In remarks today during a high-level meeting between the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Ukraine government officials in Kiev, Mr Kunitsky told senior government and business leaders that the government will establish a stronger system for protecting intellectual property (IP) rights as a key driver for Ukraine’s economic growth and development.
“Ukraine is now at an important stage of economic and political development, and we need cooperation from our international partners to invest. This is only possible with strong IP protection,” said Mr Kunitsky. He stated: “The Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy recommendations are timely and will be very useful in the development of Ukraine’s national strategy.”
Mykola Kovinya, Chairman of Ukraine’s State IP Service said: “We have taken the first steps by drafting a National Strategy of the Development of the Field of Intellectual Property in Ukraine for the period up to 2018. “The State IP Service is responsible for national IP policy in Ukraine. However, we recognize that much work still needs to be done to bring Ukraine’s IP laws and regulations into line with those of the European Union and other developed markets, and we are committed to working with our trading partners and the private sector to make this happen.”
Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), an initiative of ICC, and ICC Ukraine presented a new report calling on the Ukrainian government to strengthen IP rights (IPR) and IP protection. The report, Promoting and Protecting Intellectual Property in the Ukraine, was presented to the Ukrainian government officials during the meeting as part of the discussion on the changes needed to create a robust IP protection and enforcement regime in the country.
“We applaud the steps taken by the Ukraine Government to write a bold, new national strategy for the development and protection of IP,” said Jeffrey Hardy, Director of BASCAP. “BASCAP and its partners at ICC Ukraine hope our report will help shape that national strategy and ensure that it includes the necessary provisions to lift Ukraine’s IP regime and IP enforcement up to international standards in the European Union and other developed economies of the world.”
A welcome report
The Ukrainian government officials welcomed the BASCAP report. “We are thankful for ICC’s research and support and these recommendations will produce positive and noticeable changes in Ukraine,” said Mr Kunitsky.
“The time has come to protect IP in Ukraine,” said Mr Kovinya. “We will analyze the BASCAP recommendations and use them to help us focus on where improvements need to be made,” he said. “As a matter of official protocol, we will submit the BASCAP report and its recommendations to Ukraine’s Prime Minister and the cabinet of ministers.”
The Ukraine Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy estimates that the value of fakes in Ukraine could be as high as US$1.3 billion per year. According to other estimates the losses to trademark counterfeiting in Ukraine were close to US$710 million and the combined losses of music, movie and software copyright piracy aded another US$720 million – constituting as much as 33% of Ukraine’s total black market. Most of the counterfeit goods on the Ukrainian market are not produced domestically but imported.
IPR protection standards in Ukraine are generally recognized to be considerably below the levels of many developed and developing countries, with significant counterfeiting across the Ukrainian economy, including software, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, clothing, food, tobacco products and alcoholic beverages. Ukraine also has become a hub for massive digital copyright piracy of recorded music, films, software and books.
“Without constructive steps like those taken today, Ukraine will continue to be among the worst IPR infringers worldwide,” Mr Hardy said. “Intellectual property is a key driver for innovation, economic development and foreign investment, and real economic growth will depend on Ukraine’s ability to create an environment which stimulates and supports innovation and a strong IP rights regime,” he added.
Highlighting importance of IP role
The BASCAP/ICC Ukraine report details how IP protection benefits the economy in terms of GDP, employment, tax revenues and competitiveness. It highlights the important role that IP rights play in attracting foreign direct investment and promoting innovation, research and development and technology transfer. For Ukraine, recent studies by the World Intellectual Property Organization show that copyright-related industries alone generate over 400,000 jobs and contribute more than 3% of Ukraine’s GDP growth.
The report includes comprehensive policy and legislative recommendations to advance the Ukrainian IP rights protection and enforcement regime. The BASCAP study recommends a number of policy and legislative recommendations including the need to: address inadequacies in civil enforcement procedures; improve action against Internet infringements; strengthen criminal IP law and strengthen border controls and Customs enforcement competence; and establish an effective dialogue and cooperation between Ukrainian government authorities, IP rights holders and other stakeholders.
“Ukraine’s new national IP strategy must be comprehensive, clearly delineate implementation and enforcement responsibilities and allocate sufficient resources to ensure effective enforcement, said Volodymyr Mykhailov, Secretary General of ICC Ukraine.
“The time is right for Ukraine to continue strengthening its IP rights systems,” said Mr Mykhailov. “The drafting of a national strategy is a strong indication that Ukraine is committed to strengthening its IP rights regime and proceeding with the policy and legal reforms needed to become a leader in IP protection.”
Mr Kovinya thanked BASCAP and ICC Ukraine for the report. “This report will be a valuable resource to us in finalizing the National Strategy. We welcome the recommendations in the report, and look forward to working with the private sector to build an IP rights and protection system in Ukraine that will drive local business innovation and development, and attract foreign business investment,” he said.
“ICC, through its BASCAP initiative, and ICC Ukraine stand ready to do their part to help the Government of Ukraine achieve these important goals,” said Mr Hardy. “We look forward to forming a public-private partnership with the new government to implement the suggestions and directions laid out today.”