Legal Regulation of Intellectual Property in the Republic of Belarus
At the moment in Belarus protection is granted to the following objects of intellectual property:
1. Objects of Copyright and Related Rights
The mentioned objects include any works of science, literature and art, that are the result of creative activity, regardless of the purpose and dignity of the works, and how they are expressed (copyrights), as well as performances, phonograms and broadcasting or cable organizations transfer (objects of related rights).
The copyrights have the largest amount of legal protection.
The period of legal protection of copyright and related rights begins with creation of the object and does not require any formalities observation. Moral rights of the author (copyright, the right to name, right to inviolability of the work, the right of disclosure, the right to recall) are protected indefinitely. Property rights of the author are protected during his lifetime and within 50 years after his death.
The property rights of the author may be transferred to third parties by the assignment of rights, as well as on the basis of an exclusive or nonexclusive license.
The holder of property rights is entitled to prohibit or authorize the following actions concerning the object:
- reproduction in any form;
- distribution of originals or copies of the object and its renting;
- public performance of objects;
- public presentation or any other form of showing to the public;
- translation into other languages;
- modifications or other conversion;
- import of copies of the subject;
- showing live;
- transmission by cable;
- other possible actions.
The remedies of civil legal protection of copyright and related rights in the event of their violations are:
- removal of material objects with the help of which exclusive rights have been violated, and material objects created in the result of such violation. Counterfeit copies of works, recorded performances, phonograms, broadcasting or cable organizations transfer have to be confiscated by the court;
- compulsory publication of the violation with information about the actual owner of the violated right;
- recovery of damages, including lost profits;
- compensation in the amount from 10 to 50 thousand base units (on January 21, 2014 the amount of the base units is approximately 10 Euro) instead of damages or collection of income, taking into account the gravity of the offense
- other remedies, provided by the law.
In addition, the legislation provides administrative or criminal liability for certain types of violations of copyright or related rights.
2. Industrial Property Objects
2.1. Inventions, utility models, industrial designs
Invention in any field of technology gets the legal protection if it is new, relates to a product or a process, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable.
A useful model, which has the legal protection is a technical solution relating to the devices that is new and industrially applicable.
An industrial design is understood in law as an artistic or art-design solution for the product that defines its look and is new and original.
Legal protection of inventions, utility models and industrial designs shall be certified with a patent. A patent is valid from the date of application to the National Centre of Intellectual Property (hereinafter — NCIP):
- in respect of inventions — during 20 years, renewable for not more than 5 years;
- for a utility model — within 5 years, renewable for not more than 3 years;
- with regard to an industrial design — within 10 years, renewable for not more than 5 years.
Attribution of authorship, compulsion to co-authorship, illegal disclosure of the essence of the invention, utility model and industrial design before submitting the application concerning them without the permission of the author, as well as violation of the exclusive rights of patent holders entail civil, administrative or criminal liability.
Civil remedies of protection of violated rights are:
- suppression of unlawful acts violating copyrights and threatening to their violation;
- recovery of damages;
- obligatory publication of the violation with information about the actual owner;
- removal of material objects with the help of which exclusive rights have been violated, and material objects created in the result of such violation;
- other remedies, provided by the law.
2.2. Means of individualization
Means of individualization which have the legal protection in the Republic of Belarus are trademarks (service marks), trade names, geographical indications.
A trademark (a service mark) is a designation that distinguishes the goods or services of one person from the goods or services of others.
A brand name refers to the name of a legal entity used for individualization for civil law purposes.
A geographical indication is a recognized designation that identifies goods as originating from the country or the region or locality in that territory, where a certain quality, reputation or other characteristics of the goods are to a large extent linked to its geographical origin.
To obtain legal protection all of the above means of identification must be registered with the NCIP with the subsequent issuance of a certificate of registration.
The Republic of Belarus is a party to the Madrid WIPO Agreement "On International Registration of Marks" (along with the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement on International Registration of Marks (signed in Madrid on June 28, 1989), so it is possible to get legal protection for a trademark in the territory of the Republic of Belarus through registration in the WIPO under the Madrid system with extension of rights to the territory of Belarus.
Within the framework of the Customs Union the unified trademark registration system has not been created yet. To obtain legal trademark protection in the territory of the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan an economic entity should register the trademark in each of these states, or use the WIPO international registration with extension of registration data to the above countries.
The term for legal protection of trademarks (service marks) and geographical indications is 10 years, renewable for another 10 years for an unlimited number of times.
The term for legal protection of brand names is in effect until a legal entity is liquidated or changes its corporate name.
The ways to protect the rights for the means of individualization are:
- suppression of unlawful acts violating the law and posing a threat to their violation;
- reimbursement for damages;
- removal of the unlawfully used symbols from the product or its packaging and/or destruction of images of the notation;
- seizure or destruction of goods with regard to which the notation was illegally used;
- penalty in favor of the aggrieved party in the value of the goods in respect of which the designation was illegally used.
Disputes which relate to protection of intellectual property are considered by the Judicial Board for Intellectual Property of the High Court of the Republic of Belarus.
The above-mentioned objects of intellectual property are the most common and most often require protection against unauthorized use. However, in addition to these objects legal protection in Belarus also covers selection achievements, integrated circuits, undisclosed information, including production secrets (know-how).