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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Nov 09, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 20/16)
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Amendments to IP Laws Drafted

The Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Justice has drafted a new law amending and supplementing a number of intellectual property laws and regulations to align Kazakhstan’s IP legislation with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) standards in the area of IP protection and with the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks.

The Ministry of Justice has held public hearings on the draft law, which aims to introduce the following:
- A single-level system for the registration of IP rights, i.e. all registrations shall be handled by the National Institute of Intellectual Property (NIIP), as opposed to the current two-level system where both the NIIP and the department for IP-related rights within the Ministry of Justice are involved;
- An appeal board shall be created within the NIIP to handle potential appeals against NIIP’s decisions, instead of going directly to court;
- Stronger enforcement measures, including fair compensation to IP rights owners;
- Simplified recording of license, sublicense and assignment agreements – currently, four originals of the agreement are needed for the recordal, but according to the draft law, only a certified copy or extract of the agreement will be required;
- Harmonisation of the ‘exclusive license’ definition with that of the Singapore Treaty — according to current regulations, a licensor retains his right to use a patent, trademark, industrial design or plant variety even after transferring his license to a licensee. According to the draft law, this right will truly be exclusive to the license holder, that is, the licensor will lose his IP right once he transfers his license.
- Clarification of what is to be done with original goods found in the same shipment with counterfeit goods – they are to be transferred to the rights holder or to their representative, provided that their appearance or purpose have not been altered; and
- Clarification regarding proof of use of a trademark – the use of a registered trademark in a slightly different form that does not influence its distinctiveness should be considered as proper use and can not be the ground for cancellation.