EUBAM helps Moldova and Ukraine to strengthen enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) by providing advice, skills and knowledge transfer to partner services. The Mission also supports partners forge the national, bilateral and international networks they need to fight infringements. EUBAM’s IPR Expert, Irinel Surugiu, explains the importance of IPR and its relevance for EUBAM’s wider work on border management and security.
What are Intellectual Property Rights?
Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions and creative expressions, literary and artistic works, designs, names and images used in commerce. Intellectual Property Rights refer to the legal rights granted for some types of IP to protect the creations of the intellect.These rights include Industrial Property Rights (e.g. patents, industrial designs and trademarks) and Copyright (right of the author or creator) and Related Rights (rights of the performers, producers and broadcasting organisations).
What are IPR infringing goods?
IPR infringing goods are those produced without the consent of the holder of the intellectual property right. They can include:
- Counterfeit goods – whichinfringe on trademarks and often look the same as the original goods. These commonly include clothes, cosmetics, medicines and even printer ink cartridges! and
- Pirated goods– copied without the approval of the copyright owner. The most well-known pirated goods are CDs and DVDs for music, films or video games.
Why should Intellectual Property Rights be protected?
Protection of IPR is crucial for growth in research, innovation and employment. If an inventor feels that their investment to develop a new idea or product cannot be protected, the motivation to do so in the future disappears.
IPR guarantees to consumers that they are purchasing safe, tested and approved products. A counterfeit product may look the same as the original, but often will not have been tested to ensure it is safe to use. This is particularly true for fake cosmetics and consumables.
Intellectual property rights’ infringement also deprives governments of tax revenues. It means a greater tax burden for law-abiding businesses and individuals, and often means less money for schools, healthcare and social protection.
How does all of this relate to border security?
Let me put it this way: Do you know where your product comes from? If you buy an original product, you do. You have a guarantee that company is legally registered and the supply chain for the product is legal. If you buy a counterfeit product, there are no such guarantees and often such sales help to finance the illegal activities of organised criminal groups.
Are IPR infringements a big problem in Moldova and Ukraine?
Why should the European Union care about Intellectual Property Rights in Moldova and Ukraine?
Counterfeit and pirated goods are a global phenomenon. Statistics published by the European Commission show that in 2014, 35 million articles were detained due to suspected IPR infringements. These had a value of just over €617 million, and emanated from all over the world. As the economic relationship between the EU and Moldova and Ukraine becomes closer through the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas, it is important that there is a guarantee that the goods being traded are legal and respect intellectual property rights.
What is the role of customs in IPR enforcement?
Intellectual property protection cannot be ensured by any one agency. Customs administrations, the police, prosecutor’s offices and national agencies for intellectual property all have to work together for an effective response.
Customs administrations are perfectly positioned to interdict and disrupt the illicit trade in IPR-infringing goods. Most of the counterfeits and other IPR infringing goods available in the EU have been manufactured in a third country. To prevent these goods from being imported, customs has a key role.
Customs, however, cannot succeed in the fight against IPR infringements without the active engagement of right holders. Rights holders are responsible for informing Customs administrations of suspected IPR-infringements of their goods. Octavian Apostol, Director General of Moldova’s State Agency on Intellectual Property explains their responsibilities.
How does EUBAM support the protection of IPR in Moldova and Ukraine?
EUBAM supports our Moldovan and Ukrainian partners to protect Intellectual Property Rights through:
Strengthening the legal protection for IPR – The Mission advocates for the amendment of Customs Codes and sub-legal acts in both Moldova and Ukraine to ensure Customs administrations have effective tools to investigate and counter IPR infringements.
International co-operation – As well as facilitating dialogue and co-operation between the Moldovan and Ukrainian partners and rights holders, EUBAM also promotes exchange of information with EU member states and EU institutions.
Joint operations – Numerous joint operations have been conducted by the partner services with EUBAM assistance. In addition to being a practical way to counter-IPR infringements, the operations also help to increase inter-agency cooperation and build capacities.
Awareness of EU standards – In conjunction with other EU projects, EUBAM conducts IPR workshops for Customs Officers to improve their awareness of EU IPR standards on topics such as the identification of counterfeit goods, terminology, and risk indicators. EUBAM is currently benchmarking practices in both countries against the EU’s Customs Blueprints.
How can I read more about Intellectual Property Rights?
State Intellectual Property Service of Ukraine: http://sips.gov.ua/en
State Agency on Intellectual Property of the Republic of Moldova: http://agepi.gov.md/en
World Intellectual Property Organisation: www.wipo.int
World Trade Organisation: www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/trips_e/intel1_e.htm
Who we are?
The European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) was launched in 2005. It promotes border control, customs and trade norms and practices that meet EU standards and serve the needs of its two partner countries. It is an advisory, technical body based in Odesa (Ukraine). A Memorandum of Understanding signed by the European Commission and the Governments of Moldova and Ukraine in late 2005 is the legal basis for EUBAM, while an Advisory Board – which meets twice a year – acts as the Mission’s governing body. The mandate of the Mission has already been extended four times (in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2015), with the current mandate expiring on 30 November 2017.
What we do?
The Mission works with Moldova and Ukraine to harmonise border control, and customs and trade standards and procedures with those in EU Member States. It helps to improve cross-border cooperation between the border guard and customs agencies and other law enforcement bodies and to facilitate international coordinated cooperation. EUBAM assists Moldova and Ukraine to fulfil the obligations of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which both countries signed as part of their Association Agreements with the EU. It also contributes to the peaceful settlement of the Transnistrian conflict through confidence building measures and as a monitoring presence at the Transnistrian segment of the Moldova-Ukraine border.
Where we work?
The Moldova-Ukraine state border is 1,222 km long, consisting of 955 km of “green” (land) border and 267 km of “blue” (river) border.
The Mission is headquartered in Odesa (Ukraine). It has an EUBAM Office in Moldova and five field offices – two on the Moldovan side of the joint border and three on the Ukrainian side.
There are 67 permanent official border crossing points along the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, including international, inter-state and local ones. The central segment of this border length 453 km is under Tiraspol control, including 25 official crossing points to Ukraine.
The “internal boundary” between the two banks of the Dniester river is not monitored by Moldovan border guards, but there are some customs check-points supported by police at road crossing points.