Albania Amends Industrial Property Law

Jul 31 2014 - 14:08

Albania has recently adopted amendments to the Industrial Property Law aiming to reach a level of IP protection similar to that existing in the European Union. The law No. 55/2014 was published in the Official Gazette on June 24, 2014 and entered into force on July 10, 2014.

The law has fully transposed the Directive 98/44/EC on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions, Directive 98/71/EC on the legal protection of designs, Directive 2008/95/EC approximating the laws of the member states relating to trademarks and Directive 2004/48/EC on the enforcement of industrial property rights.

The most important changes are explained below:

Patents

As a member state of the European Patent Convention (EPC), Albania has made the necessary changes to the Industrial Property Law in order to include the EPC requirements. Therefore, the Albanian PTO or any other competent authority, can now accept, as a host office, European patent applications according to the EPC rules and regulations. A European patent application filed with the Albanian PTO will have the same effect as if it had been filed on the same date with the European Patent Office (EPO).

Provisions on legal protection of biotechnological patents have been introduced into the amended law, as well as the provision on compulsory cross licensing concerning these kinds of inventions.

Following Albania’s accession to the London Agreement, the necessary changes have also been made regarding the translation of patents. As of July 10, Albania no longer requires Albanian translation of a European patent if the patent was granted in English or submitted with an English translation for protection in Albania. The translation of European patent claims into Albanian is still required.

Under the amended law, the applicant can convert the European patent application to a national patent application if the application was not forwarded to EPO in due time and is considered withdrawn, if the translation of the application was not filed within the specified period, or if the application has been refused by the EPO following the formal examination.

In case of conflict between the EPC and Albanian IP law provisions, the EPC provisions prevail.

Trademarks

Under the amendments, the PTO is to complete the examination of absolute grounds within three months from the application date. If all the formalities are not completed, the PTO will issue a notification giving the applicant a deadline of additional two months, to file additional documents if needed. The publication of the application will follow after the completion of the above.

The amended law now includes provisions on certification marks, which can be registered according to the rules and regulations set out in the law.

The law now foresees the cancellation of an earlier trademark filed in bad faith, whereas this legal ground was not included in the previous law.

Industrial Designs

The PTO is to complete the examination of absolute grounds within three months starting from the application date. If needed, the PTO will issue a notification for the applicant giving a deadline of additional two months, to file additional documents. The publication of the application will follow after the completion of the above.

The law provides the definition of the principle of automatic protection under copyright law for registered industrial designs. The provision on the protection of unregistered designs has been removed from the Albanian Industrial Property Law.

These changes may lead to more efficient enforcement of IP rights in Albania, which could benefit the right holders and other professionals as well.

Prepared by: Melina Nika

For more information, please contact albania@petosevic.com.

Source: Albanian PTO

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