Introduction of "ex-officio" procedure in Uzbekistan
In accordance with the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan № PP-221 "On additional measures to further develop the sphere of intellectual property" dated from 26.04.2022, The State Customs Committee of Uzbekistan is obliged within three months to submit a draft of legislative changes to the Uzbek Customs Code with respect to following:
- in case of detection of the goods with signs of IP infringement during the customs control and registration at the customs stations – Customs office shall send a notice to the personal cabinet of the right holder in the Customs Information System within one working day;
- in case if right holder submits an application on suspension of goods within one working day from the date of notification – Customs office shall take measures to protect IP rights in accordance with law. In this case, if the customs authorities do not receive a statement in the appropriate form from the right holders within the specified period of time, the goods are to be released.
At the same time, identification of IP infringement is conducted based on the results of the risk management system.
These changes are aimed at the introduction of "ex-officio" power of the customs authority. Such power is broadly used in customs practice in many countries. Of course, this procedure will have its own specifics, since it is a new practice in Uzbekistan.
The essence of introducing the "ex officio" principle is that customs officials have the right to suspend the release of goods infringing IP rights without direct participation of the right holder.
The current customs regime obliges right-holders to file a separate application to the customs authorities to suspend the release of goods, and the application must contain a number of information, which is practically impossible. Such a procedural barrier should be excluded by virtue of PD No. PP-221.
The text of the Decree:
"It is prohibited to request from right-holders information about alleged offence, including the manufacturer, the possible location of the goods and the date of their movement across the customs border, the specifics of transportation and type of packaging, the location of the goods or the planned destination."
Moreover, the Agency for Technical Regulation (formerly UZSTANDART) and the Agency for Development of the Pharmaceutical Industry will also begin to monitor strict compliance with requirements of legislation on intellectual property.
The Agency for Technical Regulation exercises control in the field of technical regulation of IP protection in the process of product certification, while the Agency for Development of the Pharmaceutical Industry is required to apply similar practices in the process of state registration of medicines, medical devices and medical equipment.