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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Aug 03, 2023 (Newsletter Issue 7/23)
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Competition Law Amended Excluding IP-Related Provisions

Amendments to Uzbek competition law will enter into force on October 4, 2023. They aim at reducing anti-competitive and unfair practices. However, provisions for the protection of IP rights have been entirely excluded.

The previous version of the law included the provisions which prohibited:

- Sale of goods with illegally used IP rights including the illegal use of a designation identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or trade name by placing it on goods, labels or packaging, or otherwise using it in relation to goods that are sold or put into circulation, as well as by using it in a domain name;
- Misleading consumers with products that resemble the original products of other companies by imitating their design, shape, names, labels, packaging, colors, trademarks, promotional materials or other elements;
- Registration of IP rights in bad faith.

The new competent body, the Competition and Consumer Protection Committee (CPCC) will have no authority to review and decide on IP-related cases. It appears that now there are no effective statutory mechanisms or governmental institutions to rely on when dealing with infringements based on unfair competition grounds.

The amendments are not in line with the Paris Convention, according to which every member of the Union is bound to ensure effective protection against unfair competition, and acts that create confusion as to the goods or the industrial or commercial activities of a competitor are to be prohibited.

Facts of infringement may still be based on the grounds of misleading the public as to the nature, the manufacturing process, the characteristics, the purpose or the quantity of goods (Article 10bis (3) (iii) of the Paris Convention). Conducting public surveys could be helpful in confirming confusing similarity between counterfeit and original products. In this case, IP owners would not be able to base their claims against infringers on the IP rights they own in Uzbekistan, but rather on the actual evidence that infringers are misleading local consumers.

However, Uzbekistan intends to accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and will hence have to align its legislation with all of the WTO’s agreements, including the Paris Convention. In accordance with the recent President’s Decree No.108 dated July 6, 2023, a new resolution aimed specifically at determining unfair competition acts will be adopted and used as a guide when dealing with such cases. Once this bylaw is adopted, it might be used to protect the interests of IPR owners in Uzbekistan.