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Enforcement of IPRs in Armenia


Enforcement of IPRs
The causes of counterfeiting and piracy in Armenia are as follows:
1. Transportation of counterfeit trademark goods from EAEU countries to Armenia;
2. Legislative gaps and barriers for recording trademarks with the customs service; and
3. Misuse of small parcels for illegal import of goods.
Foodstuff, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, non-medicated cosmetics and toiletry preparations, perfumery, essential oils, bleaching preparations, and other substances for laundry use, cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations, apparatus for lighting, heating, cooling, cooking, drying, ventilating, water supply, etc., automobile spare parts, furniture, clothing, footwear, headwear, etc.
They are as follows:
  • The Civil Code of the Republic of Armenia (Chapter 10, Section 63, Articles 1100 -1183);
  • The Law of the Republic of Armenia on Copyright and Related Rights (expected to be reviewed in 2011 and aiming, inter alia, to clarify accreditation procedure for copyright collecting societies);
  • The Law of the Republic of Armenia on Trademarks (in force since July 2010 and fully aligned with EU standards);
  • The Law of the Republic of Armenia on Geographical Indications (in force since July 2010 and fully aligned with EU standards);
  • The Law of the Republic of Armenia on Inventions, Utility Models and Industrial designs (currently under review and aiming to 1) - introduce biotechnology and pharmaceutical-related provisions, 2) - update patentability criteria for utility models, and adequate grant procedures, etc.);
  • The Law of the Republic of Armenia on the Legal Protection of Topographies of Integrated Circuits;
  • The Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia (Sections 158, 159, 197, 199, 195, 212, 208, 209,210, 211);
  • The Customs Code of the Republic of Armenia (Section 14);
  • The Law of the Republic of Armenia on Protection of Economic Competition; and
  • The Law of the Republic of Armenia on Obligatory Labeling of Magnetic Carriers of Audio and Video Information by Control Marks (Holographic labels).
The types of IPRs protected by IPR enforcement measures include Trademarks, Geographical Indications (GIs), Patents, Utility Models, Industrial Designs, and Copyright.
A) Injunctions - Yes
B) Monetary Compensation - Yes
C) Raids - Yes
D) Seizures - Yes
E) Destruction - Yes
Other civil remedies include erasure of the infringing sign and publication of the judgment at the defendant's expense. The court may also award reasonable attorney's fees.
A) Responsible Authority - Police, Customs, First Instance General Jurisdiction Court
B) Imprisonment Term - 03 months
C) Monetary Fine - Trademarks - USD 2,500; Copyright - Compensatory relief at the rate of double royalty or remuneration or damages equal to the damage caused by actual infringement, including the missed benefit.
Under the RA Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, criminal penalties may apply for any illegal use of a trademark (including counterfeiting), if the damages (including lost profits) caused to the IP owner exceed 200,000 AMD (i.e., approximately 400 US dollars).
The disadvantages of a criminal prosecution include that it is not deterrent enough and is proportional to the crime.
The remedies available under border control measures (customs) include search, seizure, and destruction of goods as per law or agreement with the proprietor.
The rights holder must bear the costs of customs intervention during enforcement.
The best practices for enforcement of IPRs include recording the IPRs at Custom Recordal as well as seeking help from the police officials.
Despite the existence of relevant legislation and executive government structures, the concept of IPRs remains unrecognized by a large part of the local population. The onus for IPRs' complaints remains with the offended party. Also, the IPR Enforcement Unit in the Organized Crime Department of the Armenian Police doesn't have ex-officio rights and acts only based on complaints from right holders. Therefore, one himself has to be vigilant and cannot rely on the sole discretion of authorities.