The first quarter of 2020 was not easy for businesses in any country in the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies faced the question of how to maintain business and consumer demand in quarantine. Those companies that, even without the current situation, were ready to provide services remotely and in advance took care of the corporate IT infrastructure, met new challenges of managing time with dignity. Many other businesses, which provided services and offered goods for sale only offline, had to create new ways of business development in a short time: creating websites, mobile applications, pages on social networks, etc. Behind each of these are the exclusive rights of the authors and creators. In this article we will consider the issues of registration of exclusive rights to this kind of intellectual property.
As noted in the introduction, some companies were not ready to work online. To sell, for example, any goods remotely, so for them the first thing was to create platforms where consumers can get acquainted with the goods and place an order. With a tight deadline, many companies ordered the services to develop sites and/or mobile applications, without paying careful attention to intellectual property. Below we briefly consider each of these.
First of all, when creating a website, a company selects a domain name. It can be registered in the kz zone. The domain name is not an object of intellectual property under the laws of Kazakhstan, but in practice disputes about the use of a trademark or a third-party company name in a domain name are quite common. The consequences of illegal use of intellectual property in a domain name can be disastrous for the violator.
Therefore, when choosing a domain name, we recommend that you adhere to the original part of the company name or the trademark registered and valid in Kazakhstan.
For example, LLP “X” owns the trademark “Y”. In this case, the company has a choice – to attach the original part of the domain name to the company name (for example, X.kz) or to the trademark (Y.kz).
With this algorithm, a company is more likely to protect the right to use a domain name in the event of any dispute.
Website Design and Mobile App
The website design and mobile application of the company in practice are also developed under a separate agreement with the appropriate specialist. Many companies do not pay due attention to the provision in the agreement of exclusive rights to created objects, and in some cases the agreement does not provide for such a provision at all.
Website design and mobile application are copyrighted. The transfer of exclusive rights to such facilities should be expressly provided for in the contract. Otherwise, the company is not entitled to use such objects without the consent of the developer (author).
Social Media Pages
Often, companies use pages open to the public on social networks (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) to promote goods and/or services. At the same time, when choosing a page address, you should adhere to the recommendations set forth above in the “domain name” section. Moreover, when publishing new posts on such pages, you should avoid the use of photographs, texts of other authorship. If the page on the social network is maintained by a contract marketing specialist or an employee of the company, you should immediately indicate in the corresponding contract who owns the exclusive rights to photos and text of posts.
and Mobile App Icon
Everyone knows that for the sale of goods and/or services, you need not only the quality of the product, but also a good and recognizable package. The same applies to the icon of the mobile application – it must be bright and memorable at the same time so that the consumer can easily associate the quality of goods and/or services with the name of the company.
The use of slogans, logos on the packaging and in the icon of the mobile application is also safe with the timely registration of the corresponding trademark in Kazakhstan. The form of the packaging itself with its essential features (design, color, etc.) can be registered as an industrial design.
At the moment, favorable conditions exist for obtaining protection for trademarks, industrial designs – the entire procedure transferred to an electronic format, allowing you to use the services in quarantine, moreover, the terms of services for registering such objects has been significantly reduced. Therefore, we recommend that you take care to register exclusive rights to the company’s trademarks and industrial designs in advance.
Above, we briefly examined some issues of registration of exclusive rights to intellectual property. In case you have any questions in the field of intellectual property, we will be happy to answer them.
Aliya Seitova, Senior Associate, Dentons, RK Trademark and Patent AttorneyRelated Topics