Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.
Last Published: 2/15/2019
While Tajikistan is a signatory to several international conventions that protect intellectual property rights (IPR), including the World International Property Organization (WIPO) Convention, the country has signed only eight of the 26 WIPO treaties, including the Patent Law Treaty and the Trademark Law Treaty.  Tajikistan’s enforcement of IP violations needs strengthening (regulatory authority is divided between the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Culture).  Most software and other media products sold in Tajikistan are unlicensed copies, and many “brand name” consumer goods are counterfeit. 

Both The Constitution of Tajikistan and the county’s criminal and civil codes have provisions for IPR protection, but the actual enforcement of these provisions lags behind. No new IPR related laws or regulations were enacted in 2017, though the Tajik government did formulate an action plan for the implementation of World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations, which includes IPR enforcement provisions as part of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) treaty requirements.  The creation of the National Council on Coordination and Development of IPR in December 2014 did not lead to any major improvements in IPR enforcement. 

Article 156 of the Criminal Code allows for seizures of counterfeit goods.  The Tajik Ministry of Interior has declined to report statistics on criminal cases opened for consumer fraud from 2013 onward.  Information on successful prosecutions is likewise unavailable.
At the end of 2015, the government established a Working Group under the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) to work on legal regulation that would ban the use of unlicensed software by state entities, but Tajikistan is still without such a decree.  The Tajik government is currently developing an implementation work plan and attempting to attract technical assistance.
In early 2016, the Tajik government adopted a 2014-2020 National Strategy for the Development of Intellectual Property, and is seeking funding from outside donors to implement the strategy.  

As part of its WTO accession process, Tajikistan amended Article 441 of its Customs Code to provide ex officio authority to its customs officers to seize and destroy counterfeit goods.  The Department on Disclosing and Seizing of Counterfeit Products within the Customs Service of Tajikistan has the responsibility to detect IPR-related violations. In recognition of the Tajik government’s actions to improve IPR protection and enforcement, including ex-officio authority to customs officials, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) removed Tajikistan in 2016 from the Special 301 Watch list listing governments that fail to provide IPR enforcement.  USTR’s 2016 out-of cycle review preconditioned Tajikistan’s future status on the Tajik government adopting a presidential-level decree, law, or regulation mandating government-wide use of licensed software by fall 2017.  Due to the failure to adopt the required decree or law, USTR in 2018 again placed Tajikistan in 301 Special Watchlist.

The Tajik government’s inability to tackle ongoing IPR infringement – such as the government’s use of pirated software – and its reticence to provide transparent IPR enforcement statistics demonstrate its political will to combat IPR violators is lacking.  The Tajik government might assess that by turning a blind eye, its consumers maintain access to affordable goods, as well.  
There are very few U.S. companies and brands operating in Tajikistan and they have never reached out to the embassy regarding threats to trade secrets.  There are two laws that protect trade secrets in Tajikistan: Law of the Republic of Tajikistan on Trade Secrets adopted June 18, 2008, and Law of the Republic of Tajikistan on State Protection and Business Support, which entered into force May 10, 2002.

The National Center for Patents and Information (NCPI) at the MEDT 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. 

To register a patent or trademark with the NCPI, applicants must submit an application with all relevant information on the IP, and pay a fee.  The NCPI (www.ncpi.tj) will search its records for conflicts and, if none are found, register the IP within 30 days from the time the application is received.  In general, the registration of a trademark might take four to seven months, while obtaining a patent for an invention could take up to two years.

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/.

Resources for Rights Holders
U.S. Embassy
Economic Section
Dushanbe-ICS@state.gov
American Chamber of Commerce in Tajikistan
+992 (93) 577 23 23 +992 (93) 577 29 29
Director@amcham.tj
Info@amcham.tj

Public list of local lawyers (https://tj.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/attorneys/

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Tajikistan Trade Development and Promotion Intellectual Property