IP laws to be harmonised and simplified

Estonia

The Ministry of Justice has initiated a project investigating the possibility of codifying the Estonian IP laws. This is the next step in the reform whereby all IP matters were consolidated under the management of the Ministry of Justice. Previously, industrial property was regulated by the Ministry of Economics and Communications, while copyright was regulated by the Ministry of Culture.

It is hoped that the single management of the IP laws, as well as the planned codification, will result in more harmonised and simplified regulations.

A preliminary study conducted this year showed that there are considerable differences in structure, terminology and registration procedures between the various IP rights; these differences are mainly due to the different adoption times of the various laws, the subsequent amendments and the influence of international treaties.  

A codification team has been set up with the aim of creating draft laws by 2014. At the current stage, it is most probable that there will be two separate laws:

  • one for copyright and related rights; and
  • the other for industrial property (ie, patents, utility models, layout designs of integrated circuits, trademarks, designs and geographical indications).

With regard to industrial property issues, the main tasks are:

  • creating a common structure and terminology;
  • harmonising the registration processes and requirements;
  • regulating in more detail the transactions dealing with industrial property rights and enforcement issues.

With regard to the trademark legislation, the main issues are whether Estonia should continue to carry out a full examination of trademarks and how the national registration system can be harmonised with the Community trademark system. This would mean creating a fast, cost-efficient and simple trademark registration system, as well as implementing quick opposition proceedings and effective enforcement procedures.

Almar Sehver, AAA Legal Services, Tallinn

The author is a member of the codification team

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