Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.
Last Published: 4/17/2016
Tajikistan is a member of many international agreements and unions, but does not adhere to key international agreements on intellectual property rights and lacks effective protections for patents, copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property (IP). 
 
Several provisions in the Constitution and civil and criminal codes provide for the protection of intellectual property.  Part II of the civil code provides protections for all types of property.  Part III regulates intellectual property rights, inheritance rights, and private international rights.  According to Article 1137 of Part III, the following protections are available:
 
Financial compensation by court decision;
Withdrawal of material and equipment used in violation of the property rights and goods, or produced as a result of the violation;
Publication of the cases in the mass media; and
Other methods as stipulated in the law. 
 
Despite the formal legal guarantees of intellectual property rights, actual enforcement of these provisions lags far behind. 
 
The following organizations are responsible for the implementation of intellectual property rights policy and enforcement:
 
The National Patent Information Center (NPIC) at the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade is Tajikistan’s primary patenting organization.  One of the NPIC’s main functions is to protect state interests with respect to inventions, industrial samples, trademarks, service marks, and geographical origins of goods. 
The Department on Authors’ Rights and Related Rights at the Ministry of Culture is responsible for the protection of authors’ rights. 
The State Commission on Grade Testing and Protection of Grades at the Ministry of Agriculture deals with licensing of agricultural products and services. 
The Customs Committee is responsible for cargo transit regulation and fee assessment at the state border. 
Other government structures may also have roles, including the Supreme Economic Court and the Department to Combat Intellectual Property Rights Violations under the Ministry of the Interior. 
 
Tajikistan joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1994 and has acceded to the following agreements concerning copyright agreements:
 
-- Convention on establishment of the WIPO (12/25/1991)
-- The Universal Copyright Convention (1992)
-- Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (03/09/2000)
-- Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (05/19/2008)
-- WIPO Copyright Treaty (04/05/2009)
-- WIPO Phonograms and Performances Treaty (08/24/2011)
-- Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms (under consideration)
 
The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade’s National Patent and Information Center reports that Tajikistan signed several other agreements in the area of industrial designs:
 
-- The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure (02/14/1994)
-- Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs
-- Nairobi Treaty on Protection of the Olympic Symbol (02/14/1994)
-- Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (02/14/1994)
-- Paris Convention on Protection of the Industrial Property (02/14/1994)
-- Strasbourg Agreement on International Patent Classification (02/14/1994)
-- Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (10/12/2011)
 
In 2011-2013 Tajikistan moved closer to compliance with TRIPS and other IP norms.  Tajikistan passed a law on protecting new plant varieties in December 2010 and joined the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) in March 2011.  Though Tajikistan is a signatory to the Berne Convention, Tajikistan’s copyright law did not protect sound recordings or pre-existing works as provided for by the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.  On December 29, 2010, Tajikistan’s parliament ratified the Convention, removing one of the major remaining legislative gaps in IPR. 
 
Protecting Your Intellectual Property in Tajikistan
 
Several general principles are important for effective management of intellectual property rights in Tajikistan.  It is important to have an overall strategy to protect your IP.  IP is protected differently in Tajikistan than in the United States.  Rights must be registered and enforced in Tajikistan under local laws.  Your U.S. trademark and patent registrations will not always be honored in Tajikistan.  There is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s writings throughout the entire world.  Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends, basically, on the national laws of that country.  Most countries, however, do offer copyright protection to foreign works under certain conditions, and these conditions have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions.
 
Registration of patents and trademarks is on a first-in-time, first-in-right basis, so you should consider applying for trademark and patent protection even before selling your products or services in Tajikistan.  It is vital that companies understand that the U.S. government generally cannot enforce intellectual property rights for private individuals in Tajikistan.  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 Tajikistan law.  The U.S. Embassy can provide a list of local lawyers upon request http://dushanbe.usembassy.gov/legal_information.html.
 
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.  Moreover, in many countries, those who delay enforcing their rights on a mistaken belief that the U.S. government can provide a political resolution to a legal problem may find that their rights have been eroded or abrogated due to legal doctrines such as statutes of limitations, laches, estoppel, or unreasonable delay in prosecuting a law suit.  In no instance should U.S. Government advice be seen as a substitute for the obligation of a rights holder to promptly pursue its case.
 
It is always advisable to conduct due diligence on potential partners.  Give your partner clear incentives to honor contracts.  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 Tajikistan require constant attention.  Work with legal counsel familiar with Tajikistan’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-size 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 Tajikistan or U.S.-based.  These include:
 
The U.S. Chamber and local American Chambers of Commerce
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)
The International Trademark Association (INTA)
The Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy
The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC)
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
 
IP Resources
 
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 US and other countries -- call the STOP! Hotline: 1-866-999-HALT or register at www.StopFakes.gov
 
For more information about registering trademarks and patents (both in the U.S. as well as in foreign countries), contact the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at: 1-800-786-9199.
 
For more information about registering for copyright protection in the US, contact the US 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, a free online training program is available at www.stopfakes.gov.
 
For US small and medium-size companies, the Department of Commerce offers a "SME IP Advisory Program" available through the American Bar Association that provides one hour of free IP legal advice for companies with concerns in Brazil, China, Egypt, India, and Russia.  For details, and to register, visit: http://www.abanet.org/intlaw/intlproj/iprprogram_consultation.html
 
For information on obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights and market-specific IP Toolkits visit:  www.StopFakes.gov  This site is linked to the USPTO website for registering trademarks and patents (both in the U.S. as well as in foreign countries), the U.S. Customs & Border Protection website to record registered trademarks and copyrighted works (to assist customs in blocking imports of IP-infringing products) and allows you to register for Webinars on protecting IP.
 
The U.S. Commerce Department has positioned IP attachés in key markets around the world.  You can get contact information for the IP attaché who covers Tajikistan at: http://export.gov/russia/contactus/index.asp.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Tajikistan Trade Development and Promotion Intellectual Property