Intellectual Property Protection in Belarus

Intellectual property rights are a significant component of Belarusian information technology, regulating competition and safeguarding creators’ rights. Attorneys make it easier to understand the main aspects of intellectual property protection, including patenting, copyrights, trademarks, the method of registration of intellectual property, and measures to protect it.

What patent is used for?

A patent can protect the right of industrial property to technical inventions due to intellectual activity. In Belarus, the patent for such intellectual property has been valid for 20 years. A patent in Belarus certifies that an invention has certain authorship and also protects concepts that are subsequently used for software development and the creation of computer programs.

The requirements for patenting inventions vary from country to country. For example, computer programs can be patentable in the United States and China. Amazon, for example, has protected its purchase technology with a patent.

In Belarus, patents can be filed only on the concept or individual components of a software product, such as an interface, operating system, code, or algorithm. Patents are registered through the National Intellectual Property Center (NCIS).

What protects copyright?

Copyright protects the form in which an idea is expressed. That is, specific computer programs are protected by copyright. All computer programs, including source and object code, and unique parts of the user interface are protected by copyright. From the moment the program is created, it is protected by copyright. You do not need to register the creation of the program precisely so that it is protected. However, there is a Register of registered computer programs in Belarus. To register the created computer program, they apply to the NCIP with an application.

Copyright in a computer program is realized by two types of rights: property rights and personal non-property rights. Property rights enable the author to use the computer program at his discretion and transfer or sell the rights to use it.

The author’s personal non-property rights are the author’s right to a name. This right cannot be transferred or sold.

There is a concept of exclusive rights in copyright. Anyone with such a right to a computer program may transfer to another person in whole or part the right to use a computer program, allow its installation, and work with the program.

How to protect your rights with trade secrets?

Introducing a trade secret regime in the company helps protect developments from competitors.

A trade secret is specific information in each company that has developed documents on trade secrets. It is called the “trade secret regime”. The company can classify any information as a trade secret: financial, technical, commercial, to which measures have been taken to protect confidentiality. Thus, a trade secret can protect a company’s unique developments that are not covered by the rights of other companies. The period during which the information is classified as the company determines a trade secret.

Software elements that can be legally calculated do not belong to the trade secret regime.

We recommend setting the trade secret mode for those IT companies that make unique developments.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a designation that makes a product or service individual, distinguishes it from others, and is a brand designation. Such a designation can be ordered from the designer, but to prevent other companies from using it, the trademark must be registered in the state registration system—in the NCIP. It is better to register a trademark at the very beginning of use. A domain name can also be registered as a trademark.

Trademark protection and registration operate on a territorial basis: a trademark is protected in the territory where it is registered and only for similar classes of goods and services.

A trademark can be entered into Belarus’s customs register of intellectual property. This allows customs authorities to track the illegal import of goods marked with your trademark into Belarus.

What does General Data Protection Regulation protect?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) protects the personal data of European Union citizens. When an IT company develops products that will use the personal data of EU citizens, a mechanism for compliance with GDPR data protection must be developed. Protecting personal data under the GDPR regulation is similar to protecting personal data under Belarusian law.

To find out whether the personal data protection regime complies with the GDPR, it is necessary to audit the individual data protection mechanism that the company uses and take measures to protect personal data in accordance with the GDPR. Such measures will help to preserve customers in the European Union and the reputation of a reliable company.

Privacy and protection of personal data

Privacy and personal data protection require advice on these issues. In order to protect personal data and respect the privacy regime, the company creates a regime for protecting trade secrets and confidential information. In this case, they are developing:

  • A regulation on the protection of trade secrets.
  • Non-disclosure agreements that can be signed with employees and contractors.
  • Privacy policy.
  • The cookie policy for companies that operate online.
  • Personal Data Protection Policy.

Personal data in Belarus includes any information that helps identify an individual. The processing of personal data usually requires the consent of an individual, which is one measure to protect personal data. In some cases, however, personal data is processed without the consent of a person, for example, when it is related to the conclusion and execution of a contract.

How to register intellectual property in Belarus?

Intellectual property in Belarus is registered in the NCIP. Such registration is voluntary. For example, computer programs and databases can be registered. To do this, the NCIP submits a package of documents and a copy of the computer program for deposit so that it can confirm its existence and authorship. Documents are collected depending on the type of intellectual property object that needs to be registered.

An agreement is concluded with the NCIP to register an intellectual property object.

NCIP takes a copy of a computer program, documents and enters information into the Registry of Computer Programs, in other registries: databases, copyright objects, objects of related rights.

To register a computer program in the NCIS, submit:

  1. An application that includes information about the applicant and a copy of the certificate of state registration.
  2. Computer program files and their description: features, purpose.
  3. The basis on which the applicant acquired the exclusive right to the computer program can be employment contracts or civil law contracts.

If necessary, the program author, an individual, must give consent to the processing of personal data.

NCIP services for depositing and registering a computer program are paid. The payment amount depends on the volume of the digital copy and the shelf life of this copy.

For the certificate of voluntary registration and deposit in Russian, 46 Belarusian rubles must be paid separately. It’s about $14.

Within 5 working days after payment, the NCIP issues the applicant a certificate of voluntary registration of the copyright object.

At the request of the applicant, an entry in the database about the computer program is posted on the NCIP website.

The certificate is received in the way chosen in the application: in the NCIP or by mail.

What are the features of the legislative framework?

The legislative framework for protecting intellectual property in Belarus has peculiarities. For judicial protection, lawyers use procedural and civil legislation, with which they can restore violated rights and receive financial compensation.

Government measures to protect intellectual property:

Administrative protection

Fines are provided for violations of exclusive rights in intellectual property protection. The district court’s decision pays these fines to the State budget. If the same violation is repeated after this year, criminal punishment is provided.

A decision of the economic court also imposed an administrative fine for the illegal use of a trademark.

Administrative fines are applied in accordance with the Code of Administrative Offences of Belarus.

Customs protection

Customs protection of intellectual property objects by entering objects into the National Customs Register of Intellectual Property objects is carried out by the Law “On Customs Regulation in the Republic of Belarus”.

Civil law protection

The state registration of intellectual property objects is their civil protection, which prevents other persons from using registered objects. Civil protection is regulated by the Civil Code of Belarus and the legislation on trademark registration, copyright and related rights.

How to contact us

For more information or advice on intellectual property protection, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help and support you.
Phone and e-mail communication options are available for your convenience:

  • +375293664477 (WhatsApp/Telegram/Viber);
  • info@spex.by.
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