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The European Commision 2016 report on Macedonia

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I'm posting the EC report on Copyright and Industrial property rights in Macedonia every year for the past 7 years. Here is the latest. For the full text visit: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-16-3634_en.htm

4.7. Chapter 7: Intellectual property law

The EU has harmonised rules for the legal protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs), as well as rules for the legal protection of copyright and related rights. Rules for the legal protection of IPRs cover, for instance, patents and trademarks, designs, biotechnological inventions and pharmaceuticals. Rules for the legal protection of copyright and related rights cover, for instance, books, films, computer programmes and broadcasting.

The country is moderately prepared in this area. Some progress, although limited, was made during the reporting period. There is still no strategy on intellectual property. In thecoming year, the country should in particular:

  • improve consultation of the stakeholders when drafting legislation;
  • step up efforts to investigate and prosecute infringements of intellectual property;
  • reinforce capacity and coordination among the authorities in charge of implementing the intellectual property laws and raise public awareness of the importance of protecting intellectual property rights.

On copyright and neighbouring rights, the law on copyrights was amended in February 2016 to regulate the functioning of collective management of rights and remuneration distribution and to abolish the cap to remunerations of right-holders, but the collective management system is still underdeveloped. The system for electronic recording of broadcast music works needs to be finalised. The Ministry of Culture revoked the licence of one of the collecting societies, with the result that certain fees are no longer collected, and subsequently (in July) licensed one more society in the areas of music rights. The capacity of the Ministry of Culture to deal with copyright and neighbouring rights remains insufficient.

As regards industrial rights, the State Office of Industrial Property concluded a bilateral cooperation agreement with the European Patent Office for 2016-18 and made its database available to the public. Challenges remain, in particular in providing services to the public.

The number of court cases on infringements of intellectual property rights is still low and there is no credible enforcement record. The Agency for Audiovisual Media Services conducted inspections and found certain irregularities by broadcasters. The functions of the Coordinative Body for Intellectual Property do not cover the coordination of policy-making and of legislative work. Its funding is insufficient and there is no budget for awareness-raising and education of right-holders and the public about the importance of intellectual property rights. Coordination between the enforcement authorities is insufficient.

The European Commision 2015 report on Macedonia

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I'm posting the EC report on Copyright and Industrial property rights in Macedonia every year for the past 6 years. Here is the latest. For the full text visit: http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/countries/strategy-and-progress-report/

4.7. Chapter 7: Intellectual property law

The EU has harmonised rules for the legal protection of copyright and related rights. This covers, for instance, computer programs, broadcasting and trademarks, designs, biotechnological inventions and pharmaceuticals.

The country is moderately prepared in this area. Some progress was made on customs enforcement. The commitment and capacities of the institutions responsible for enforcing and protecting intellectual property rights and the acquis vary, but remain insufficient. A satisfactory track record on investigation, prosecution and judicial handling of piracy and counterfeiting is lacking. Public awareness campaigns are not yet well developed. In the coming year, the country should in particular:
→ step up efforts to investigate and prosecute infringements of intellectual property.

On copyright and neighbouring rights, the Ministry of Culture adopted a rulebook on record-keeping of authors’ rights and holders of related rights. The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Information Society and Administration jointly established a system for electronic recording of broadcast music works. The government has not yet approved the tariff schemes of collective rights management societies and the capacity of the Ministry of Culture to deal with copyright and neighbouring rights is still insufficient.

On industrial property rights, the State Office for Industrial Property cooperated with the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market and with the European Patent Office on several projects, but the trademark databases of the first two should be better integrated. The State Office does not have enough staff to provide good quality services or training to the public and the business community, nor to cooperate internationally.

Some progress was made on enforcement of intellectual property rights. The Coordination Body for Intellectual Property has had a positive impact but the level of commitment differs between law enforcement institutions and sharing responsibility between 11 different law enforcement bodies hinders more efficient investigation and legal actions. The State Market Inspectorate lacks basic equipment, IT and training to ensure effective enforcement. The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services issued 10 orders to broadcasters to prevent further violations of copyright and neighbouring rights. Some 30 misdemeanour cases were lodged with the courts, but the absence of a credible enforcement record hinders information on the follow-up action taken. The three public laboratories are still not legally authorised to detect and analyse counterfeit medicines, so their evidence is not accepted in court. Public awareness of the threats posed by counterfeit goods to health and safety remains limited.

The European Commision 2014 report on Macedonia

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I'm posting the EC report on Copyright and Industrial property rights in Macedonia every year for the past 5 years. Here is the latest. For the full text visit: http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/countries/strategy-and-progress-report/

4.7. Chapter 7: Intellectual property law

The Law on copyright and neighbouring rights was amended to regulate phonogram rights and to ensure alignment with the World Intellectual Property Organisation Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The government appointed the members of the commission for mediation in the field of copyright and neighbouring rights. The capacity of the unit for copyright and neighbouring rights (part of the Ministry of Culture) remains insufficient. Cooperation among the institutions responsible for industrial property needs to improve.

The Law on industrial property rights was amended to regulate intellectual property rights, in accordance with the Strategy on Innovation. A system for electronic filing of patent applications became operational. In 2013, the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors delivered nine training programmes to 205 members of the judiciary on protection of intellectual property rights. The State Office for Industrial Property does not have sufficient staff to ensure a quality service vis-à-vis businesses and to support innovations. Training for small and medium-sized enterprises on protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights is limited.

As regards enforcement, the Coordination Body for Intellectual Property launched 16 actions in 2013 and seized approximately 2,000 counterfeit items. There were 24 criminal prosecutions and 11 charges for misdemeanours relating to intellectual property rights. The State Market Inspectorate carried out around 120 inspections. Only 1% of the fines imposed were collected in 2013. The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services issued 18 banning orders to broadcasters to prevent further violations of copyright and neighbouring rights. Cooperation between the Ministry for the Interior and Interpol on uncovering regional counterfeit channels resulted in the seizure of 70000 counterfeit items, closure of a number of factories producing counterfeit goods and detention of 330 people. The overall number of controls and seizures is falling however, and commitment to combating violations of intellectual property rights is not improving. Counterfeit foodstuffs, cosmetics, toiletries, medicines, toys, technical and electronic equipment continued to be sold on stalls in streets markets and in outlets. Awareness of violations of intellectual property rights and of the threats to health and safety remains limited. Training for small and medium-sized enterprises on protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights is limited. The three public laboratories are not legally authorised to detect counterfeit medicines and their analyses are not accepted as expert evidence by the courts. Counterfeiting is not considered to be organised crime and efforts to combat it remain insufficient. Data on investigations, prosecutions and trials for offences relating to intellectual property rights have been collected systematically since 2013, but the State Statistical Office has not yet produced a reliable enforcement record.

Conclusion

Some legislative progress was made in the area of intellectual property law. Enforcement efforts by all institutions continue, but the complexity of the enforcement system impedes effective protection of intellectual property rights. A track record of investigations, prosecutions and trials for offences relating to intellectual property rights is not yet available and public awareness remains limited. Overall, preparations in this area are at a moderately advanced stage.

The European Commision 2013 report on Macedonia

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I'm posting the EC report on Copyright and Industrial property rights in Macedonia every year for the past 3-4 years. Here is the latest. For the full text visit: http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/countries/strategy-and-progress-report/

4.7. Chapter 7: Intellectual property law

The law on copyright and neighbouring rights is not aligned with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The exclusion of phonogram rights and several disputes impeded the work of the two licensed collective rights management societies. The head of unit for copyright and neighbouring rights in the Ministry
of Culture was dismissed, reducing the capacity of the unit, and co-operation between the unit and relevant institutions remains limited.

In the area of industrial property rights, WIPO’s electronic document management system was customised for the State Office for Industrial Property and linked with the automated court case management information system applied in all courts. In 2012, the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors trained 218 members of the judiciary on protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). In the area of industrial property rights, the country is on track.

As regards enforcement, a methodology for collecting data on was adopted; the improved statistics on IPR enforcement will be available from 2013 onwards. The Law on Customs Measures for the Protection of IPR was amended in May 2013 to introduce fines for counterfeit recidivism and to allow use of seized counterfeit clothing items for disaster
recovery or social assistance packages. A user manual for the platform of the World Customs Organisation for IPR infringements was adopted, allowing recognition of originality of products. The Coordination Body for Intellectual Property undertook 25 coordinated actions in 2012, twice as many as in 2011; co-operation with the Agency for Managing Confiscated Property continued. In 2012, a total of 126 court proceedings were brought for violations of IPR. Courts imposed some 15 prison sentences and a number of fines for criminal offences on individuals. Counterfeit foodstuffs, cosmetics, hygiene products, medicines, toys, technical and electronic equipment are still widely available and awareness of their threats to health and safety is limited. Laboratory results confirming that medicines are counterfeit are not allowed as court evidence, which hampers the prosecution of counterfeiters. The IPR enforcement system remains complex rather than effective. Counterfeiting is not considered organised crime and efforts to combat it are insufficient. Co-operation at both national and international level has yet to be promoted. Preparations in this area are moderately advanced.

Conclusion

Some progress was made in the area of intellectual property law. A track record on investigation, prosecution and trial for IPR offences has been established. There are shortcomings in the procedures for prosecuting counterfeiters, with laboratory results on counterfeit medicines excluded as court evidence. There is no legal basis for collective management of phonogram rights. Awareness of IPR among institutions and the public remains low. Overall, preparations in the field of IPR are moderately advanced.