Intellectual property

In 1996 and 1997 Azerbaijan started implementation of a national system for the registration and protection of intellectual property rights. Intellectual property rights in Azerbaijan include:  all rights to industrial property (including inventions, industrial designs, utility models, trademarks, and geographical indication); and copyright and related rights. Current legislation pertaining to intellectual property includes the Law “On Copyrights and Related Rights” (the “Copyright Law”); the Law “On Trademarks and Geographical Indications”; the Law “On Patents”; the Law “On the Topology of Integrated Circuits”; the Law “On Legal Protection of Databases”; and the Law “On Ensuring Intellectual Property Rights and Combatting Piracy”. 

Under existing legislation, the Cabinet of Ministers is empowered to authorize various state agencies to register and protect intellectual property rights in respective areas. The State Committee for Standardization, Metrology and Patents is responsible for the issuance of patents and trademark registration. There is also the State Copyright Agency, which is responsible for the registration of the copyrights. Beyond this, however, procedures for the registration and protection of various intellectual property rights differ from one state agency to another.

Azerbaijan is a party to several international agreements on the protection of intellectual property, including: the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization; the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, the Madrid Protocol, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Eurasian Patent Convention, the Performances and Phonograms Treaty of the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the Copyright Treaty of the World Intellectual Property Organization. 

Azerbaijan is a “first to file” and not a “first to use” jurisdiction, meaning early registration of intellectual property rights is essential to ensure protection. Patent protection is granted to an invention if it is novel, inventive and useful. The maximum duration of protection for an invention patent is twenty (20) years. 

Utility models are granted patent protection if they are new and “industrially applicable”. The term of utility patents is ten (10) years. 

An industrial design right is characterized by an artistic and structural form which determines its external appearance.

Patent protection is granted if an industrial design is novel, original, and capable of industrial application. The term is ten years.

Patents may be assigned and/or licensed by their owner(s) to natural persons or legal entities. However, an assignment and/or license must be registered with the relevant state agency to be enforceable. Infringement carries civil, criminal and administrative liability.

The right to a trademark is based on registration with the respective state agencies. Trademark registration is granted for a term of ten (10) years, renewable every ten (10) years. Assignments of licenses for trademarks must be registered with the relevant state agency.

Legal protection is given to the appellation of origin of goods based on registration with the relevant state agency, and to trademarks existing under international agreements on the registration thereof or bearing the status of a well-known trademark. Violations of intellectual property rights carry civil, criminal, and administrative liability.

The Copyright Law protects works of science, literature and the arts (works) as well as stage productions, phonograms of radio or cable broadcasts, and computer programs and databases (related rights). Copyright protection is normally granted to the author without registration. The right to use a copyrighted work may be reassigned. A copyright provides protection for the lifetime of the author and normally for a period of fifty (50) years following his or her death.

Rights to computer programs, databases and topologies of integrated circuits are protected under the Copyright Law and the Law “On Topology of Integrated Circuits” and Law “On Legal Protection of Databases”. The unauthorized recreation (copying) of computer programs, alteration of existing programs, and unlawful accessing of legally protected computer information are criminal offences.

Proper quality is determined by legislative norms and technical specifications applicable to a particular product. Certain goods are subject to mandatory certification by state agencies, in accordance with procedures established by legislation. The advertising and distribution of goods without such certification is prohibited.