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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Jun 14, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 11/16)
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Law On Trademarks and Service Marks Amended

The Law “On amendments and additions to some laws of the Republic of Belarus on issues of Trademarks and Service Marks protection” was adopted on January 5, 2016. The amendments will enter into force on July 15, 2016.

It is expected that the Regulation “On the Procedure of Registration of Trademark and Service Mark” will be agreed upon the main Trademark Law of the Republic of Belarus in the near future.

The major changes to the Law are defined below.

Grounds for refusal of registration
The list of grounds for refusal of registration was added and amended. Previously, registration of the trademarks consisting exclusively from marks or indications used for a designation of a kind, quality, quantity, property, purpose, value of the goods, and also of a place, time, and process of their manufacturing or selling, were not allowed. According to the amendments, registration will be refused if the mark or indication dominates in the applied sign. Also, signs, identical or similar to the extent of confusion to the plant variety or designs protected in Belarus in relation to goods of the same kind, the right to which is arisen prior to the filing date of such trademark application, will not be registered as a trademark.

Statement of classes according to the International Classification of Goods and Services
The list of goods and indication of a respective class (classes) grouped according to the International Classification of Goods and Services must be indicated in the application. Previously such indication was optional.

Filing of application (payment of fees and filing of POA)
The document confirming the payment of the patent duty in the established amount and a document confirming the powers of the patent agent should be filed simultaneously with the application or within two months from the filing date. The above-mentioned possibility has not been stipulated earlier: both documents were required to be filed simultaneously with the application.

Duration of expert examination of requested sign
Expert examination of a requested sign which is effected upon the end of the preliminary expert examination shall be conducted within two years from the date of acceptance of trademark application into consideration.

Restoration of the missed time limits
According to the amendments, following terms could be restored:
The time limit for responding to preliminary expert examination request; for responding to expert examination request; for submission of a petition for conducting an expert re-examination and the time limit for loading a complaint with the Appeal Council.
It is possible to restore mentioned time limits within three months from the date of their expiration on condition that restoration fees have been paid and the reasonable excuse of time limit expiry has been proved.

Publication of data about trademark application and registration
The data of the trademark application which was accepted for consideration will be published on the official website of the patent body within two months from the date of acceptance for consideration. Publication of the data about trademark application has not been stipulated earlier.

At the same time, the data relating to the registration of a trademark and entering in the Register will be published in the official edition of the patent body within two months after the date of registration of the trademark in the Register instead of three months which were established previously.

Recognition of Trademark as Well-Known
The data on well-known trademarks were published in the official bulletin within three months from the date of their entering in the list of well-known trademarks. This term has been reduced to two months.

Also, the term for appealing the Decision of the Appeal Council was reduced from one year to six months.

Moreover, some changes to the Regulation “On the Procedure of Registration of Trademark and Service Mark” have been announced at the meeting with the patent attorneys of the Republic of Belarus, which was held on May 30, 2016. The changes include the following:
- The information about divisional and conversed trademark applications will be clarified;
- A new form of PoA is planned to be implemented. Applicant must manually indicate full list of attorney’s power by himself;
- The payment term of fees related to certificate issuance, trademark registration in the State Register and its publication will be prolonged. After expiration of the 2-month term, it will be possible to pay the above-mention fee during three extra months together with a 50% surcharge.

Source: Mikhailyuk, Sorokolat and Partners, Ukraine