On 21st of December 2023 the Romanian Government Decision no. 1.272/2023 on the approval of the National Intellectual Property Strategy 2024—2028 and the Intellectual Property Action Plan 2024—2028 as well as for the organization and functioning of the Interdepartmental Committee for the coordination of intellectual property strategy and policies have been published.
The creation of the Committee for the coordination of intellectual property strategy and policies by the means of the mentioned governmental decision is in fact the first major act with the aim of transposing the measures form the strategy and the action plan related to intellectual property.
According to the chapter E from the Strategy, entitled” Strategic objective nr. 5 – Development of an effective system for the enforcement of the intellectual property rights”, one of the priorities is the Improvement of interinstitutional cooperation (Article 21).
The first two courses of action to be taken for the improvement of interinstitutional cooperation are referring to the activity and organization of the Intellectual Property Working Group:
1. Optimizing the ability to coordinate the work of the Intellectual Property Working Group;
2. Updating the operating procedures of the Working Group on Intellectual Property.
Point 1 from art. 21 has been detailed and explained by the Action Plan which underlines that the specific required action shall be: The Establishment of a specialized department – Interdepartmental Committee for coordination of intellectual property strategy and policies – within the working apparatus of the Government.
The specific manner of reaching this goal is: by the establishment and institutionalization of processes of inter-institutional cooperation or with the private sector and coordination of the policies and strategies in the field of Intellectual Property Rights, including the coordination of the activity and logistics of the IPR Working Group.
By means of the above-mentioned Romanian Government no. 1.272/2023 and of the creation of the Committee, the platform for facilitating the coordination and assurance of the logistic needs of the IPR Working Group has been set up.
The need of such an administrative and stable platform has been observed since the creation of IPR Working Group, back in 2006. The pro-active and dedicated coordination assured by the Prosecution Office attached to High Court of Cassation and Justice (PICCJ) could not replace a permanent and dedicated coordination office.
As the most important part of this point has been adopted throughout the establishment of the Committee, there is now an urgent need for updating the operating procedures of the Working Group on Intellectual Property (art.21 point 2). According to the governmental decision there is a new structure for the coordination of the Committee comprised of the representatives of the Romanian Patent and Trademark Office (OSIM), the Romanian Office for Copyrights (ORDA), the National Consumer Protection Agency (ANPC), the National Customs Authority (ANV), the Border Police and the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police (IGPR).
The Committee shall be chaired by a president, the national intellectual property coordinator, appointed by the decision of the Prime Minister (art.7.1). Currently, this capacity is owned by Mr. Alexandru Mihai Ghigiu, Minister and Head of Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Romania. The powers of the President of the Committee shall be determined by decision of the Prime Minister.
PICCJ shall not be part of the Committee, but shall remain, at least in the current structure of organization, the coordinator of the IPR Working Group and according to the second measure from the Action Plan, OSIM, ORDA and PICCJ shall be responsible for organizing the meetings of the IPR Working Group on the elaboration of documents amending the operating protocol of the Group.
According to Article 9(4) The secretariat of the Committee shall be provided by the cabinet members of the State Counselor appointed as President. Although, there are no detailed connections between the Committee and the IPR Working Group in the governmental decision, it has been established by the Strategy and the Action Plan that the Committee and its Secretariat are in charge with the coordination and optimal functionality of the IPR Working Group.
The secretariat of the Committee shall be at the same time the logistic support for the activity of the IPR Working Group, ensuring the implementations of the annual agenda of the IPR Working Grup and supporting with the logistic means the common projects of the IPR Working Group.
Back in 2006, the IPR Working Group has been created with the aim of applying the National Intellectual Property Strategy, based on a public-private partnership, without precedent in the intellectual property field, materialized by the signing of the Protocol for the Establishment of the IPR Working Group, under the coordination of the PICCJ on 26.06.2006, by the 33 founding members.
The reform of the IPR Working Group (structure, activities and proceeding) was a need perceived over the years. There was a specific need for improving its reactivity to pending issues.
As a founder of the IPR Working Group and Vice-President since its creation, I would like to point out that some of the most important aspects to be reconsidered are the clear definition of the members’ status and criteria for the private sector representation.