when a law was adopted introducing a two-level IP system comprising the Ministry of Economy and the National IP Authority (NIPA). The Ministry is responsible for ensuring state policy formation and implementation in the intellectual property field, and the NIPA is the single national IPO performing public functions in order to implement the state IP policy. On October 14, 2020, at the initiative of the Ministry of Economy and with the support of the Ukrainian Government, Ukrpatent started performing the NIPA’s functions.
On October 28, 2022, the Ukrainian Government announced that on November 8, 2022, the NIPA’s functions performed by Ukrpatent would be transferred to the newly created Ukrainian National Office for Intellectual Property and Innovations (UKRNOIPI). This was done in order to complete the institutional reform by creating an effective two-level IP system and to resolve certain discrepancies in the Ukrpatent’s performance of the NIPA’s functions. On November 8, 2022, UKRNOIPI started performing certain NIPA’s functions, accepted official fees on new bank accounts, and proceeded with the transfer of other NIPA’s functions in order to fully absorb the functions of the Ukrpatent.
UKRNOIPI already takes part in court proceedings as the legal successor of Ukrpatent in IP disputes. For example, on December 21, 2022, UKRNOIPI participated in a court hearing for an appeal initially filed by Ukrpatent.
UKRNOIPI also regularly publishes announcements on the ongoing reform and explains its upcoming actions. For example, it was recently announced that IP deadlines remain suspended due to the ongoing war as provided for by the law adopted on April 1, 2022. On January 25, 2023, it was announced that UKRNOIPI was working on re-launching the attestation process for trademark and patent attorneys and on forming the Attestation Commission. The attestation has not been conducted since 2016 when the State Service of Intellectual Property, which was responsible for it, was liquidated.
Finally, the Appeal Board, which stopped operating on November 8, 2022 when the NIPA’s functions were transferred to UKRNOIPI, is also expected to resume operation soon. During recent meetings with the Ukrainian IP community, UKRNOIPI confirmed that it is working on the re-launch of the Appeal Board, but no concrete deadlines have been provided, likely due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. However, the new team is facilitating an open dialogue with the IP community and is eager to resume all operations as quickly as possible.
By: Igor Alfiorov
For more information, please contact Igor Alfiorov at our Ukraine office.