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The News in Brief

Friday, January 27
Georgia fights national brands misappropriated in Germany

The head of Sakpatenti (the Georgian National Intellectual Property Centre), Irakli Ghvaladze, announced this week that Georgian wine brands Tsinandali, Kindzmareuli and Khvantchkara have been misappropriated by the Russian company Moscow Wines & Spirits GMBH.

The company registered these names under Germany's patent and product signs office in 2001, the registration of which expired last year.

Sakpatenti hired a German legal firm to file a complaint with the German government, ensuring the removal of any registration of Georgian product names filed on behalf of Moscow Wines & Spirits.

“We were responded to yesterday [by German officals] that Moscow Wines & Spirits will no longer have the right to use Georgian brands,” Ghavaladze said.

For months, Sakpatenti has tried to contact the management of Moscow Wines & Spirits, but received responses only from lawyers, as the company itself changed addresses and contact information frequently. (Interpressnews)

Georgian Defense Minister meets with foreign diplomats

Foreign diplomats visited the Georgian Ministry of Defense Wednesday, where they discussed military education, training, Georgia's relations with NATO, and the ongoing ISAF operation.

Ambassadors, military attaches, and representatives of various organizations attended the meeting held at the Ministry.

Georgian Minister of Defense, Bacho Akhalaia, summed up the results of the past year at the meeting, and discussed his ministry's plans for 2012.

"We have achieved more-or-less serious progress in terms of transformation of the armed forces. Obviously the assistance and consultations we are receiving from our friends at NATO have made a serious contribution to this. We can say that now we are unanimous that we are on the right way and I think this year will be much more successful than the previous ones," the minister said.

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, John Bass, was also pleased with the meeting. "It was a very productive briefing today on the priorities of the Ministry for the coming year, and in fact a couple more years ahead, in terms of both simultaneously strengthening Georgia's defense capabilities but also creating a more modern transparent defense establishment that is thinking ahead, planning appropriately for the threats – potential and actual – that Georgia faces," he remarked. (Rustavi 2)

South Ossetian opposition leader detained in Moscow

A major opposition leader from Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia has been detained by Russia's internal security service. Dzambolat Tedeev was arrested at his apartment, which was also searched by police.

The whereabouts of Tedeev now are uncertain. His family members have said that his mobile phone is turned off.

Russian media report that Tedeev was questioned by representatives of the Russian security service on the request of the Tskhinvali regime.

Tedeev is accused of an attempted coup in South Ossetia. His registration as a presidential candidate was denied by the central election commission, prompting a protest rally held by his supporters.

Tedeev's supporters say his true opponent is not the government in Tskhinvali, but the president's administration in Moscow, which aims to prevent an independent candidate from winning the forthcoming South Ossetian presidential election in March 2012. (Rustavi 2)

Man detained for carrying explosive materials from Abkhazia

Georgian police officers have detained a man attempting to carry explosive materials into Georgia from Abkhazia, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reports.

A press release posted on the Ministry's website claims the man was detained in the vicinity of the Darcheli village police station in the Zugdidi region, on January 25, 2012.

The Ministry hopes to release more details as they are available. (Rustavi 2)

“Law enforcement bodies” violate human rights in South Ossetia

Law enforcement bodies are more likely than any other group to violate human rights in the breakaway region of South Ossetia, Res reports.

A report from South Ossetian presidential representative Davit Sanakoev explains that an analysis of complaints from citizens confirm that law enforcement bodies do not always respect the civil rights or legal interests of the population.

The report was presented at a meeting with de-facto South Ossetian president, Vadim Brovtsev.

Sanakoev informed him that significant problems exist in the court and prison systems.

Citizens lack access to legal service, thanks to a lack of lawyers and other consultants. He also spoke about issues in the fields of socio-economic welfare, healthcare, housing, pensions, and salaries. (Interpressnews)