Romania - 5-Protection of Property RightsRomania - Property Rights
The Romanian Constitution, adopted in December 1991 and revised in 2003, guarantees the right to ownership of private property. Mineral and airspace rights, and similar rights, are excluded from private ownership. Under the revised Constitution, foreign citizens can gain land ownership through inheritance. With EU accession, citizens of EU member states can own land in Romania, subject to reciprocity in their home country.
Companies owning foreign capital may acquire land or property needed to fulfill or develop company goals. If the company is dissolved or liquidated, the land must be sold within one year of closure, and may only be sold to a buyer(s) with the legal right to purchase such assets. Investors can purchase shares in agricultural companies that lease land in the public domain from the State Land Agency.
The 2006 legislation that regulates the establishment of specialized mortgage banks also makes possible a secondary mortgage market, by regulating mortgage bond issuance mechanisms. Mortgage loans are offered by commercial banks, specialized mortgage banks, and non-bank mortgage credit institutions. Romania's mortgage market is now almost entirely private. The state-owned National Savings Bank, CEC Bank, also offers mortgage loans. Since 2000, Romania has had in place the Electronic Archives of Security Interests in Movable Property (AEGRM) that represents the national recording system for the priority of mortgages structured by entities and assets, ensuring the filing of transactions regarding mortgages, assimilated operations, or other collateral provided by the law, as well as their advertising. Most urban land has clear title, and the National Cadaster Agency (NCA) is slowly and deliberately working to identify property owners and register land titles. According to the National Cadaster Plan, 2023 is the deadline for full registration of lands and buildings in the registry. According to NCA data, 9.5 million (24 percent) of the estimated real estate assets (land and buildings) were registered in the cadaster registry as of March 2017.
Intellectual Property Rights
In USTR’s Special 301 report, Romania is on the watch list. As elsewhere in the EU, Internet piracy – both Torrent site peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing and business-to-consumer piracy – remains the top IPR concern. Despite the lower priority placed on IPR enforcement at the policy level, cooperation between law enforcement authorities, including prosecutors and police officers, and intellectual property-based private industry continues to be close at the working level, leading to innovative approaches to prosecuting IPR crimes within this constrained legal and fiscal environment. In order to increase the odds of IPR cases being heard in court, law enforcement authorities, when appropriate, are bundling related charges of fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, and organized crime activity alongside IPR violations. Not only has this increased the odds of IPR cases going to court, it also strengthens the evidence of “social harm” stemming from IPR violations. Lack of social harm has often been cited as a reason for dismissing IPR cases in the past.
Romania’s Customs Authority reported the seizure of approximately 1.46 million pieces of counterfeit goods in 2016 compared to 6.17 million pieces in 2015 and 6.73 million pieces in 2014. The declining trend continues at an accelerated pace, in line with growing purchasing power and demand for genuine physical goods. Cigarettes, razor blades, pens and pencils, toys, bearings, clothing, stickers, footwear, footballs, footwear, and cosmetics and accessories accounted for the majority of those seizures. The amount of seized pharmaceuticals fell from 1,322 pieces in 2015 to 370 pieces in 2016. While there was a significant increase in seized quantities of pens and pencils, watches, memory cards, cosmetics and accessories, sunglasses, and mobile phones, there was a significant drop in seized quantities of batteries, bearings, condoms, footwear, clothing, cigarettes, and headphones. According to both the National Customs Authority and the national police, the vast majority of counterfeit goods seized in Romania originate in China.
Romania is a signatory to international conventions concerning intellectual property rights (IPR), including Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and has enacted legislation protecting patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Romania has signed the Internet Convention to protect online authorship. While the IPR legal framework is generally good, enforcement remains weak and ineffective, especially in the area of internet piracy. The once-flagrant trade of retail pirated goods has largely been eliminated, but unlicensed use of software and personal use of pirated audio-video products remains high. The recording and film industries have expressed concern over increasing levels of internet-based piracy. Romania has passed broad IPR protection enforcement provisions, as required by the WTO, yet judicial enforcement remains lax.
Romania is on the Special 301 Watch List primarily due to weak enforcement efforts against on-line copyright piracy. Customs officers can seize ex-officio, and then destroy counterfeit goods after the rights holder first inspect the goods and draft a declaration. The government is responsible for paying for the storage and destruction of the counterfeit goods. Counterfeit goods are not prevalent in the local market.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) provides 186 Country Profiles. These are available at: http://www.wipo.int/directory/en.
Romania is a party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and subscribes to all of its amendments. Romanian patent legislation generally meets international standards, with foreign investors accorded equal treatment with Romanian citizens under the law. Patents are valid for 20 years. Romania has been a party to the European Patent Protection Convention since 2002. Patent registration can be filed online. Since 2014, Romania has also enforced a distinct law regulating employee inventions. The right to file a patent belongs to the employer for up to two years following the departure of the employee.
In 1998, Romania passed a trademark and geographic indications law, which was amended in 2010 to make it fully consistent with equivalent EU legislation. Romania is a signatory to the Madrid Agreement relating to the international registration of trademarks and the Geneva Treaty on Trademarks. Trademark registrations are valid for ten years from the date of application and renewable for similar periods. Beginning 2014, trademark registrations can be filed online. In 2007, Romania ratified the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks.
Romania is a member of the Bern Convention on Copyrights. The Romanian Parliament has ratified the latest versions of the Bern and Rome Conventions. The Romanian Copyright Office (ORDA) was established in 1996, and promotes and monitors copyright legislation. The General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) provides national coordination of IPR enforcement, but copyright law enforcement remains a low priority for Romanian prosecutors and judges. Many magistrates still tend to view copyright piracy as a "victimless crime" and this attitude has resulted in weak enforcement of copyright law. Due to the popularity of downloading pirated content, copyright infringement of music and film is widespread throughout Romania.
Resources for Rights Holder
Contact at Mission:
For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/.
American Chamber of Commerce
11 Ion Campineanu St, Union International Center, 4th Floor Bucharest
firstname.lastname@example.org, +40 21 312 4834
State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (OSIM)
5 Ion Ghica St, Bucharest
email@example.com, +40 21 306 0800
http://www.osim.ro/cons/2013/agentii_consilieri.pdf [List of trademark lawyers]
Romanian Office for Rights of Authors
118 Calea Victoriei, Bucharest
firstname.lastname@example.org, +40 21 317 5080
Romania Trade Development and Promotion Intellectual Property