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?
European Commission: http://europa.eu/youreurope/business/start-grow/intellectual-property-rights/index_en.htm
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) works in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to:
– Promote European Union border management standards and procedures for a quicker crossing of people and goods;
-Enhance the professional capacities of the Moldovan and Ukrainian Customs and Border Authorities;
-Assist Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities in combating cross-border crime more efficiently;
-Act as a catalyst and bring together key stakeholders to strengthen cross-border cooperation between the border authorities and law enforcement agencies;
-Contribute to the peaceful settlement of the Transnistrian conflict.
What we do?
We are at the border between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to:
- Promote European border management standards and procedures for a quicker crossing of people and goods;
- Enhance the professional capacities of the Moldovan and Ukrainian Customs and Border Authorities;
- Assist our Moldovan and Ukrainian partners in combating cross-border crime more efficiently;
- Act as a catalyst and bring together key stakeholders to strengthen cross-border cooperation between border authorities and law enforcement agencies;
- Contribute to the peaceful settlement of the Transnistrian conflict.
Where we work?
The Mission is headquartered in Odesa, Ukraine and in addition, has two country offices (Chisinau, Moldova and Odesa, Ukraine) and key working locations on the border.
The Moldovan-Ukrainian state border is 1222 km long, of which 955 km is the “green” (land) border, and 267 km is the “blue” (river) border.
There are 67 official crossing points on the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, including international, interstate and local ones, 25 of which are located on the central (Transnistrian) segment.
The length of the Administrative Line between the two banks of the Nistru/Dniester is 411 km. There are 9 customs posts along the Line, where representatives of the Customs Service of the Republic of Moldova conduct customs control with the support of the Ministry of Internal Affairs representatives. There are also 6 subdivisions of the Bureau for Migration and Refugees, where foreigners can voluntarily register or deregister.