IPR ISSUES: Protecting intellectual property rights in Ukraine - the next steps

Fighting IPR piracy is a major issue for the Ukrainian economy as a whole covering a wide range of industries and sectors

IPR ISSUES: Protecting intellectual property rights in Ukraine - the next steps
About the author: Andy Hunder is the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine
Andy Hunder
Thursday, 02 June 2016 16:47

World Intellectual Property Day, celebrated globally on 26 April, proved a great occasion to once again highlight and learn about important the role that intellectual property rights play in developing business.

The lack of enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) legislation in Ukraine has resulted in widespread Internet piracy. Proper anti-piracy legislation that meets Ukraine’s international obligations, as well as timely identification and neutralization of the IPR violations, will help to effectively address this problem. Implementation of Ukraine’s Strategy for Cybersecurity should involve transparent procurement of software – only with legal software can we avoid security risks that may lead to data leakage and financial losses.

At the moment there are nineteen certified collection management organizations (CMOs) operating in Ukraine. However, none of these royalties are distributed to legitimate rights holders. Shutting down rogue CMOs and certifying appropriate ones will contribute to the development of a clear and transparent system. Passing appropriate legislation in this sphere will establish clear procedures of authorization and distribution of royalties.

Counterfeit goods pose a real threat to Ukraine’s future prosperity and economic growth. The widespread trade of forged products (especially dangerous pharmaceuticals and chemicals) is dangerous for human health, for the environment, and for the overall image of the country. By improving IPR legislation, ensuring proper implementation, and by uniting efforts of the key state bodies, we will create a stable, effective and predictable system of IPR protection.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine has 12 Committees and 19 Working Groups actively working on resolving industry-specific and cross-sector problems of the Ukrainian economy. Our IPR Working Group is headed by Oleksandr Mamunya, Partner at AEQUO Law Firm. It is led strategically by Nadiia Vasylieva, who serves as a Member of the Chamber Board of Directors and General Manager at Microsoft Ukraine. The Working Group focuses on strengthening intellectual property rights protection, identification of violations in the respective field through the study and analysis of the existing IPR legislation followed by development of respective Chamber proposals and comments based on international best practices. Although IPR violation is a cross-sector issue that negatively impacts the Ukrainian economy at large, companies in IT, agricultural, seeds and healthcare sectors suffer the most.

Common concerns include the lack of a comprehensive national strategy that identifies the required legal and policy reforms, delineates implementation and enforcement responsibilities in the sphere of intellectual property rights protection. There are also concerns over the lack of respect for the rule of law and for property rights, in particular, across the country. These combine to create an urgent need to join forces and build coalitions between relevant government agencies and representatives from business.

Ukraine’s Government, together with the business community and civil society, should unite efforts in combating corruption in Ukraine. The “Three Ps” approach (Prevent, Publicize and Punish) may prove effective in rooting out this social evil. Concrete actions towards prevention of corruption in the sphere of IPR protection may include increasing salaries of civil servants, reducing bureaucracy, introducing smart technology where needed, leveling the playing field in the sphere of IPR, and strengthening investigative capacity of the key anti-corruption bodies.

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