On 14 July 2020, the newly adopted law finalizing institutional IP reform in Ukraine was published. Within three months after publication, the new National Intellectual Property Authority (NIPA) will be established to replace the state enterprise "Ukrainian Intellectual Property Institute" ("Ukrpatent") and will absorb certain functions of the Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture (MDETA). The reform will streamline and shorten the IP registration process, but some turbulence is possible during the transition period.
The new law establishes the NIPA as a special organization that would be responsible for protection of both industrial property and copyrights. The NIPA would absorb Ukrpatent and other government organizations in the IP sphere in order to form a single IP office. The MDETA will continue supervising the NIPA and serving as a higher level IP focal point responsible for the formation and implementation of state IP policy.
The NIPA will absorb the functions of Ukrpatent and certain functions of the MDETA that include, among others:
- examination of applications for IP registration
- registration of IP and issuance of patents and certificates
- invalidation of certain types of IP registrations (post-grant oppositions procedure)
- publication of official information, maintenance of IP rights registries, provision of excerpts and extracts, etc.
The structure of the NIPA will comprise of:
- Appellate Chamber (post-grant oppositions and designation of trademarks well known in Ukraine)
- Attestation and Appellate Commissions (patent attorneys attestation matters)
The Ukrainian professional community strongly supports and welcomes this long-awaited reform that should bring more transparency and efficiency to the local patent and trademark office's activity. The businesses will also benefit from the new system as the redistribution of powers between the MDETA and the NIPA should positively influence the overall timing of the IP registration process. However, applicants must prepare for some turbulence and possible uncertainties throughout the next few months of the transition period.
The adoption of this law ends the prolonged four-year period of institutional IP reform in Ukraine. Along with the reform of the collective management system, the establishment of NIPA was one of the main reforms to be implemented under:
- Sustainable Development Strategy "Ukraine – 2020"
- Concept of Reforming of the State System of Intellectual Property Legal Protection in Ukraine
- Plan of Measures on Implementation of the Concept of Reforming of the State System of Intellectual Property Legal Protection in Ukraine
At present, the launch of the High Intellectual Property Court remains the most anticipated reform. This step would finalize the set of reforms aimed to increase the level of IP rights protection in Ukraine.