Belarus strengthens its IP system to promote innovation and economic growth

Author:Uladzimir Rabavolau
Position:Director General of the National Center of Intellectual Property of the Republic of Belarus

Like other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, over the last two decades, Belarus has focused its efforts on transitioning to a knowledge-based economy. To this end, the Government has been supporting the development of an innovation ecosystem that supports business growth and the country’s long-term economic sustainability. Enhancing the national intellectual property (IP) system is central to this endeavor.

National IP policy implementation: key actors

The task of developing a national IP policy is the responsibility of the State Committee on Science and Technology (SCST). The practical implementation of that strategy and the delivery of IP services for both industrial property and copyright falls to the National Center of Intellectual Property (NCIP). The NCIP, which reports to the SCST, ensures that IP supports the development of science, technology and innovation within the public sector and industry, including the creative industries. Its work bolsters efforts to modernize the economy and make it more competitive internationally. Other entities that ensure the national IP system functions effectively are the Judicial Board for Intellectual Property Cases of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus, the Republican Library on Science and Technology (RLST), the Belarusian Society of Inventors and Innovators, as well as patent attorneys, appraisers of IP objects and other IP professionals. The task of enforcing IP laws lies with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Customs Committee, which are responsible for putting into place effective measures, such as anti-counterfeiting measures and criminal sanctions to discourage and prevent IP infringement. The State Customs Committee also manages the National Customs Register for IP objects, which facilitates verification of the authenticity of goods as well as the process of seizing infringing products.

The modernization of Belarus’ IP system is guided by the national IP strategy, developed in cooperation with WIPO. The strategy supports key national objectives to boost economic performance, promote the development of high-tech industries, strengthen the country’s export potential and competitiveness, attract foreign investment and generally boost national socio-economic development. It covers a range of areas, including development of the national IP legislative and regulatory framework, a national IP infrastructure and a national IP management system. For example, NCIP is in the process of integrating WIPO’s customizable Intellectual Property Automation System (IPAS) to improve the efficiency of its trademark operations and, in particular, to reduce processing times for trademark applications. NCIP is...

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