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Serbia Amends Trademark Law, Parallel Import Prohibited

Feb 27 2013 - 12:52

The amendments to the Serbian trademark law were published in the Official Gazette No. 10/2013 on January 30, 2013 and came into force on February 7, 2013.

The most significant novelty is that parallel import is no longer allowed in Serbia. Namely, the previous law prescribed that trademark holders cannot oppose the use of their trademarks in connection with goods marked with such trademarks and placed into commerce anywhere in the world by the trademark holder or other person authorized by the holder. Under the amended law, the previous system of international exhaustion of rights has been substituted with a system of national exhaustion of rights, whereas now the holders cannot oppose the use of their marks with respect to goods bearing such marks and placed on the Serbian market by the holder or other person authorized by the holder. In addition, trademark holders cannot oppose the goods in transit.

Most amendments primarily aim to eliminate certain terminology shortcomings and thus ensure more accurate interpretation and effective implementation of the Law on Trademarks.

In addition, the amendments aim to harmonize Serbian regulations with the corresponding EU legislation, namely the European Directive 2004/48/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights and the Directive 2008/95/EC to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks.

The newly amended Article 4 further refines the definition of a trademark in a way that it specifically includes two conditions that must be fulfilled simultaneously. Namely, the sign must be capable of being represented graphically and of distinguishing the goods or services in trade; therefore Article 4 has been completely harmonized with the Article 2 of the Directive 2008/95/EC.

The compliance with the above article has also been included as an additional ground for refusal within Article 5 of the trademark law.

The wording of the provisions prescribing which marks are excluded from protection has been changed to correspond to the provisions of the Directive 2008/95/EC.

According to the amended law, foreign residents no longer have to be represented before the PTO by attorneys at law or patent and trademark representatives. This obligation still stands for the non-resident foreign individuals and entities.

The previous law explicitly prescribed that an exclusive licensee is entitled to sue for the infringement. Now, this right has been granted to all licensees (exclusive and non-exclusive), unless otherwise prescribed by the license agreement.

Lastly, the right of information has been explicitly extended to the persons other than infringers in accordance to the corresponding provisions of the Directive 2004/48/EC.

By: Predrag Anokic

For more information, please contact Predrag Anokic at our Balkan Regional Office.

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