Hello again, and happy holidays.
Thank you for your interesting question.
Belarus is on the US Government's "watch list" of countries for
intellectual property, indicating there is a moderate level of concern
about the level of IP protections the country can offer to those
issued patents, trademarks or other forms of intellectual property
The most succinct statement of this concern can be found at the site
of the US Trade Representative:
Belarus must take several steps to fulfill its intellectual property
commitments under the 1993 U.S.-Belarus Trade Agreement and to address
other deficiencies in its IPR regime. With respect to its copyright
laws, Belarus has not provided appropriate protection for pre-existing
works and sound recordings. In addition, it appears that further
amendments are needed to bring Belarusian copyright law into
compliance with the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances
and Phonograms Treaty. Enforcement of intellectual property laws in
Belarus also remains weak and ineffective. Piracy levels remain high
and the potential for increased piracy remains a concern due to the
migration of optical media production facilities from neighboring
countries. While Belarus has amended its Criminal Code to provide for
deterrent penalties for IPR violations, there are still no provisions
authorizing ex officio raids and seizures. Furthermore, Belarus' Civil
Code does not provide for ex parte searches. We are also concerned
that the Armita optical media plant case has not progressed beyond the
initiation of a criminal investigation and that no criminal penalties
or deterrent sentences have resulted. We encourage Belarus to
aggressively enforce its IPR laws and to take actions to deter future
illegal operations. In addition, we urge Belarus to fulfill its
obligations under the 1993 Bilateral Trade Agreement and will continue
to monitor its progress.
The main concerh regards piracy of optical media -- that is, DVD's,
CD's and the like -- but it is clear that the overall infrastructure
for administration and enforcement of IP protection laws in Belarus is
still in the developmental stages.
A farily detailed overview of the foreign investment climate in
Belarus can be found at the countrywatch site:
The full text is copyrighted, so I cannot reproduce it in full here,
but I've provided some relevant excerpts:
--Both central and local governments policies, however, often seem to
reflect a distrust of private enterprise and profit and are therefore
not conducive to a favorable investment climate.
--The government of Belarus openly states that it wants to maintain
tight control and discipline over all economic activity in Belarus.
--The low level of foreign investment may indicate that few foreign
investors regard the government's policies as investor-friendly.
--There is no comprehensive regulatory scheme governing business
matters or dispute resolution system. The judiciary is not independent
from the executive and therefore cannot provide a reliable and
impartial mechanism for resolving disputes.
--The government of Belarus accepts binding international arbitration
of investment disputes between foreign investors and the state.
--The new version of the law on intellectual property came into effect
in August 1998. This law has been amended in accordance with all
intellectual property rights agreements and conventions of which
Belarus is a member.
The government of Belarus apparently recognizes the importance of the
IP issue, and has taken steps to publicly acknowledge the importance,
institute a framework to bring IP protections in accord with
international agreements, and to strengthen the mechanisms within the
country for IP protection. Here are some excerpts from articles on
this topic (not all of them can be hyperlinked, however, since they
are from off-line databases):
Alexander Sychev: cooperation between World Intellectual Property
Organization and Belarus has long-term prospects
24 November 2004
-- The international conference ?Intellectual property as an
instrument for economic development? held in Minsk on November 24-25
with WIPO assistance proves this fact. Belarus is a participant of 17
agreements on cooperation with the WIPO. This year an educational
intellectual property center has been created in the NIPC structure...
--The Republic of Belarus became a WIPO member on April 26, 1970. The
main direction of the cooperation between Belarus and this
international organization is improving the national legislation in
the intellectual property sphere considering the experience gained by
other states. The sides work on strengthening the role of the
intellectual property in corresponding fields of the scientific,
technical and economic activity, in which different subjects of
economy are involved on the territory of Belarus.
--The Republic of Belarus is a member of practically all WIPO
international conventions. In particular, since December 1, 1991 this
republic has been a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection
of Industrial Property, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the
Madrid system for the international registration of marks and Nairobi
Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol. In December 1997
Belarus joined the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and
Artistic Works; in June 1998 ? the Nice agreement concerning the
international classification of goods and services for the purpose of
the registration of marks; in July 1998 ? the Locarno agreement
establishing an international classification for industrial designs.
In March 1999 Belarus signed the Strasburg agreement concerning the
international patent classification.
[Here's a straightforward accounting of the US placement of Belarus on
the IP "watch list"]:
Administration Piracy Report Cites 52 US Trading Partners
3 May 2004
Dow Jones International News
--Piracy of U.S. movies, music and computer programs remains a problem
worldwide with some of the worst offenses occurring in Ukraine, China,
Russia and Brazil, the Bush administration said Monday.
--The administration placed another 34 nations on a lower-level watch
list because of U.S. concerns about the failure to address particular
intellectual property concerns.
These countries were: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belize...
[report of an IP case in the Belarus courts]
BULGARTABAK TO SEEK COURT RETURN OF SELLING RIGHTS IN BELARUS.
11 February 2004
Interfax: Food & Agriculture Report
--Bulgarian cigarette producer Bulgartabak has turned to the courts
seeking the rights to offer and sell its well-known brands in Belarus.
The suit is aimed at the current brandname owner the Russian/Bulgarian
joint venture Bultabaks, as well as a number of Russian companies
earlier owning this trademark, charging 'pirate registration' of the
trademark, patent plenipotentiary representing the interests of
Bulgartabak in Belarus Sergei Vinogradov has told Interfax...
WIPO welcomes Belarus' efforts on modernizing national legislative
intellectual property structure.
12 December 2003
...World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) welcomes Belarus'
efforts on modernizing the national legislative structure of
intellectual property. WIPO also gives a strong approval of the
republic's initiatives which promote effectiveness of the intellectual
property system as a mechanism for using huge human potential of the
nation to administer to economic growth and development, says WIPO
press communique distributed after the meeting between Belarusian
president Alexander Lukashenko and WIPO director general Kamil Idris
on December 11 in Geneva.
--Belarus and WIPO continue cooperation within the framework of the
program on strengthening intellectual property protection in the
country. The program includes a range of activities and educational
programs on modernization the legislation in the field of intellectual
property, improvement of rights protection mechanisms and enhancing
the role of intellectual property in scientific, technical and
economic activity in Belarus.
Training intellectual property center to be set up in Minsk with
assistance of WIPO Worldwide Academy.
25 September 2003
Development of intellectual property and legal protection are
priorities in the policy of the Belarusian state.
In Geneva Belarusian delegation held working meetings with WIPO
Director General Kamil Idris and senior officials of the organization.
The sides discussed the issues of establishing a training intellectual
property center in Minsk in collaboration with the WIPO Worldwide
Academy, as well as purchasing the necessary equipment and literature.
The sides also agreed to conduct a seminar on the issues of
intellectual property in Minsk in April-May 2004 under the aegis of
[Here is a Frequently Asked Questions list about patents and IP, as
provided by the Belarus Chamber of Commerce]:
which provides answers to the following:
What international organizations and/or conventions is Belarus a member of?
In what economical sector are inventions, utility model, design and
trademark applications applied for?
What countries are mostly (top 10) applying inventions, designs and
trademark applications in Belarus for?
What types of invention, utility model, industrial design, trademark
and copyright applications are available in Belarus?
What are the filing requirements for invention, utility model, design
and trademark applications?
What are the examination requirements and procedures for invention,
utility model, industrial design and trademark applications?
What types of inventions are not permitted to be patented in Belarus ?
What is the duration of patents and trademark registrations?
I trust this information provides you the references needed on the
state of IP protection in Belarus.
However, before rating this answer, please let me know if there's
anything else I can do for you. Just post a Request for
Clarification, and I'll be happy to assist you further.
All the best for the new year ahead...
search strategy -- searched Google and several news databases for [
(belarus OR beloruss) and patents OR "intellectual propery" ]