Amended Croatian IP Laws Enter into Force

Mar 17 2009 - 15:12

Several amended intellectual property laws entered into force in Croatia on March 17, 2009:

  1. The Amended Law on Patents
  2. The Amended Law on Trademarks
  3. The Amended Law on Industrial Designs
  4. The Amended Law on Geographical Indications, Topographies and Semiconductors
  5. The Amended Law on Administrative Fees

The most important change introduced by the Amended Law on Patents concerns the procedure for extension and validation of European patents under the London Agreement.

According to Article 17, all European patents and extended European patents registered after May 1, 2008 and published in the official gazette of the European Patent Office (EPO) will be regulated by Article 65 of the European Patent Convention (EPC), regardless of whether they were granted following an opposition and/or appeal proceeding.

In other words, when the Amended Law on Patents enters into force, applicants for (extended) European patents do not have to submit the full patent text translation into Croatian, but only the translation of patent claims.

The main changes introduced by the Amended Laws on Trademarks and Industrial Designs concern absolute and relative grounds for refusal, continuation of proceedings, international trademark/design registrations, and Community trademarks/designs.

According to the Amended Law on Trademarks, a trademark can be rejected on absolute grounds if it is “devoid of any distinctive character”, or if there exists an earlier registered geographical indication and indication of origin.

A trademark can be rejected on relative grounds if a representative or agent files the application, and if the interested party claims bad faith.

The Amended Laws on Trademarks and Industrial Designs no longer contain the provision that enabled interested parties to prevent the use of a Community trademark/design in Croatia by initiating a court proceeding in cases when a trademark/industrial design could not be rejected on absolute grounds.

Both amended laws introduce extensions to enable applicants or IP right holders to re-establish their right should they have missed applicable deadlines. The request may be filed no later than two months after the party learned about the missed deadline.

The Amended Law on Industrial Designs also extends the deadline for submitting a response to the rejection of international design registration. The deadline was extended from 60 days to four months following the official date of notification.

For more information, please contact Anamarija Stancic Petrovic or Ivan Kos in our Croatia Office.

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