On 29 September 2017, the President of Ukraine signed a Decree "On the Establishment of the High Court on Intellectual Property" (the "Court"), launching thereby the judges' selection process.
The Court will have exclusive jurisdiction over all intellectual property disputes in the country, including those regarding:
- rights to inventions, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks, trade names and other intellectual property items, including prior use right;
- registration of intellectual property rights; invalidation, renewal, and revocation of patents, certificates and other title documents to intellectual property; as well as disputes arising out of infringement of the said rights or interests related to them;
- recognizing the trademark as well-known;
- authors' and related rights, including disputes regarding collective management of authors' proprietary and related rights;
- conclusion, modification, termination, and performance of agreements for management of proprietary intellectual property rights, as well as franchise agreements;
- anti-unfair competition, in particular regarding unlawful use of other manufacturer's designations or goods; copying goods' outward appearance; illegal collection, disclosure and exploitation of commercial secrets; as well as challenging decisions of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine on the above matters.
The Court will consist of 21 judges who will form three-judge panels to consider disputes in first instance. The Court's decisions could be appealed to its Appellate Chamber. The Supreme Court of Ukraine will act as cassation court reviewing both the Court's and the Appellate Chamber's decisions.
Apart from general qualification requirements, judges of the Court must meet additional professional experience requirements. In particular, they must have either:
- served as a judge for a minimum of three years;
- worked as a patent attorney for a minimum of five years;
- worked as an attorney representing clients in intellectual property disputes for a minimum of five years; or
- worked/served in several of the above capacities for a minimum of five years in total.
The judges' prior experience in intellectual property is expected to ensure high quality of decisions rendered by the Court, and will allow rights holders to effectively enforce their rights in a timely manner.
Despite there are no rigid legislative deadlines as to when the Court shall begin its operation, we nevertheless hope that all the stakeholders will ensure its deployment within tight deadlines.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.