REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN

Director of Department
of Patent and License of the SCSE
of the Republic of Azerbaijan
M.Seidov

The Republic of Azerbaijan is located in the south-eastern part of Caucasus.

Azerbaijan borders Armenia to the west and south-west, Iran to the south and south-west, Turkey to the south-west, Russia to the north, and Georgia to the north-west. The Caspian Sea washes the eastern coast of the country.

Nearly half of the country's territory is occupied by mountains: the Great Caucasian Range in the north-east, and the Small Caucasian Range in the south-west. The Kura-Araksinskaya lowlands are located in the centre. Azerbaijan has about 250 lakes.

Scientists often say that Azerbaijan is a miniature model of our planet. Out of 11 landscape and climatic zones found on earth, 9 are present in Azerbaijan. The permanent snow cover of the Great Caucasian Range is complimented with the sub-tropics of Lenkorani and the golden sands of Apsheron.

The form of government is a presidential republic. The country includes the Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan; all other regions are, since 1992, under the direct jurisdiction of the Republic's government.

Azerbaijan first gained its independence in 1918 and it was called the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan (it was the first democratic state in the East), and then, on April 28, 1920, Azerbaijan became the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan.

Once again independence was declared by Azerbaijan on October 18, 1991. May 28 is a national holiday - the Republic Day. The state is headed by the President, who appoints the Prime Minister. The legislative authority belongs to the constantly active parliament called Milli Medzhilis.

Azerbaijan is an industrial and an agrarian country. The national economy is based on oil extraction and the oil processing industry, with other closely connected industries, such as chemical, machine-building, electric engineering and ferrous metallurgy.

The greatest agricultural area is occupied by grain crops: wheat, rice, and winter barley. Among technical crops cotton and tobacco are first. Fruit and grape growing are of importance; subtropical produce (persimmon, pomegranate and figs) and tea are also grown.

The total length of railroads (including those with electric power lines) is 2090 km, and of highways 36700 km. The main seaport is Baku.

History

Humans have lived in the territory of the Republic since the Paleolithic period. Megalithic masonry fortifications belong to the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 1st millennium BC.

Azerbaijan was situated on the main trade routes between Europe and Asia (the Silk Route), and for centuries was a subject of disputes of various tribes and states.

Atropatena is one of the most ancient names of Azerbaijan, known to us from Greek sources. Many times Azerbaijan was invaded. A part of it was captured by the Sasanides by the middle of the 3rd century. In the 4th century the territory of Azerbaijan became the arena of destructive wars between the Roman Empire and Persia. Oil extraction started between the 5th and the 7th century on the Apsheron peninsula. Islam became the dominant religion in Azerbaijan by the middle of the 7th century. In the second half of the 9th and the first half of the 10th century several feudal states formed and grew strong in Azerbaijan. The 11th and 12th centuries were the period of flourishment of the feudal culture of Azerbaijan.

The highest achievement of public and cultural thought in Azerbaijan of that period was the work of Nizami Gyandzhevi (1141-1209), whose writings belong to the golden fund of the world literature. The heroic epic "Kitabi Dede Korkut" is a remarkable creation of the Azerbaijan folk literature of the 10th and 11th centuries.

The works of the great poet Fizuli is among the most notable achievements of Azerbaijanian poetry of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Sefevide State formed in the beginning of the 16th Century, and most of Azerbaijan territory fell under its power. This was of serious significance to the history of Azerbaijan because it created favourable conditions for the development of economy and helped in fighting against foreign intruders.

The history of Azerbaijan from the first half of the 18th century to the 19th century is filled with resistance against foreign invaders, with North Azerbaijan being the centre of this resistance.

Capitalist relations started developing in Azerbaijan in the second half of the 19th century. Fast development of the oil industry turned the city of Baku into a major economic centre.

Castles, palaces, caravan-serai, mosques with minarets and mausoleums have been build in Azerbaijan since the 12th century. Two mausoleums in Nakhichevan, one in Barda, one in the village of Karabaglar and others belong to a group of monuments, build in the 12th and 13th century, that exemplify the Nakhichevan school of architecture.

Among the architectural monuments in Baku, the most interesting ones are the ancient castle of Icheri-shekher, the Synyk-kala minaret (11th century) and "Gyz-Galasy" ("Maidens' Tower"). The complex of the Shirvanshakh palace in Baku (13th-15th century) is the most famous architectural monument; together with the Maiden's Tower and fortification walls it fits in the modern cityscape. The Khan palace in the city of Sheki is a remarkable example of palace architecture of the 18th century. The palace's facade is covered with rich decorations.

The still preserved common people's dwellings from the 18th and 19th centuries, domed bathhouses, caravan-serai, arching bridges and other examples of architecture from the centuries past give demonstrate the variety of construction styles and various building and architectural techniques known to the people of Azerbaijan.

Such health resorts as Istisu and Naftalan, plus popular health resort zones of the Caspian Sea are located in the country. The Turianchai, Kyzylagach, and Zakatal conservation areas are located in Azerbaijan.

Newly-achieved independence presented Azerbaijan with several major challenges. Establishment of a new system of legal protection of industrial property objects was on the agenda. In the beginning of 1992 Azerbaijan was in a state of legal vacuum without any laws on industrial property protection.

In addition to this problem, there was no organization in charge of examination and registration of industrial property objects, even though Azerbaijan did have industrial property experts. They acquired their core knowledge by attending the Central Patent Institute.

The Azerbaijan Public Institute of Patent Science and the Azerbaijan Public Institute of Inventive Creativity, both of the Azerbaijan Association of Inventors and Innovators, have been functioning since 1969 and 1971, respectively.

The printing enterprise "Patent" of the USSR State Committee for Inventions was established in Azerbaijan for the practical application of knowledge acquired by experts in that area. In 1974 it became the Baku branch of the All-Union Centre of Patent Services ("the Centre").

All of the above taken together stimulated inventive creativity and encouraged the establishment of our own school of patent experts.

In order to fill in the organizational vacuum, the Temporary State Service of the Registration of Inventions, Industrial Designs and Trademarks ("the Service") was established in 1992.

According to a Presidential Decree issued in October, 1992, legal acts of the former USSR concerning inventions and trademarks remained valid in the territory of Azerbaijan till new legal acts to replace these were drafted and adopted.

The Service developed several sub-legislative and normative documents to fill the vacuum in order to meet the provisions of the Patent Law.

In 1993 the State Committee of Science and Engineering (SCSE) was established by a Presidential Decree, with Academician A.Kh. Mirzadzhanzade appointed its Chairman. Implementation of state policies in the area of industrial property protection, the establishment, development, and strengthening of the national patent system, and international collaboration were among the objectives pursued by SCSE according to the Provisions that regulate its activity.

The Patent and License Department of SCSE (PLD SCSE) was made responsible for the fulfillment of these functions.

According to the Council of Ministers Decree of January 21, 1994, with the aim of forming a single state patent system and in connection to the beginning of the activity of the Patent and License Department in SCSE, that temporary Centre was replaced by the National Centre of Patent Examination of the Republic of Azerbaijan (NCPE) under the jurisdiction of SCSE, and the temporary Service was dissolved.

The main functions of NCPE include, among others, examination and decisions on invention application, industrial design applications, utility model applications, trademark applications, and applications on geographic indications received from national or foreign applicants. The staff of NCPE is 19, and 5-10 examiners work on a contractual basis.

NCPE includes, among others, the following divisions: inventions and utility models, industrial designs, trademarks and international trademarks.

The main functions of PLD SCSE are: maintaining state registers of industrial property objects, granting of titles of protection on behalf of the state, taking measures for their maintenance, considering objections to and complaints about the examiners' decisions, conducting work with the aim of further improving the legislative and normative base in the area of industrial property, registering agreements on the assignment rights for applications, patents and registered trademarks, registering license agreements, and publishing the official bulletin of industrial property.

The first official bulletin of industrial property was issued in 1996. A total of 15 official bulletins were published by 1999 (inclusively).

The first patent in the Republic of Azerbaijan was granted on February 15, 1995, to N.G. Pashayev. The invention relates to the oil extraction industry.

From the patent system's beginning to April 25, 2000, NCPE received 2089 applications for inventions (of which 441 applications were for re-registration), 95 applications under the PCT system, 1 application for a utility model, 52 applications for industrial designs, 8958 applications for trademarks (of which 3827 were for re-registration), 11608 designations of the Republic of Azerbaijan with regard to trademark registration according to the Madrid Agreement.

Distribution of applications according to the categories of IPC
IPC categories 1998 1999
A 40 63
B 36 29
C 74 86
D - -
E 67 92
F 28 10
G 25 25
H 17 25
Total 287 330

Distribution of applications for invention by countries
Country 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
AU - - - - - - 1
AZ 281 223 166 168 212 266 92
AT 8 1 - - 1 - -
BE 1 2 - - - 1 -
CA 1 - - 1 - - -
CH 11 - - - - - -
L 1 - - - - - -
DE 9 2 1 6 5 5 -
DK 2 - - 2 1 - -
ES 9 1 1 1 - - -
FR 9 2 1 1 - 1 -
GB 17 2 - 1 - 1 -
HU 6 - - - - - -
MX - - - - - 1 -
IT 15 2 1 - 2 - 2
JP 6 4 1 1 - - -
NL 1 1 - - - - -
NO 2 1 - 3 8 7 -
RU 2 1 2 - 1 - -
SE 3 - - - - - -
TR - - - - 1 1 -
US 37 8 10 23 15 9 2
BR - - - - - 1 -
Total 421 240 183 207 246 294 97

As of April 2000, a total of 647 inventions had been registered with patents granted (31 patents were granted in 1995, 82 in 1996, 79 in 1997, 96 in 1998, 234 in 1999, and 125 in 2000); 7178 trademarks (27 in 1994, 792 in 1995, 250 in 1996, 1892 in 1997, 2152 in 1998, 1581 in 1999, and 484 in 2000), and 1 industrial design were registered in that time period.

The Patent and License Department plans to direct its efforts to further development of the state system of industrial property protection. Intense attention will be directed at the improvement of information support, automation of the information search process, and legislative improvements in the area of industrial property, plus the development of the system of services to applicants.

Starting December 25, 1995, the Republic of Azerbaijan became party to:

  1. The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO);
  2. The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property;
  3. The Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks;
  4. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT);
  5. The Eurasian Patent Convention.

Collaboration with the CIS countries is conducted as part of the work of the Interstate Council on the Protection of Industrial Property, and on the basis of bilateral agreements.

The Republic of Azerbaijan is party to the Agreement on Measures on the Protection of Industrial Property and the establishment of the Interstate Council on the Protection of Industrial Property.

The Republic of Azerbaijan signed bilateral inter-governmental agreements in the area of industrial property with, among others, the Russian Federation, Georgia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The plans are to foster comprehensive collaboration with WIPO, and in particular concerned with the accession to other agreements under the auspices of WIPO, and also participation in seminars, symposia and information exchange.

PLD is developing collaboration with the European Patent Office with regard to the exchange of patent information, participation in seminars, symposia, etc. EPO renders assistance to PLD and NCPE in English training, the supply of technical equipment, and in providing, free of charge, up-to-date information on industrial property on paper and CD-ROMs.

Thanks to the help of WIPO, EPO and, starting in 2000, EAPO as well, the technical refitting of the Patent and License Department was accomplished.

Thanks to EAPO, PLD connected to the Internet in April of 2000.

Representatives of the Patent and License Department and NCPE participated in various conferences and seminars concerning regional collaboration in the area of industrial property protection.

Collaboration is developing with patent offices of the CIS and other foreign countries to exchange experience and patent information.

PLD is playing an active role in negotiations with the World Trade Organization within the framework of the Commission for Negotiations with WTO.

The Eurasian Patent Convention was signed by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan on September 9, 1994, in Moscow, at the meeting of the Council of Prime Ministers of CIS countries.

In May of 1995 the Eurasian Patent Convention was ratified in the Milli Medzhilis of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The Sixth meeting of the Interstate Council on the Protection of Industrial Property took place in Baku on September 7 and 8, 1995. The Council heard reports from the head of the permanent interstate working group of experts about the drafts of Patent, Administrative, and Financial Regulations, as well as on the drafts of the Statute of Fees and Payments of the Organization, and the Headquarters Agreement concluded between the Eurasian Patent Organization and the Government of the Russian Federation. As a result of the discussion and decisions that followed, the Council recommended presenting the approved document drafts to the Administrative Council.

"The Regional Seminar of WIPO-EPO on the Significance of the Agreement on commercial aspects of intellectual property rights" took place on July 1 and 2, 1997, in the city of Baku. The seminar was organized by PLD SCSE in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO).

"The National Seminar of WIPO on the Commercialization and Licensing of Industrial Property" was held on April 29 and 30 in the City of Baku. This seminar was organized by PLD SCSE in cooperation with WIPO. This seminar demonstrated the growing public interest in industrial property issues.

PLD SCSE developed drafts of new laws, sub-legislative acts and normative documents in the area of industrial property, which were put into effect following appropriate procedures.

The normative and legislative base of the Azerbaijan Republic in the area of industrial property is comprised, among others, by:

  1. The Azerbaijan Republic Law "On Patents", No.312-IQ (passed June 10, 1997, and put into force August 2, 1997 (date of publication)).
  2. The Azerbaijan Republic Law "On Trademarks and Geographic Indications", No. 504-IQ (passed on June 12, 1998, and put into force on August 27, 1998 (date of publication)).
  3. The Azerbaijan Republic law "On Unfair Competition" (adopted on June 2, 1995).
  4. "Rules on the Payment and Sizes of Fees in the Area of Industrial Property Protection", passed by the Decree of the Council of Ministers No. 37 of March 6, 2000, and put into force on May 1, 2000.
  5. "Statute of Patent Attorneys", approved by the by the Council of Ministers Decree No. 21 of February 15, 2000, and put into effect on the date of its signing.
  6. "The Rules of Filing and Examination of Applications for the Registration of Trademarks", passed by the Council of Ministers Decree No. 166 of October 15, 1999, and put into effect on the date of their signing.
  7. "The Procedure of Maintenance of the State Register of Trademarks", passed by the Cabinet of Ministers Decree No. 143 of August 30, 1999, and put into effect on the date of its signing.
  8. "The Procedure of Maintenance of the State Register of Geographic Indications", passed by the Cabinet of Ministers Decree No. 143 of August 30, 1999, and put into effect on the date of its signing.
  9. "The Rules of Compilation, Filing and Processing of Applications for the Granting of Invention Patents", approved by the SCSE Order No. 09 of July 5, 1999.
  10. "The Rules of Compilation, Filing and Processing of Applications for the Granting of Patent for Industrial Design", approved by SCSE Order No. 05 of May 8, 1998.

At this time work is being done to develop the normative and legislative base according to the requirements established by TRIPS with the aim of Azerbaijan's accession to the World Trade Organization.

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