Focus on Intellectual Property – Republic of SERBIA

Capital – Belgrade

Population – nearly 7 million (excluding the hotly contested region of Kosovo)

GDP per capita – $22,900

Main sectors of activity – agriculture, in particular fruit growing (blueberries and raspberries in particular) and their export; the metallurgical industry and, in recent years, the emphasis has been on tourism and the export of IT sector services.

Interesting and Distinctive Information in IP Regulation

• The tradition of industrial property protection in Serbia has been going on for more than a century. The Kingdom of Serbia was one of the 11 states that founded the Paris Union by signing the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1883.

• Serbia is also a contracting party and member of other international organizations and agreements: WIPO, PCT, TRIPS agreement, Nice agreement on the international classification of goods and services, Madrid agreement on the international registration of marks, acceptance convention of the EU Patent, Hague Agreement on the International Registration of Industrial Designs…

• The IPO, created in 1920, does not in 2020, included the institution of objectionsbut retained the right to consider applications on relative grounds of refusal, before publication, after which oppositions can be formed.

• When prior trademark rights blocking the registration of your trademark are cited by the IPO – possibility of obtaining a Letter of consent is realistic, something that does not present itself in other jurisdictions as a viable solution.

Consent letters should always be provided on company letterhead and accompanied by the company seal/stamp.

They are very effective, except when they collide with the next point.

• The IPO rejects the coexistence of identical brands – even when owned by the same entity/related entity.

Trademarks consisting of a single color are considered inherently non-distinctivethus, in order to protect them, the owner must prove that the distinctive character has been obtained through prior use and that the color is not functional (in relation to the protected goods/services)

• Trademarks can be renewed no earlier than 6 months from the renewal deadline, and the grace period is also 6 months.

• Renewal certificates are not issued automatically – they must be requested and paid for separately.

• Decisions of the IPO are final and can only be challenged before the Administrative Court.

• SPC protection is available, you can find out more here.

• Patent annuities can be paid 3 months before the deadline and the grace period is the usual 6 months.

• When filing a design or model application, it must contain written description of the design, which is not common elsewhere, it is something that is more often the responsibility of the local agent to prepare.

The renewal of the drawings falls every 5 yearswhich is a change from 7 years ago when the payment for the first 5 years was part of the registration cost payment, after which payments were made every year, just like in patent cases.

About Eleanor Blackburn

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