New Trademarks Law enters into force

The new Law on Trademarks and Service Marks of Belarus entered into force on January 25 2010. The amendments to this law, which were passed in July 2009, were intended to harmonize Belarusian law with the EU legislation.

Importantly, the new law includes a chapter on well-known marks. The chapter provides a definition for 'well-known marks' and outlines the procedure for determining whether a trademark is well known. According to the new law, the protection afforded to a well-known mark is not limited in time, provided that the trademark remains well known.

In addition, the new law states that where a trademark has not been renewed by its owner, third parties can apply for the registration of that mark six months after the registration has expired. However, if the owner has withdrawn the trademark registration voluntarily, third parties may register the mark immediately.

Finally, the new law has reduced the non-use grace period from five to three years.

Aleksandra Noveska, PETOŠEVIC, Skopje

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