When it comes to implementing intellectual property rights in Tajikistan, the country is party to a number of international conventions which protect IPR (intellectual property rights) including the WIPO (World International Property Organization) Convention, however seven of the WIPO's 24 treaties remain unsigned, and that includes the Patent Law Treaty.
Tajikistan has only limited resources budgeted for enforcement of intellectual property rights laws and splits its regulatory authority between the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. At the present time, the laws are still relatively lax around IPR and there are still many counterfeit goods and a lot of media products and software items in Tajikistan are unlicensed copies.
During 2016, the country benefited from an FDI inflow of $434 million USD and this is a huge improvement over the $168 million USD FDI which was recorded three years earlier. Currently, Tajikistan's FDI stock has been estimated at around $2.4 billion USD with energy, cotton and aluminium representing the sectors which are most attractive to foreign investors. Tourism is now also starting to become a more attractive sector for investment, and the country is offering a favourable environment for both cross-border and regional investment.
In the first part of 2016, the government of Tajikistan adopted a National Strategy for the Development of Intellectual Property which covered the period from 2014 to 2020, however outside donor funding would be required to implement this strategy. This means that there is still pirated media and counterfeit items available in the country since the government are unable to devote the necessary resources to enforcing the IPR laws.
However, as part of their accession to the WTO, Tajikistan made amendments to their Customs Code to give customs officers the authority to seize any counterfeit goods and destroy them. Anyone found violating the IPR laws must also pay for the storage, destruction and transportation of any seized counterfeit goods. During 2012, there were 289 criminal cases opened for consumer fraud relating to the seizure of counterfeit goods however the Ministry of the Interior have not released any enforcement statistics for IPR laws for the year 2013 or beyond.
For an applicant to register a trademark or patent with the NCPI (National Center for Patents and Information) they must submit their application together with all of the relevant information on intellectual property rights and also pay a fee. The records will be searched for any conflicts, and should none be found, the UP can then be registered within a 30 day period from receipt of the application.
Trademark registration could take up to 4 months while getting the patent for an invention could take as long as 2 years. At the present time, the weak implentation of IPR laws in Tajikistan makes it hard for investors to ensure their rights are enforced, however there is potential for intellectual property rights enforcement to improve should the Tajik government implement its action plan effectively to comply with the requirements of the WTO.