Imported goods, false advertising and trademarks – CIS countries strengthen consumer protection
Economic areas are no longer limited to geographical regions, as e-commerce has made products from local manufacturers available to consumers across the globe. While this is a positive for businesses, there are some negative side effects, including an increase in the volume of counterfeit goods and parallel imports, and the potential for consumers to be misled about the manufacturer and/or quality of products.
Following the creation of the Eurasian trademark registration system and the need to improve the legal framework surrounding the protection of IP rights in Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, on 9 December 2020, the CIS Economic Council held its 88th meeting, where it approved the new draft of the Agreement on Measures to Prevent and Combat the Use of False Trademarks and Geographical Indications.
Article 1 of the agreement states that a “false trademark is a trademark used by a third party infringing the rights of the trademark owner, or a trademark containing false indications of the origin of goods, as well as data or such an element that could mislead consumers”. The signatories aim to strengthen interstate cooperation to counteract goods with such trademarks entering the CIS trade area.
According to the analytical report of the Eurasian Economic Commission established within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – which includes CIS countries Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia – between January and December 2020, the volume of imports to the EAEU amounted to $258.4 billion, with 82.7% being delivered to Russia. These high figures indicate the need to pay additional attention to consumer interest, which has resulted in a tightening of control over online sales involving foreign stores.
According to the official CIS website, consumers in EAEU member states are often misled, as the goods supplied to EAEU markets often differ in quality indicators to similar goods of the same producer supplied to the European market. To resolve this issue, a certification of imported products will be introduced, which will confirm compliance with EAEU technical regulations.
Trademark owners that supply goods to the Russian market in the near future will be provided with additional measures to protect against the unauthorized use of their marks. There are also plans to introduce a notification process for goods to comply with the technical regulations on quality and safety in the EAEU.
On the one hand, this process will complicate the conditions for selling imported goods in Russia. On the other hand, it will make it possible to confirm the quality of the goods supplied and their relationship with similar goods produced for consumers in other countries. It is worth assuming that certification will foster consumer loyalty for a certain product and trademark.
Originally published on World Trademark Review
Head of Trademark Department / Trademark Attorney Reg. № 1258 / Patent Attorney of the Russian Federation / Eurasian Patent Attorney Reg. № 63