Challenges in the Implementation of Intellectual Property Rights Protection

Author: Anastazija Anastasovska Kostovska, Lawyer at Popovski and Partners Law Firm and Member of the AmCham IPR Task Force 

*The article in Macedonian language, published by Kapital can be found at the bottom of this page.

Implementing intellectual property protection is a complex and pressing issue encountering numerous challenges. Effective protection requires international cooperation, the development of comprehensive strategies, regulatory promotion, and increased education. These elements are crucial for enhancing both national and international frameworks to ensure robust protection of intellectual property rights. 

Proper implementation of IPR protection is essential not only to safeguard the individual rights of holders but also to support innovation and creativity. It aids in consumer protection, improves competitiveness, increases employment, and ensures fair and smooth market functioning. Additionally, effective IPR protection stimulates economic growth. 

However, several challenges hinder the effective protection of intellectual property rights, both internationally and in the Republic of North Macedonia. These challenges include outdated national laws, insufficient enforcement mechanisms, lack of public awareness, and inadequate international cooperation. Addressing these issues is vital to fostering a more effective IPR protection system. 

Global Challenges in Protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) 

The abuse of intellectual property IPR has grown proportionately with their importance and prevalence. This has resulted in increased piracy and counterfeiting, causing significant economic losses for industries that invest in research and development, as well as for the creative sector. 

Implementing IPR protection is a significant challenge, particularly because IPR are protected territorially and vary depending on the jurisdiction. This territorial nature complicates IPR protection, especially in the digital market where content can cross borders instantly. Often, IPR protected in one country may not be protected in another, leading to conflicts and problems with effective enforcement. 

The rise of the internet and the expansion of digital technologies, including 3D printing and artificial intelligence, have opened up countless new opportunities for cross-border IPR violations. These advancements make it difficult for rights holders to control the use of their IPR. Additional challenge is related to determining the applicable law and authorized court, especially when violators operate across multiple countries. 

Anastazija Anastasovska Kostovska, Lawyer at Popovski and Partners Law Firm and Member of the AmCham IPR Task Force 

Counterfeiting and piracy pose threats to many industries. Counterfeits are found among various types of goods, including common consumer products (clothing, handbags), business-to-business products (spare parts), and luxury items (watches, jewelry). Globally, it is concerning that many counterfeit products pose serious health, safety, and environmental risks. These include counterfeit pharmaceuticals, foods, cosmetics, toys, medical equipment, and chemicals. 

International implementation of IPR protection requires navigating different legal systems, enforcement mechanisms, evidence gathering, court rulings, damages, and handling counterfeit goods, which vary significantly between countries. Therefore, global cooperation is crucial for effective IPR protection. 

Organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the World Customs Organization (WCO) play key roles in fostering international cooperation. A notable example of collaboration is the Trilateral platform (, which includes the European Patent Office, the Japanese Patent Office, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. These organizations provide valuable international resources for information and support, facilitating the exchange of best practices. 

International agreements, such as the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), aim to establish consistent rules and ensure their practical implementation. However, despite the importance of international and European standards for IPR protection, there are still unresolved issues regarding the efficient and effective implementation of IPR protection due to fragmented regulations. 

National Challenges in Protecting IPR in the Republic of North Macedonia 

In the Republic of North Macedonia, public awareness of IPR protection is at a non-satisfactory level. Many legal entities and individuals are not fully aware of the importance and benefits of IPR protection. Protecting trademarks, patents, industrial designs, and other IP can significantly increase the value of companies and enhance the competitiveness of their products or services. Insufficient knowledge and lack of information often lead to unintentional violations of IPR. For instance, small local companies may use trademarks of international companies that are also protected in North Macedonia, simply because they like the look of the trademark. Such actions may stem from ignorance but can also involve deliberate abuse of well-known trademarks to mislead consumers about the origin and quality of products. 

Another challenge at the national level is the lack of institutional resources and specialized training. Authorities often face resource constraints and insufficient training, making it difficult to handle complex IPR protection cases, especially those involving modern technologies and digital content. Effective IPR protection requires various legal mechanisms in criminal, administrative, and civil law, necessitating continuous training and specialization for all relevant authorities. Moreover, procedures before competent authorities are often lengthy, there is insufficient case law, and there is a lack of experts in the field of IPR. 

Additionally, the existing legal framework poses challenges. The current Law on Industrial Property in the Republic of North Macedonia, adopted in 2009, while providing a good foundation, does not fully address modern technologies and the digital era. As a country aspiring to join the European Union, North Macedonia’s regulation should develop in parallel with EU IP law to provide a functional protection system that supports and encourages creativity, innovation, and trade. It is essential to adopt a national strategy, including specific laws on individual IPR. These legal regulations should be clear, unambiguous, easily understandable, and implementable by all involved parties in IPR protection. 

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