Challenges and Opportunities.
Losses to international corporations operating in the former Soviet Union from trademark piracy, counterfeits and other intellectual property violations are estimated at more than $1 billion. Some major companies report as much as 50 percent of their world-famous trademarks, brands and products in the region are fake. In addition, governments in the region lose hundreds of millions of dollars each year in uncollected taxes, duties and fees because of counterfeit goods. Enforcement of IP laws and regulations is hindered by a lack of political will, bureaucratic inertia and corruption at all levels of government. The PBN Company realized that neither the public sector nor the private sector alone could solve this growing and costly problem. As a result, The PBN Company, under the guidance of an Executive Policy Committee, launched CIPR to serve as a catalyst for public and private cooperation around a common agenda of intellectual property protection and enforcement in the region.
The PBN Company was hired to help launch and sustain CIPR. The objectives of the organization are:
- Establish CIPR as a leading voice on IPR protection and enforcement in the region.
- Develop and maintain collegial working relationships with intellectual property decision-makers at the highest levels of government in the Baltic States, Russia and the other countries of the former Soviet Union.
- Establish transparent IPR regimes throughout the region that adhere to international standards and treaties.
- Resolve specific IPR problems of CIPR member companies.
- Raise the profile of intellectual property issues throughout the former Soviet Union through coalition- and consensus-building around a framework for reform.
To ensure that CIPR achieved its important objectives and to distinguish it from other intellectual property-related organizations, The PBN Company developed a distinct structure and focused agenda for the organization:
- CIPR is a public-private partnership. It was formed with and continues to enjoy the active support of Patent and Trademark Office General Directors as well as other IP, customs and law enforcement officials from throughout the region.
- CIPR emphasizes industrial property protection and enforcement, including trademark and patent protection and anti-counterfeiting. It does not focus on copyright issues.
- CIPR exclusively targets the 15 countries that comprised the Baltic States and former Soviet Union.
- CIPR’s core focus is hands-on governmental affairs and legislative relations and advocacy.
- CIPR is not a traditional trade association or NGO. It is a results-oriented working group.
- CIPR has full-service, on-the-ground capabilities — including experienced lobbyists, public affairs specialists and legal counsel — in Moscow, Kyiv, Almaty, Chisinau, Riga, Vilnius, Washington D.C. and London.
The PBN Company established a six-pronged action plan for CIPR:
Research, including economic and opinion surveys, analysis of IPR related legislation and fiscal impact studies to quantify the cost of IPR violations in the region.
Education, including symposiums and workshops; position papers and legal memoranda; media relations; and CIPR’s website, http://www.cipr.org/.
Training, including seminars and training programs for PTO directors, enforcement authorities and judicial officials throughout the region.
Legislative Initiatives, including sponsoring new legislation, regulations and amendments to ensure compliance with international standards and agreements.
International Affairs, including working with the U.S. Government and the European Commission to ensure support for reforming and modernizing the IPR regimes in the countries of the former Soviet Union.
Advocacy, including advocating on behalf of CIPR’s members to protect their IPR as well as on behalf of professionally independent and financially secure IP regulatory and enforcement authorities in the region.
Summary of Results.
In just two years, CIPR has established itself as the recognized leader in IPR reforms in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Consider these accomplishments:
CIPR is the only NGO officially accredited with the CIS Interstate Council on Industrial Property Protection, which is comprised of the Patent and Trademark Office Director Generals of eight CIS countries.
CIPR was granted Observer Status with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), on an expedited basis.
CIPR’s corporate members represent some of the world’s most famous trademarks and its 26 Associate Members represent the leading international and regional business and IPR organizations in the region.
CIPR has completed detailed analyses of the legislative and regulatory regimes of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Latvia and is pursuing an action plan to bring these countries’ IPR laws and regulations into compliance with international standards.
CIPR’s legislative recommendations on proposed IPR legislation in Russia and Ukraine have been incorporated in drafts submitted to each county’s parliament.
CIPR has sponsored or spoken at dozens of IPR workshops and fora, including those sponsored by Interpol, WIPO, International Trademark Association, Association of International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, among many others.
CIPR’s high profile events include judicial and policy-maker training seminars co-sponsored with WIPO and other organizations in Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia and Latvia; survey of trademark owners in Russia, Ukraine and the Baltics; major press conferences on legislation, anti-counterfeiting efforts and major trademark disputes, to name just a few.
CIPR has helped to solve some of its corporate members specific IP problems. Just one example is Anheuser-Busch (A-B), which credits CIPR along with its legal and public affairs team for resolving a long-standing IP dispute with the Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar (Budvar) over A-B’s world famous BUD trademark. In May 2001, Rospatent (the Russian Agency for Patents and Trademarks) cancelled Budjar’s BUD registration and issued a BUD trademark to A-B. As a result, A-B is now free to sell BUD, for the first time, in the Russian Federation.