Croatia acquires full EPO membership status. EPC enters into force on January 1, 2008.

Dec 14 2007 - 19:39

Following amendments to the Intellectual Property Laws in Croatia enacted in July 2007, the Croatian Parliament adopted new Regulations amending Regulations on Patents, Trademarks, Industrial Designs, Geographical Indications and Appellations of Origin and Topographies and Semiconductors. The Regulations came into force on November 14, 2007 and were published in the Official Gazette No. 117/07.

On October 31, 2007 the Republic of Croatia has deposited its instrument of accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC) and to the Act revising the EPC of November 29, 2000. Accordingly, the European Patent Convention shall enter into force in Croatia on January 1, 2008. Extension agreement between the Republic of Croatia and the European Patent Organization that is still in force will be terminated when EPC comes into force in Croatia.

European patent applications that are filed on or after January 1, 2008 will include the designation of the new contracting state, HR. However, it will not be possible to designate Croatia retroactively in applications filed before January 1, 2008.

With respect to the PCT system and international applications, any PCT application filed on or after January 1, 2008 will automatically designate Croatia for the purpose of obtaining a European patent (Rule 4.9(a) PCT). However, European patents for Croatia cannot be granted on the basis of international applications with the filing date prior to January 1, 2008. A national patent may be granted assuming that Croatia has been designated in the international application. Moreover, International applications with the designation of Croatia with a filing date prior to January 1, 2008 shall be deemed invalid.

Currently, and in compliance with provisions of Article 103 (2) and (3) concerning extension of European patents to Croatia, the owner of European patent has to submit a full translation of patent specification in Croatian language. By entering into force of the EPC in Croatia, Article 65 of the Convention for the Grant of European Patents will automatically come into force, as well as Article 114 of the Croatian Law Amending the Law on Patents.

The provisions of Article 114 stipulates that the owner of a European patent will have to submit an English translation of patent specification or English translation of the specification and the Croatian translation of patent claims, where patent has been granted in a language of the proceedings other than English. English text of patent specification shall be regarded as authentic in any proceedings in the Republic of Croatia, except in revocations proceeding, where the translations in the Croatian language confers protection narrower in scope than that conferred by the extended European patent in the language of proceedings.

Nonetheless, in case of a dispute relating to the extended European patent, and upon request of the alleged infringer, or the competent court or other judicial authority in the course of legal proceedings, the owner of the European patent will still have to, at his own expense, provide full translation of the specification in the Croatian language (Article 114(3).

For more information please contact Anamarija Stancic at SD PETOSEVIC Croatia.

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