Important amendments to Trademark Law enter into force

Belarus

In accordance with the law "on the introduction of changes and amendments to some laws of the Republic of Belarus in matters of legal protection of intellectual property", the latest amendments to the Belarus Law on Trademarks and Service Marks came into force on January 15 2013.

Two main issues should be brought to the attention of trademark owners and other interested parties.

First, the principle of national exhaustion of trademark rights has been substituted for that of regional exhaustion. This amendment has been introduced pursuant to Article 13 of the Agreement on Unified Principles of Regulation in the Sphere of IP Rights Protection signed by Belarus, one of the current member states of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.

According to the amended Article 20.5 of the Trademark Law, the use of a trademark with respect to goods placed on the market in the territory of the member states (signatories of the agreement), by the trademark owner or with its consent, is not considered to be an infringement of the exclusive rights of the trademark owner. In other words, as of January 15 2013, trademarks owners are not able to prevent the import of goods into Belarus from Russia and Kazakhstan and/or prevent any other use of their trademarks in Belarus with respect to goods which have been placed on the market in Belarus, Russia or Kazakhstan by the trademark owner or with its consent.

Another important amendment is Article 24, according to which trademark licence agreements, trademark assignment agreements and trademark pledge agreements with respect to trademark rights valid on the territory of Belarus are considered null and void unless registered with the Belarus Patent and Trademark Office. Before this amendment came into force, the registration of trademark-related agreements in Belarus was not obligatory.

Taras Kulbaba, PETOŠEVIĆ, Brussels and Kiev 

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