Al Monitor recently published an interesting piece on brand integrity in Iran. The article focuses partially on misconceptions related to brand integrity and representation in Iran and partially on the possibilities inherent when and if existing commercial obstacles facing US companies are removed. A number of popular US businesses and fast food chains have been emulated by Iranian entrepreneurs with varying degrees of success.
An Iranian entrepreneur who founded a Baskin-Robbins imitation was ordered to close all five branches of his company’s thriving business after he was found to have derived his profit from an existing international copyright and brand. An Iranian attorney instrumental in shuttering the business sought to clarify following the resolution the status of brand integrity in Iran. Specifically, he pointed to the fact that Iran is a signatory to world intellectual property treaties including the Madrid Protocol, as well as a member of IP standard bearer the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Additionally, the requirements for filing a trademark infringement suit are reportedly comparable to those of “most any other country” in that a disputing firm must present the requisite documentation and lodge a complaint with an Iranian court. The success of the suits has varied, however, as in the case of Yum! Brands, which has unsuccessfully sued a number of imitation Iranian restaurants over the past several years.
Sources in Tehran have indicated that recent efforts made by international firms to protect their brands portend a future push to enter the Iranian market. More than $3 billion in FDI inflows are expected in 2016-2017 although given the significant lack of sanctions relief for US firms it is still unlikely that many will establish a presence in Iran.
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- Vice published another interesting piece on the black market of nuclear materials in Moldova. The article cites Moldovan court documents showing that highly-enriched uranium was shopped around in Chisinau on at least four occasions over the past four years. The samples of uranium also reportedly share a common provenance: a restricted Russian military installation, and were most recently in the possession of a former Moldovan law enforcement official. There have been seven detentions made but those close to the case indicate that they are mostly junior operatives and that the head of the operation, reportedly a Russian, is still at large.
- Kazakhstan announced the completion of Central Asia’s largest transport and logistics center. The new station is located in Astana and includes new climate-controlled storage infrastructure sophisticated scheduling and logistics infrastructure that will, according to Kazakh sources, enable the handling of around a million tons of cargo per year. New infrastructure will also be built in several other major Kazakh cities including Almaty, Atyrau and Semey
- Tajik and Pakistani officials convened on Thursday to reinforce defense, energy and trade ties in Islamabad. Aside from rhetoric, the officials announced that they would sign seven new cooperation agreements that will strength the ties between the two countries. The two sides already signed a new “made in Pakistan” trade agreement in October whereby Tajik imports of Pakistani equipment will increase, and bilateral trade is expected to increase from $15 million to more than $500 million.
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