Roundtable: The impact of the Prespa Agreement on commercial names, trademarks and brands

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On December 10, 2019, in the premises of the Economic Chamber of Macedonia, EUROTHINK – Center for European Strategies organised a roundtable on the impact of the Prespa Agreement on commercial names, trademarks and brands containing the term “Macedonia”.

In view of the specifics of the matter, in June 2019 The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia appointed a co-chair and members of the Macedonian side of the International Group of Experts, which should serve as a bridge between the political elites of the two countries at the highest levels and the business communities. The guest speaker at the roundtable was Prof. Dr. Giorgi Filipov, co-chairman of the group. Other representatives of the International Group, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, chambers of commerce, civil society organizations and journalists also attended the event.

During the event, it was noted that discussions on “commercial names, trademarks and brands” differ from the discussions on textbooks, cultural heritage and interpretations of historical events, conducted by other committees formed in line with the agreements with neighboring Bulgaria and Greece. In this case, these are industrial property rights, which are essentially “private property” rights of legal entities and individuals from both countries. Hence the inevitable involvement of the business communities (ie, the chambers of commerce) of the two countries as representatives of the privately owned companies.

The aim of the roundtable was to enable dialogue among all stakeholders, as well as to empower them s for an informed public discussion on the next steps in finding acceptable solutions for the use of commercial names, trademarks and brands containing the term “Macedonia” internationally.

This roundtable was organized within the project “Harmonizing bilateral relations between North Macedonia and Greece through monitoring of the implementation of the Prespa Agreement (part of SYMPHONY – Program for Rapprochement between North Macedonia and Greece), financed by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, with support from the Embassy of Canada in Belgrade, and implemented by EUROTHINK.

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