Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.
In any foreign market, companies should consider several general principles for effective protection of their intellectual property. For background, we refer you to Protecting Intellectual Property and Stopfakes.gov.
Although Georgia has signed all relevant treaties and enacted legislation in compliance with its international obligations, as a practical matter, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights remains problematic. However, the government has taken several steps to introduce better practices. In addition, the EU-Georgia Association Agreement signed in 2014 mandates improved performance in this regard. Companies that intend to invest or trade in Georgia might be affected by intellectual property rights issues and are invited to discuss the matter with the Political and Economic Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi. See Chapter 6 on Investment Climate Statement for more information on intellectual property (IP) enforcement.
It is vital that companies understand that intellectual property is primarily a private right and that the U.S. government cannot enforce rights for private individuals in Georgia. It is the responsibility of the rights’ holders to register, protect, and enforce their rights where relevant, retaining their own counsel and advisors. Companies may wish to seek advice from local attorneys or IP consultants who are experts in Georgia law. The U.S. Embassy Political/Economic Section can provide a list of local lawyers upon request.
While the U.S. government stands ready to assist, there is little we can do if the rights holders have not taken these fundamental steps necessary to secure and enforce their IP in a timely fashion. It is always advisable to conduct due diligence on potential partners. A good partner is an important ally in protecting IP rights. Consider carefully, however, whether to permit your partner to register your IP rights on your behalf. Doing so may create a risk that your partner will list itself as the IP owner and fail to transfer the rights should the partnership end. Keep an eye on your cost structure and reduce the margins (and the incentive) of would-be bad actors. Projects and sales in Georgia require constant attention. Work with legal counsel familiar with Georgia’s laws to create a solid contract that includes non-compete clauses and confidentiality/non-disclosure provisions.
It is also recommended that small and medium-sized companies understand the importance of working together with trade associations and organizations to support efforts to protect IP and stop counterfeiting. There are a number of these organizations, both Georgia or U.S.-based.
A wealth of information on protecting IP is freely available to U.S. rights’ holders. Some excellent resources for companies regarding intellectual property include the following:
- For information about patent, trademark, or copyright issues — including enforcement issues in the United States and other countries — call the STOP! Hotline: 1-866-999-HALT or visit STOPfakes.gov.
- For more information about registering trademarks and patents (both in the United States as well as in foreign countries), contact the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at: 1-800-786-9199.
- For more information about registering for copyright protection in the United States, contact the U.S. Copyright Office at: 1-202-707-5959.
- For more information about how to evaluate, protect, and enforce intellectual property rights and how these rights may be important for businesses, please visit the “Resources” section of STOPfakes .gov.
- For information on obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights and market-specific IP Toolkits visit STOPfakes.gov. The toolkits contain detailed information on protecting and enforcing IP in specific markets and also contain contact information for local IPR offices abroad and U.S. government officials available to assist SMEs.
The U.S. Department of Commerce has positioned IP attachés in key markets around the world. Mr. Dorian Mazurkevich, the IP attaché based in Kyiv, Ukraine, covers Georgia.
To access Georgia’s ICS, which includes information on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.