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IP in Belarus: Trademark Use in Domain Names

Trademark infringement cases are becoming more and more frequent in the Intellectual Property Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus, which started operating in March 2000. This Chamber is the only court in Belarus empowered to consider disputes relating to intellectual property, irrespective of the subject and parties involved. And as of 2012, patent attorneys have been entitled to represent clients there. The Chamber’s decisions come into force immediately after their announcement and are not subject to appeal. They may be reviewed only by way of supervision, upon protests of higher officials of the Supreme Court or the Prosecutor’s Office.

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IP in Bulgaria: Landmark Supreme Court Decision on Trademark Infringement Crimes in Bulgaria

On May 31, 2013, the Criminal Division of the Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassation passed Interpretative Decision No. 1 on the application of Art. 172b of the Penal Code (the “Decision”). Article 172b is one of the few IP crime provisions in the Bulgarian Code, and it penalizes the infringement of rights involving trademarks, industrial designs, plant varieties, animal breeds, or geographical indications. More specifically, Art. 172b provides that a person who uses one of the aforementioned objects of intellectual property in his or her business activity without the consent of its holder shall be penalized by a period of imprisonment of between 2 to 5 years and a fine of between BGN 2,000 and BGN 5,000 (roughly between EUR 1,000 and EUR 2,500).

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IP in Latvia – Interim Injunctions in IP Rights Cases in Latvia

Disputes between owners of intellectual property rights and potential infringers of those rights often involve the need on the part of the IP rights-holders to take swift actions to stop potential infringement as soon as possible in order to minimize the harm that may result. But litigation proceedings can drag on for several years before a final judgment is adopted on whether infringement of the rights of the IP owner has indeed taken place. Therefore, to ensure that right-holders can achieve immediate termination of infringement without awaiting a decision on the substance of the case, legislators in Latvia have allowed them to seek interim injunctions, whereby IP rights-holders can apply to have the court order alleged infringers to cease the alleged infringement on a provisional basis.

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IP in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Introduction of the Complaint System in Trademark Registrations

In the course of continued efforts to join the European Union and the related necessity of harmonizing its legislation with EU law, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has, since the execution of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU on June 16, 2008, adopted a set of new laws. One of these laws is the Trademark Law (in force as of January 1, 2011). Prior to the adoption of the Trademark Law, trademark and other industrial property issues were regulated by the BiH Law on Industrial Property, which was not wholly consistent with EU law. One of the main novelties of the Trademark Law compared to the Law on Industrial Property was the introduction of complaints in the course of trademark registration procedures.

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IP In Macedonia: Denial of of Trademarks Registration Application for Generic Words in Macedonia

Most applications for the granting of trademarks filed in the State Office for Industrial Property in the Republic of Macedonia are for words. Generic concepts are words which do not merely distinguish one producer or performer of a product or service from another but actually describe the product or service itself, and therefore are not entitled to trademark protection.

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IP in Lithuania: Knowledge of Earlier Mark as Factor in Bad Faith Determination of Trademark Applications in Lithuania

In Lithuania, a trademark registration may be invalidated based on Article 7 part 3 of the Law on Trademarks of the Republic of Lithuania, which provides that a trademark registration should be declared invalid when it becomes evident that the application for the registration of a mark was made in bad faith by the applicant.

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IP in Slovakia: Options for Responding to Brand Infringement in Slovakia

The value of intellectual property (IP), such as trademarks and designs, is often underestimated, even in large corporations. Especially in small markets such as Slovakia, companies often realize the value of their IP only at a late stage, when unauthorized copies of their products are already on the market.

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IP in Austria: Final Decisions of Oberster Patent und Markensenat Before Dissolution Make it Easier to Register Suggestive Marks

Trademark protection in Austria is undergoing some significant strengthening following a recent change in the structure of appeals against decisions of the Austrian Patent and Trademark Office. As one of its last actions, the former highest instance issued several decisions making it easier for trademark owners to register suggestive marks.

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IP in Serbia: The State of IP Law in Serbia

Considering the country's geopolitical position and historical background, it is safe to say that Serbia is still the leader in Intellectual Property development and awareness in the central Balkan region. This is not surprising, as the Serbian IP Office covered the entirety of the former Yugoslavia prior to its disintegration in the 1990s, while the IP Offices of the other former-Yugoslavia countries were only set up after they gained independence.

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IP in Ukraine: Industrial Design Patents Used as a “Blocking Tool” in Ukraine

The current Register of Patents for Industrial Designs in Ukraine contains a huge number of humorous patents, from articles such as basic hangers, door handles, and rubber stoppers for bottles with medications, which have been in use worldwide for centuries and are known to any average person from their childhood, to the well-known and distinguishable designs of such items as Samsung and Apple tablets. All this has become possible due to the “user-friendly” design registration system in Ukraine, which does not provide for a substantive examination (the Patent Office does not check whether an article proposed for registration can be granted protection, and thus whether it is new and does not infringe upon a third party’s rights), and does not require publication of filed applications and decisions on grants of protection.

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IP in Turkey: How to Register an Interior or Exterior Store Design in Turkey

Companies wishing to obtain legal protection for their interior or exterior store designs in Turkey are faced with a choice: Whether to (1) Register the design as a trademark; or (2) Register it as an industrial design. Many jurisdictions around the world, including the United States, provide stronger trademark protection for store designs. In Turkey, however, trademark law as applied to store designs is unsettled, and greater protection may be found under the industrial design registration process. However, this option has some drawbacks as well, and companies should consider the relative merits of each alternative.

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IP in the Czech Republic: The New Czech Civil Code and IP Law: Any Reason for Concern?

The beginning of 2014 in the Czech Republic was marked by one of the biggest legislative changes in decades when the new Civil Code ("NCC"), Act on Business Corporations, and   Act on Private International Law came into force, in the process changing more than 200 laws. The NCC was adopted after several years of discussion and preparation, and is designed to extinguish the socialist basis of the former 50-year old Code and return to the pre-war legal tradition, as well as to reflect the needs of modern society. The NCC and the Act on Business Corporations change almost all aspects of Czech Civil Law, including both  Contract Law and Companies Law. This article, however, aims to look at changes the NCC brings to Czech Intellectual Property ("IP") Law.

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IP in Albania: Evolution of Intellectual Property Protection in Albania

Intellectual property in Albania is protected by both local legislation and international treaties. Albania is a signatory to most of the international conventions and agreements in relation to IP rights, such as the WIPO, Paris, and Berne Conventions, the Nice, Hague, Strasbourg, and London Agreements, the Patents Cooperation Treaty and the European Patents Convention, the Madrid Agreement and Protocol, and others. 

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IP in Kosovo: The State of Play in Kosovo

Despite being the least developed country in Europe, Kosovo offers a decent and competitive investment environment. To enable a smooth transition from the previous economic and legal system, the Kosovo Government has implemented a number of economic, legal and institutional reforms. As a result, the World Bank rated Kosovo as the most dynamic reformer among Central and Southeast European countries in its Doing Business Index 2013 report.

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IP in Romania: Trademark E-filing Launched in Romania

The New Year brought good news for Romanian intellectual property counselors. The Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (SOIT) introduced the trademark E-filing system. Long awaited by both trademark professionals and common users of the national trademark filing system, the E-filing (web-based) application was developed by SOIT in collaboration with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) and is aimed at reducing the time involved in filing national Romanian trademark applications. It is both accessible and easy to use.

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IP in Poland: Overview of Status and Pressing Issues

Poland is a party to all major international treaties concerning intellectual property, including the Paris Convention, Berne Convention, Madrid Agreement, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and the European Patent Convention. Furthermore, Poland's access to the European Union in 2004 extended the Community's trademark and design system to Poland. All of the agreements mentioned above recognize Poland as a country with a level of IP protection that respects and complies with the European standards.

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IP in Moldova: Overview of Moldovan IP Legislation and Procedures

The Republic of Moldova, a former USSR country, became an independent state on August 27, 1991. Subsequently, the Republic of Moldova has become a member-state of the United Nations, a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (“CIS”), and a full-fledged member of the international community. Currently, the Republic of Moldova promotes the EU integration vector in its external policy, and it initiated the EU Association Agreement on November 28, 2013.

Read more: IP in Moldova: Overview of Moldovan IP Legislation and Procedures

IP in Montenegro: Software Piracy in Montenegro

In the 21st century, significant resources are invested in developing and maintaining a high standard of products and services related to information technology. In the ever-changing  IT sector, companies that are involved in developing new competitive software solutions seek new ways not only to maintain the quality of their products but also to boost their competitiveness. However, the on-going threat of copyright infringement through software piracy often impedes fast development and healthy competition, as revenues are lost and additional resources are spent in tackling with the issue.

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IP in Slovenia: Temporary Injunctions in Industrial Property Rights Disputes

Temporary injunctions in industrial property disputes are regulated in Slovene law by the Industrial Property Act (ZIL-1). Industrial property disputes include disputes relating to infringement and validity of patents, marks, and designs, but not copyright disputes, which are regulated separately. For issues that are not specially regulated in the sectoral law, general provisions on enforcement and securing of civil claims apply.

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IP in Greece: Landmark Decision Orders Greek ISPs to Block Internet Access

With its landmark Decision No. 4658/2012, the First Instance Court of Athens called on Greek telecommunication companies to impose technological measures in order to block access to certain IP addresses which contain unauthorized content. For the first time in Greece, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were ordered by a court to intervene and take measures against unauthorized online copyright activities. Decision No. 4658/2012 constitutes a well-reasoned and important judicial precedent for similar cases of copyright infringement taking place through the Internet.

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