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Ukraine takes another (preparatory) step toward NOIS

May 13, 2017

Almost 2 years ago an entry appeared relating to the fairly high priority the US had relating to intellectual property rights and its place on the Ukrainian legislative agenda.

As stated at the time following a conversation with a senior US diplomat – “Certainly a matter that is not confidential nor sensitive that is a constant for the US, via its embassy in Kyiv, has been trying to quietly force up the Ukrainian legislative agenda over recent years, has been the issue of intellectual property rights/protection.

Needless to say the Yanukovych regime had very little interest in such matters, and the post EuroMaidan government has been slightly preoccupied with what it considered somewhat more pressing issues.  To be fair to the US, it too had issues it thought more pressing here as well.

However, the issue of intellectual property rights/protection is a significant issue – both for trade and business with the EU and the US – indeed the “western world”.

That same US diplomat will soon complete the Ukrainian tour of duty and head to Pakistan to begin a new posting.   The issue of intellectual property rights has remained high upon the US diplomatic agenda.

Timed no doubt coincidentally, but no doubt something of a welcome leaving gift, the Cabinet of Ministers has issued Decree 320 that transfers the functions of the State Intellectual Property Service of Ukraine over to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT).

MEDT is in the process of creating a single authority to deal with all matters of intellectual property rights to be called the National Intellectual Property Service (NOIS), the launch of which will occur upon a legislative intellectual property rights overhaul during the remainder of 2017.  It will be responsible for government policy implementation as well as being the single window patent intellectual property rights certification body within MEDT.

Prima facie this move appears to be a case of being seen to be doing something, when actually doing nothing (a regular political occurrence the world over), however it is actually a preparatory move toward implementing something that has to be done – and done successfully if Ukraine is to see external private investment arrive in a meaningful way.

Sadly it may well be that from Pakistan rather than from within Ukraine, that the US diplomat that has worked tirelessly in poking, prompting and pushing those in Kyiv to push the matter up the political agenda and along the legislative and structural path will see some real results from such endeavour.

Clearly even when structures, process and legislation are in place, the question of enforcement and equal application of the law remains to be tested.   Nevertheless a positive step on the slow plod onward.

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