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2022

IP News Eastern Europe

December 2021

IP NEWS

Albania Amends Industrial Property Law

Amendments to the Albanian Industrial Property Law, introducing new provisions regarding trade secrets, trademarks and the Internal Market Inspectorate, entered into force on August 22, 2021.

Trade Secrets

The most significant change is the transposition of Directive (EU) 2016/943 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure.

Trade secrets were previously regulated by the Law on Entrepreneurs and Companies and the Labor Code and their subject matter was defined in broader terms. Now, under the amended IP law, a trade secret is defined as undisclosed expert knowledge, experience or business information that is not generally known or easily accessible, that has a certain market value, and for which sufficient measures have been taken to keep it a secret.

Apart from defining trade secrets, the amended law sets the rules for their lawful and unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure, and the rules for maintaining their confidentiality during and after court proceedings. The law also provides trade secret holders with a number of measures to be used in the event of trade secret misappropriation, including compensatory damages.

Internal Market Inspectorate

The amendments to the IP law also define the role and duties of the Internal Market Inspectorate (IMI), the main responsibility of which is to ensure the safety of non-food consumer products by instigating internal market inspections. The IMI’s role in enforcing IP rights was previously not defined at all.

Under the amended law, right holders can file formal requests before the IMI for the seizure of goods infringing their registered IP rights once they become aware of such goods on the market. The request should contain information on the infringer or information on the points of sale of infringing goods. The IMI also has the right to act ex officio.

The law also sets deadlines for acting before the IMI or before competent courts if the goods are seized by the IMI and the parties fail to reach an agreement. In this case, if the right holder fails to take the matter to court, the seized goods will be released.

The amendments also clarify that the costs associated with the destruction of goods seized by the IMI are borne by the rights holder.

The amended law now also includes the definitions for “counterfeit goods”, “pirated goods” and “goods suspected of infringing industrial property rights”.

Trademarks

Under the amendments, a trademark registration may be divided into two or more registrations; previously, it was only possible to divide a trademark application.

Finally, the Albanian Intellectual Property Office will now reject a trademark application during substantive examination if the mark’s dominant element is considered non distinctive, even if the applicant requests a disclaimer of such an element. This was previously not expressly defined in the law.

Prepared by: Melina Nika and Pinelopi Voko

For more information, please contact albania@petosevic.com.

Eurasian Design System Enters into Force in Tajikistan, EAPO to Serve as ISA, IPEA

On November 30, 2021, the Protocol on the Protection of Industrial Designs to the Eurasian Patent Convention entered into force in Tajikistan, three months after the country deposited its instrument of ratification with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The Eurasian industrial design protection system became operational on June 1, 2021, when the Eurasian Patent Office started accepting design applications, allowing applicants to obtain protection simultaneously within the territory of the states where the Protocol was in force – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia. Now Tajikistan has been added to the list of countries.

The two remaining Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO) member states – Belarus and Turkmenistan – have yet to complete their ratification procedures. According to Article 22 of the Protocol, Eurasian design patents will have legal effect in the EAPO member states in which the Protocol was in force on the application filing date.

Additionally, on November 22, 2021, EAPO and WIPO signed an Agreement appointing EAPO as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) for the period from the date of entry into force of the Agreement until December 31, 2027. The date of commencement of the EAPO as an active ISA and IPEA will be announced in due course.

Prepared by: Djurdja Krivokapić

For more information, please contact mail@petosevic.com.

Lithuania to Accept PCT Applications Online

The Lithuanian Intellectual Property Office has notified the International Bureau of WIPO that it will start receiving and processing international applications filed electronically via ePCT – WIPO’s online platform for filing international patent applications – starting from January 15, 2022.

Prepared by: Djurdja Krivokapić

For more information, please contact mail@petosevic.com.

Fake Batteries Seized in Montenegro, Their Packaging Destroyed

On December 10, 2021, PETOŠEVIĆ Montenegro representatives and local customs authorities witnessed the destruction of packaging for 7,680 batteries that were found to infringe a well-known trademark. The batteries themselves were handed over to the local recycling center that exports chemical waste to countries in Western Europe where it can be properly disposed of.

The batteries, which weighed 156 kg, were seized in August 2018 at the Port of Bar in southern Montenegro and were intended for a company in the capital of Podgorica.

The destruction of packaging was carried out on the premises of a local company from Bar which undertakes destruction in accordance with ecological and sanitary standards. The batteries were removed from their cardboard and plastic packaging, which was transported to the local waste yard to be recycled. Batteries cannot be destroyed in Montenegro as the country has no means of recycling chemical waste.

By: Jelena Radević and Mladen Čolović

For more information, please contact Mladen Čolović at our Montenegro office.

Hungarian Customs Detain EUR 2.3 Million Worth of Counterfeits

The Hungarian National Tax and Customs Administration (NTCA) officials recently detained more than 6,000 bottles of perfume infringing numerous trademarks, including Giorgio Armani®, Chanel®, Hugo Boss®, Versace®, Gucci® and Givenchy®. The goods, estimated to be worth approximately EUR 380,000 (USD 429,000), were discovered during the inspection of two trucks on the M1 motorway in northwestern Hungary.

On a separate occasion, near the town of Gyula on the border with Romania, NTCA officials detained more than 31,000 items of clothing infringing several trademarks, including Armani®, Moncler®, Louis Vuitton®, Gucci®, and Chanel®. The counterfeits, estimated to be worth approximately EUR 1.84 million (USD 2.08 million), were found during the inspection of a truck travelling from Romania to Vienna, Austria.

Finally, in the Zala and Vas counties in western Hungary, NTCA officials recently detained eight computers containing pirated software and fake diagnostic tools while inspecting several car repair shops. The damage caused to right holders in this case is estimated at approximately EUR 127,600 (USD 144,000).

Prepared by: Erika Farkas

For more information, please contact hungary@petosevic.com.

Romanian Customs Detain Fake Clothing, Footwear, Perfumes

On November 9 and 10, 2021, Romanian customs officials in the capital of Bucharest detained 5,745 items of clothing, footwear and perfumes believed to infringe numerous trademarks, including Christian Dior®, Gucci®, Chanel®, Givenchy®, Versace®, Paco Rabanne®, Adidas®, Puma®, Nike®, Lacoste®, Diesel®, Tommy Hilfiger®, Calvin Klein®, Lancôme®, Guerlain®, MAC®, Dolce & Gabbana®, Armani®, Prada®, Boss®, and Tom Ford®.

The goods, estimated to be worth approximately EUR 160,000 (USD 180,800), were detained during the inspection of a bus station warehouse and a bus arriving from Turkey.

Prepared by: Bogdan Neagoe

For more information, please contact romania@petosevic.com.

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