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As of January 1, 2018, a new Customs Code entered into force in Kazakhstan, including amendments relevant to IP protection. Rights holders who have business in the region and who utilize customs watch protection should note the following five core amendments:

    • The previous version of the Code required submitting a document that would confirm the rights on a trademark or copyright. The Code specified that such a document had to be either “a certificate of registration of IP objects, license agreement, extract from the Kazakhstani Trademark Register, or letter confirming the status of trademark or copyright issued by the Kazakhstan IP Office.” Now, extracts from international trademark registrations and other documents confirming IP rights may be submitted instead.
    • The Code now contains a rule whereby it is mandatory to submit a confirmation of illegal import of goods containing a trademark or copyright into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia). Such a document could be a court decision related to a certain import of infringing goods. The Customs Office currently accepts the confirmation of an illegal import made in any country of the EEU.
    • The new Customs Code sets forth the requirement that a customs watch renewal must be requested 15 days prior to the expiration of the customs watch term.
    • If the trademark registration was renewed but the national IP office or the World Intellectual Property Organization failed to timely issue the renewal document, the Customs Office now waits for up to two months to be provided with a renewal document. During this term, customs detentions are not made and the customs registration is put on hold. If the renewal document is timely provided, the customs watch can be renewed without a need to resubmit the trademark.
    • The normal ten-day business term for customs detention can now be extended for an additional ten business days if the rights holder proves to the Customs Office that there is a filing of a civil lawsuit against the importer, or if the law enforcing agency seizes the detained goods.

Zhanat Nurmagambetov, Senior Associate

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