Protection of intellectual property (copyright) on the Internet in Ukraine

Nowadays every business is represented on the Internet. And instruments of intellectual property protection on the Internet are almost absent in Ukraine.

Let’s try to enumerate current problems in protecting intellectual property rights in ukraine and find possible solutions, focusing on civil methods of protection.

Protection of a domain name and brand 

First of all, a site domain usually reflects brand name or company name. But very often the same domain name may be registered by other companies or cybersquatters (professional domain interceptors for the purpose of sale), but in another domain zone (for example, not xxx.com.ua, but xxx.co.ua).

To protect your unique domain name we recommend:

1) Not register domains under names similar to famous brands, because the last are protected even without registration of brand in Ukraine on the basis of international instruments. There is a real example – the case “Google Inc. (USA) LLC vs. “Go Ogle” (Kyiv), when the court decided to ban the use the domain “google.ua” by Ukrainian company, despite the fact that Ukrainians registered their trademark. The certificate to sign for goods and services was also quashed as misleading consumers and being registered with the violations;

2) Register a domain as soon as possible without creation of site – as it is taken into account, who was the first to “reserve” the right to trademark;

3) Register a trademark, because it entitles you to use the domain .ua, protects your brand (domain) from using by anyone in your field of business.

Plagiarism

What are judicial ways to protect your materials from “thieves”?

Registration of copyright is not compulsory under Ukrainian legislation. So how protect unique content? There are various technical solutions of this problem – proving authorship using Google +, “watermark” on images, embedding hidden codes etc., and limiting possibilities to copy materials from your site. But, firstly, these technical solutions do not always help, and secondly, we are interested in judicial, rather than software protection methods that are not always effective.

Under current legislation, he, who is mentioned as the author on the original is considered to be the author (if there is no other evidence). But Ukrainian legislator does not explain exactly, whether publication on the Internet is regarded to be an original or at least a specimen.

In the case of actual copyright infringement we recommend: write a letter to administration of the site on cessation of the breach; if it does not help – apply to court and demand recognition and renewal of your rights, including ban of actions that infringe copyright (ban a publication), pay damages (property damages), including lost profits etc. The owner of the site and the author of the publication will be defendants in such case.

Evidence on the Internet

One can use:

– Witnesses’ testimony;

– Screenshots. Not all courts take such evidence into account, but it is worth trying. Some even print these screenshots and notarize it, writing a so-called “Protocol of web-site review” and afterwards using it as a document in court. But such practice came from Russia and is not common in Ukraine.

All in all, nowadays protection of intellectual property on the Internet in Ukraine raises more questions, than gives answers. Contact us, and let’s find the answers together.