“If we do not consider the issue of intellectual property at the level of state policy, Uzbekistan will not be competitive even after 10 years”
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev
(From a speech at a meeting held on October 12, 2020 regarding measures to improve the system of protection of intellectual property objects)
In the second half of the 18th century, the world got steam-powered steamboats, high-speed cars of their time, high-efficiency spinning machines. As a result of such changes, a great industrial revolution took place. Mankind began to treat the results of their intellectual activity (inventions, written works) in a different way. They began to protect them in the same way as they protected their grain and house. In doing so, they understood that intellectual property created by human has a certain value like other properties. The great industrial revolution that changed the world led people to develop a sense of respect for such intellectual property.
So, how does today’s world, in particular, the Republic of Uzbekistan, react to intellectual property? What is being done to develop this field?
I. In the way of legal protection of intellectual property objects
In the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the state is assumed to have number of obligations such as ensuring the rights of citizens towards their property, in particular, intellectual property. The State should ensure property rights such as the right of every person to own, use and dispose of their property as they wish.
In order to ensure, implement and enforce legal protection of intellectual property rights of individuals in our country several laws, such as: Civil Code, “Law on Copyright and Related Rights”, “Law on Inventions, Utility Models and Industrial Designs”, “Law on Trademarks, Service Marks and Names of Places of Origin”, “Law on Geographical Indications” “Law on Selection Achievements”, “Law on Legal Protection of Topologies of Integrated Microcircuits”, “Law on Competition” and others have been adopted.
Admittedly, in order to develop the field of intellectual property, it is necessary for each country to implement certain reforms without relying on existing laws in order to fully ensure its legal protection and enforcement. In this context, systematic activities are being carried out in the Republic of Uzbekistan to strengthen the legal protection and enforcement of intellectual property objects and to eliminate existing problems in this field.
In particular, for the first time in the history the National Strategy for the Development of the Sphere of Intellectual Property in the Republic of Uzbekistan was adopted. The main content of this Strategy in the field is to increase the efficiency of public administration, to adopt tools of modern information and communications in legal protection of intellectual property objects, to develop a reliable legal enforcement system of intellectual property, to form a sense of respect and increase awareness of the population about intellectual property.
Also, the following activities were carried out within the framework of legal protection of intellectual property objects, which are:
a) the Law “On Geographical Indications”, which is on legal protection, enforcement and use of geographical indications was adopted;
b) in order to reduce the time and money involved in filing applications for the registration of intellectual property, a procedure for sending and receiving applications through [online] state information systems has been introduced. By the end of next year, the processes involved in registering intellectual property items are scheduled to fully operate electronically 24/7;
c) in order to prevent “bad faith” registration of intellectual property and to provide interested persons with an opportunity to express written objections to the applications filed with the competent authority, a procedure for posting information on the relevant applications on the website of the competent authority has been introduced.
Also, one of the things carried out within the framework of legal protection of intellectual property objects is the term of validity of copyright which was extended from 50 to 70 years.
II. In the sphere of legal enforcement of intellectual property objects The legal protection of the sphere of intellectual property in each state, its maintenance along with its legal enforcement, is a guarantee of the development of the sphere. In this regard, several works have been carried out in the republic in terms of the legal enforcement of intellectual property.
The most important among the cases implemented are administrative responsibility for the violation of copyright, related rights, industrial property rights, and right to demand compensation from 20 times to 1000 times the basic calculation amount rather than compensation based on the damage caused. In addition, the introduction of corporate liability for legal entities in the form of a fine of 100 to 200 basic calculation units (from 2,750 to 5,500 USD) for infringement of industrial property rights.
Officials have taken certain measures to implement the system of the protection of intellectual property objects through the customs borders.
Every year in the republic since 2021 (February 15 – March 15) “A Month Without Counterfeits” month is being held. The main purpose of this event is to effectively combat against counterfeit goods and increase population’s awareness about IP.
In order to strengthen legal protection in the sphere, new mechanisms have been introduced to limit the opportunities for counterfeit products to enter the market, namely verification of compliance with intellectual property rights: in product certification; and, in the state registration of medicines, medical devices and equipment.
III. International cooperation in the field of intellectual property During the last four years (2018-2022), the Republic of Uzbekistan joined the following international treaties in the field of intellectual property:
– Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms (Geneva, October 29, 1971);
– The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (Geneva, December 20, 1996);
– The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) (Geneva, December 20, 1996)
– The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (2013 June 27).
Officials regularly communicated with the international community regarding the development of the intellectual property sector. In 2021, they actively attended in events of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties (UPOV).
In addition, cooperation with the competent authorities of countries such as China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Georgia and Azerbaijan on the topic of intellectual property is ongoing.
In particular, on June 21, 2022, a memorandum of cooperation was signed with the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Intellectual Property Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the field of copyright and related rights protection.
As a result of the activities carried out in the field of intellectual property, the number of applications submitted for the registration of intellectual property has increased significantly.
The number of submitted applications on registration of intellectual property objects by year (in the case of the III quarter of 2016 – 2022)
Thus, in society, a sense of respect for intellectual property has been forming, and we cannot but describe that the legal protection of the sphere is being provided in every possible way.
In conclusion, it should be emphasized that every society, which is aiming to develop intellectual property, must ensure its legal protection and enforcement.
The reason is that the development of intellectual property is a guarantee of positive changes in the country.