Published April 2, 2024
  • EU4IP, a new EU-funded cooperation project on intellectual property (IP) matters, was launched by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), in partnership with the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia (Sakpatenti), the State Agency on Intellectual Property of Moldova (AGEPI) and the Ukrainian National Office for Intellectual Property and Innovations (UANIPIO) on 25 March. 
  • The EU4IP project will support Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine to strengthen their national IP landscapes and to facilitate the alignment of their IP legal and administrative frameworks to the EU systems as they work towards EU accession. 
  • The EUIPO will sign the biennial Work Plan 2024-2025 with AGEPI, as well as a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, the Tbilisi State University, and the Georgian Technical University, the first universities from outside the EU and the European Patent Convention (EPC) to collaborate with the EUIPO, on 26 March. 

On 25-26 March an EU delegation led by João Negrão, Executive Director (ED) of the EUIPO, visits Chișinău, Moldova. The first day marked the launch of the EU4IP, a cooperation project between the EUIPO and the national IP offices Sakpatenti, AGEPI, and UANIPIO to strengthen intellectual property rights (IPRs) in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine with the support of the EU. The initiative aims to leverage IP to create a favorable environment for innovation, creativity, and free competition. In doing so, the partnership paves the way for the three candidate countries’ accession to the EU and the European Union IP Network (EUIPN), a network made up of the EUIPO and the national IP offices and User Associations of the EU. 

During the two-day visit, the EU delegation also engages with European and international stakeholders, holding discussions on the needs and goals of the EU4IP project. On 25 March the EU delegation met with the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Mihai Popusoi, as well as with other senior government officials of the Georgian, Moldovan, and Ukrainian governments. On 26 March, meetings will also take place with the Moldovan Parliament and the management of the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova in the framework of the Pan-European Seal (PES) program.

EU4IP official launch 

On 25 March, the EU4IP was inaugurated by the State Secretary for European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, Ms Rodica Crudu, the EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Mr Jānis Mažeiks, and the Executive Director of the EUIPO at a launch event. The conference gathered high-level representatives from the beneficiary countries, as well as from the EUIPO, the EU Delegation to Moldova, and the European national IP offices of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania in a Team Europe approach.

Eugeniu Rusu, Director General of AGEPI, emphasized the importance of the EU4IP project for the beneficiary countries: “Hosting the launch of this EU project is of great significance for the Republic of Moldova as it reaffirms our commitment to strengthening the intellectual property system and advancing our European integration agenda”. 

“On our European path, we remain steadfast in our understanding of the importance of high-quality IP protection for building a competitive and sustainable economy based on innovation, technology, and creativity, especially in the face of the challenges posed by the ongoing war”, added Olena Orliuk, Director of UANIPIO. 

“I strongly believe that the mentioned project will make a significant contribution to the further development of the field of Intellectual property in the participating countries” stated Soso Giorgadze, Chairperson of Sakpatenti.

“I firmly believe that the launch of this new EU project will boost the development of the country, but it will also provide the necessary support to Moldova in its EU accession aspirations by aligning its legislation with the EU acquis, including in the field of intellectual property rights”, continued Jānis Mažeiks, EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova. 

”We will spare no effort in providing any and all assistance required according to the specific needs arising from each of the countries. The EU-funded project EU4IP we are launching today will support the alignment of the legal framework of our partner countries with the EU acquis on intellectual property, aligning rules, legal protection, and enforcement.”, said João Negrão, EUIPO Executive Director. 

By strengthening the IP landscape, EU4IP promotes economic and cultural development, bolsters the potential of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and raises the level of investment attractiveness. The EU4IP project’s main objective is to contribute to an adequate and effective level of registration, protection, and enforcement of IP rights in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The goal is that the three countries adopt European and international best practices and adhere to the commitments outlined in their respective Association Agreements as well as the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (AA/DCFTA) to support the opening of negotiations for their EU accession.

The EU4IP project highlights the importance of upholding IP rights by focusing on four key areas: 

  • enhancing legal frameworks and facilitating their alignment to the IP EU acquis; 
  • supporting IP institutions and networks; 
  • collaborating on enforcement mechanisms; and 
  • raising awareness, targeting the private sector and SMEs. 

This EU-funded project is implemented by the EUIPO for an initial duration of 48 months, starting from 1 January 2024, with a total budget of EUR 4 million provided by the European Union, including the EUIPO.

EU support to Georgia in the field of IP Sakpatenti and the EUIPO have a history of cooperation since they first signed an MoU in October 2015 which was renewed in 2021, and later reinforced through the EUGIPP project from 2020 to 2023. The project’s main objective was to establish an adequate and effective level of protection and enforcement of IPRs in line with the commitments of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and the DCFTA. It actively supported the Georgian IP Office in achieving several milestones: developing examination guidelines for trademarks and designs that align with EUIPN practice, improving registration services, enhancing technical capacity, and promoting consistency in IP decisions. Other results relate to amendments to national laws in the field of trademark, design and enforcement, and the compilation of IP case law for judges. The EUGIPP organized over 60 capacity development activities, which included training courses, events, and seminars addressed to IP practitioners, enforcers, the academic community, and the general public attracting over 1000 participants.

EU support to Moldova in the field of IP 

AGEPI, the national IP office of Moldova, is responsible for fulfilling the country’s commitments in the IP field as provided in the Association Agreement signed between the EU and Moldova to advance towards future EU membership. AGEPI and the EUIPO first signed an MoU on IP cooperation in July 2017, which was renewed in December 2021. The agreement outlined the general framework of the bilateral cooperation between the parties and established the terms and conditions for the offices’ cooperation in priority areas. AGEPI integrated various EUIPO flagship tools into their systems, such as TMclass, and has also implemented several EUIPO Common Practices (CPs) and participated in various technical cooperation activities, such as the seconded-national expert program. 

During the visit of the EU delegation to Chișinău, the two-year work plan (2024-2025) was signed by Eugeniu Rusu, Director General of AGEPI, and João Negrão, Executive Director of the EUIPO, for collaboration on IP matters in accordance with the renewed MoU from 2021. The work plan’s activities and objectives relate to tools and (technical) training, IP studies and education, and alternative dispute resolution/mediation.

EU support to Ukraine in the field of IP

 In 2022, the EUIPO took measures to provide support to Ukrainian trademark and design owners and to safeguard their IP rights within the EU, while continuing the technical work and cooperation with the Ukrainian IP authorities. In February 2023 a ground-breaking agreement between the European Commission and Ukraine was reached, allowing Ukraine to participate in activities financed by the European Union under the Single Market Programme. In June 2023, the joint EUIPO-European Commission SME Fund was extended to support Ukrainian businesses, which can now get funding to apply for IP rights including trademarks, designs, patents, or plant varieties. In October 2023, the EUIPO’s ED João Negrão visited Ukraine to discuss the significant impact of Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine’s IP sphere, emphasizing the pressing need for collaborative efforts to address these challenges and to explore the role of IP in the post-war recovery of the country to enhance its investment climate. During this visit, the biennial Work Plan for 2024-2025 was signed between the EUIPO and UANIPIO, outlining joint activities following the MoU signed in July 2023. 

Pan-European Seal (PES) Program

Since 2014, the EUIPO together with the European Patent Office (EPO), has implemented the PES Programme to strengthen IP collaboration and cultivate a strong bond between the academic community and the labor market. There are currently 142 PES Partner Universities located in 27 EU Member States and 11 signatories to the European Patent Convention. They have access to several ongoing projects, most notably: a year-long and fully paid traineeship open to university graduates at the EUIPO (Alicante, Spain) or the EPO (Munich, Germany); trainings and events; and research visits at the EUIPO.

The EUIPO has decided to further expand the program by opening it up to beneficiary countries of EU-funded projects it implements, through bilateral MoUs between the EUIPO and the concerned universities. On 26 March, an MoU will be signed by Alexandru Stratan, Rector of the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, and João Negrão, Executive Director of the EUIPO, during a signing ceremony formalizing the collaboration. Simultaneously and remotely, MoUs will also be signed by the Tbilisi State University and the Georgian Technical University, in order for the three academic institutions to become the first members joining the PES program from outside the EU and the European Patent Convention (EPC). Academic institutions from Ukraine are also expected to join the PES program soon.

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