The EUIPO delegation, the heads of the IP offices of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Moldova, the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, and the Ukrainian IP Office’s experts and specialists discussed the latest developments in the field of intellectual property and the main priorities of further cooperation during the meeting.
“Today, there was a lot of talk about joint plans with European partners, and it was very nice to receive a high evaluation of the work of the IP office. We face significant challenges, but we must do everything we can to help Ukraine now, during the war, and in its innovative development after victory. On our path to European integration, our European colleagues’ experience, advice, and expertise are significant. You will help us overcome this path faster”, - the Director of the Ukrainian IP Office, Olena Orliuk, addressed the representatives of the European delegation.
The head of the trade and economic department of the EU Representation in Ukraine, Alberto Fernández-Díez, noted that intellectual property is important for the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), as it is crucial for the full integration of Ukraine with the European Union. According to him, the support of the IP sphere and creative and innovative sectors are essential factors for improving the business climate in Ukraine, further post-war reconstruction, and creating an innovative ecosystem as a whole.
Nataliia Petrova, Head of the Department of Examination of Applications for Industrial Property of the IP Office, spoke in more detail about the work of the expert corps, the terms of consideration of applications for industrial property objects and the challenges that experts face in their work. The speaker noted that one of the main priorities of the IP office is to improve the quality of expertise and the constant improvement of the experts’ qualifications.
The Executive Director of EUIPO, João Negrão, was impressed by the terms of consideration of applications for individual objects and noted that by European standards, they are operational. “Four months for the examination of useful models is very swift. You register utility models faster than we register trademarks,” he said.
Bohdan Paduchak, the First Deputy Director of the IP Office, emphasised that the Ukrainian IP Office closely cooperates with the European Patent Office in matters of more efficient processing of national patent applications. He also added that Ukraine is working on implementing the European post-grant opposition procedure for trademarks.
According to Olena Orliuk, the transition to the European procedure for consideration of trademark applications currently poses particular challenges for business. For the effective operation of this procedure, Ukraine needs to significantly increase the effectiveness of the protection of IP rights in general – and this is a complex task in which the IP Office is actively involved within its competence. Another task is to improve search databases significantly. “Improving the search and expert database for trademarks and involvement artificial intelligence technologies are one of the main problems for the IP office in the context of expertise. We are looking for opportunities and partners for technical assistance since quality expertise is key not only for a national applicant but also for a foreign one,” she said.
The President of the Patent of the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland Edyta Demby-Siwek, the Director of the State Patent Office of the Republic of Lithuania Irina Urbonė, the Director General of the Estonian Patent Office Margus Viher, the Director of the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia Agris Batalauskis, and the Director General of the State Agency of Intellectual Property of the Republic of Moldova Eugeniu Rusu told more about the work of European IP offices, as well as the challenges they face in the process of their activity.
Discussing the opposition procedure in the field of trademarks, Edyta Demby-Siwek noted that, for a long time, they had two registration systems (the EUIPO registration system and their national system) which was difficult for businesses since respective certificates and patents were issued at different speeds. “For entrepreneurs, time is the most important thing. Before we changed our system in Poland, there were many meetings and discussions on this issue,” said the speaker.
Eugeniu Rusu emphasised that Moldova is changing its registration system and relevant legislation in accordance with EU rules.
Mykola Pototskyi, an Adviser to the Director of the IP Office, informed about changes in the legislative field in the IP sphere. According to him, this year, important changes to the relevant legislation came into force and bye-laws were developed, which relate to the activities of the Appeals Chamber, and the “Ukraine” Commission, as well as the restoration of access to the profession of patent attorneys. The IP Office expects the adoption of these acts this year.
He added further that work is currently underway on byelaws related to trademarks, industrial designs, and inventions. The drafts of these acts are based on EU guidelines, which made it possible to take into account both EU Directives and Regulations and the practice of the EU Court. The next year, a large-scale reform of state registers and the development of methods for experts are planned.
Also, noted that the representatives of the Ukrainian side informed their European colleagues about the copyright situation and the state of the creative and innovative sectors.
The Deputy Director of the IP Office, Vladyslav Bilotskyi, also noted that the focus of attention of the Ukrainian office is not only on protection but also on ensuring the effective protection of intellectual property rights. Consideration of IP cases in national courts takes a long time, is expensive and requires significant human resources. Since this clearly does not contribute to the improvement of the investment climate in Ukraine, the IP office is working on the development of alternative methods of dispute resolution, in particular mediation, and on the administrative appeal mechanism.
When building the architecture of the mechanism of appeal of security documents in Latvia, they were guided primarily by the practice of the EUIPO. Agris Batalauskis noted this and added that they are ready to share this experience with Ukraine. Irina Urbonė was pleasantly impressed by the achievements of the Ukrainian IP office in many issues. She is convinced that the exchange of experience will be useful for both offices – Lithuanian and Ukrainian. Margus Viger talked about the support areas for Ukraine where the Estonian IP office can be useful.
The meeting participants agreed to share the experience of appeals within the administrative mechanism and court procedures between national jurisdictions and the EU. Also, during the meeting, the participants outlined the priority areas for the Ukrainian IP Office for methodical assistance from European colleagues.
Summarising the results of the visit, João Negrão noted the great role of the national IP Office in developing the IP sphere of Ukraine. “Keep doing what you are doing, because you are doing everything very well,” the Head of the EUIPO summed up, assuring his Ukrainian colleagues that they would do everything possible to help the IP office achieve its desired goals.
During the visit, representatives of the European Delegation could get a glimpse into the experts’ work and then visited the Museum of Legal Protection of Intellectual Property.
Photo: Yury Bielakh
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