On 14 December 2023, the EU leaders decided to start negotiations with Ukraine on joining the European Union. The European Commission is beginning to prepare the technical aspects of membership negotiations with Ukraine (the so-called negotiation framework) without further delay.
The European Commission, in its Report within the framework of the Enlargement Package, published in early November 2023, noted the significant progress in the sphere of intellectual property of Ukraine and published several recommendations on further harmonisation of national legislation with EU law.
On 12 December 2023, another landmark event for the IP sphere took place: the European Commission and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) signed an agreement on the start of the implementation of the EU Regional Program to support the intellectual property sphere of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia (the Program).
The program is aimed at strengthening the innovation ecosystem, strengthening the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights and creating a favourable environment for the development of innovation, creativity and competition in view of the European integration vector of the development of these countries. The program is designed for four years and is jointly financed by the European Commission in the amount of 2.8 million euros and the EUIPO in the amount of 1.2 million euros for a total of 4 million euros.
Ukraine’s participation in the program will open up new perspectives and facilitate the progress towards legal harmonization with the EU acquis, which will ensure the creation of reliable tools and mechanisms for the protection of intellectual property rights and improvement of the business environment. As part of implementing the program, measures are planned for professional training, continuing training – particularly for Ukrainian judges with the aim to strengthen justice in the intellectual property sphere – and the implementation of grant support.
Proceeding with signing the project, Gert Jan Koopman, Director-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) in the European Commission, said: “The project we are signing with the EUIPO today will be an important contribution to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine’s efforts on their path to EU accession. By supporting the establishment of strong intellectual property rights, this project will also contribute to improving the business environment and to enhancing economic growth. The EUIPO’s expertise will be key in assisting our partner countries to navigate the practical implications of their EU aspirations in this important field.”
“ The EUIPO has a very clear goal: to ensure that IP systems contribute to well-functioning markets and support innovation and creativity to generate growth, prosperity and opportunities – not only in the EU but also abroad. During my October visit to Kyiv, I reinforced the EUIPO’s commitment to work closely with our neighbouring partners. Today’s agreement will help strengthen the protection and enforcement of IP rights in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova according to the commitments of the respective Association Agreements and in support of the accession process”, said João Negrão, Executive Director of the EUIPO.
Olena Orliuk, Director of the Ukrainian IP Office, emphasised that “such a decision is the result of strengthening Ukraine’s cooperation with the European Commission and EUIPO. Implementing the Program will create new opportunities for Ukrainian businesses, creators and inventors, which is particularly important in the conditions of a full-scale war. Our joint efforts will guarantee effective protection and enforcement of IP on the way to European integration and post-war recovery, stability of economic infrastructure, ensuring investment attraction and raising the level of IP legal culture”.
With this joint action, the European Commission, the EUIPO, and partner countries will work together to build more resilient, competitive, and integrated economies.
“We have implemented many important structural reforms, and we plan to maintain the high dynamics of European integration processes and regional cooperation in the future. The implementation of the Program will be a qualitative basis for speeding up the adaptation of Ukrainian legislation to the EU acquis, implementing the recommendations of the European Commission and accelerating internal transformations in the field of IP and raising awareness in this sphere,” emphasised Bohdan Paduchak, First Deputy Director of the Ukrainian IP Office.
The start of the program’s implementation is scheduled for the beginning of 2024.