For SMEs, the protection of their innovations and technology under a reliable intellectual property (IP) regime is crucial. To ensure the existence of such an environment, Uzbekistan is examining its level of compliance with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in its process to become a full-fledged member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The TRIPS Agreement: - sets forth minimum standards of protection for several areas of IP, - mandates detailed civil, criminal, and border enforcement provisions with regard to IP, and - is subject to enforceable dispute settlement.
As WTO Members have the freedom to choose the appropriate method of implementing the provisions of the TRIPS agreement within their own legal system and practice, understanding the subtleties of the agreement is key for the Uzbek authorities in their accession negotiations. To support their efforts, the WTO together with the WIPO and ITC, through the European Union (EU) 'Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan's accession to the WTO' project, have recently joined forces to organize a dedicated workshop for Uzbek negotiators on issues related to the TRIPS Agreement. .
During the workshop, IP experts gave participants an extensive overview of the Agreement and showcased some best practices cases from countries with similar legal background. In particular, topics discussed included
Focusing on the national aspects of the IP regime, participants of the workshop were introduced to the current settings of Uzbekistan's IP protection system as well as to recent developments in the laws and regulations relevant for the WTO accession. The workshop also created an opportunity to discuss the development of an IP Strategy for Uzbekistan and the progress made with the assistance of WIPO, which is one of the endeavours put in place to support Uzbekistan in the strengthening of its national IP regime.
It is important to note that participants of the workshop came from a wide array of government agencies and ministries, to ensure a much-needed holistic approach of these IP issues, including but not limited to the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade, the Agency on Intellectual Property, the State Customs Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture.
The compliance of Uzbekistan's IP laws with the TRIPS Agreement will not only play a crucial role in Uzbekistan's accession to the WTO, but it will also further develop significant economic sectors such as creative industries, the pharmaceutical industry, agriculture and/or high-technology among others, by securing their IP rights on an international level.