Kosovo: End of Summer Update
Over the summer a much anticipated law on trademarks was finally promulgated by the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN. The new law came into force in Kosovo on June 28, 2006.
The law, although in compliance with most international norms and standards, does not provide for any sunrise period or the possibility of any revalidation of Serbian trademark registrations, as expected.
A Patent and Trademark Office has yet to be established in this province which is seeking full independence from Serbia but which already functions as an independent state.
In the meantime, we advise our clients to ensure that they have valid applications and registrations in the surrounding countries of Macedonia and Albania. Unlike Serbia, these two countries have close ties with Kosovo and it is possible that Kosovo will allow for revalidation of registrations that are valid in these two countries once the Patent and Trademark Office is opened.
In addition, it is important to note that it is already possible to enforce IP rights in Kosovo and that a few enforcement cases are underway. The legal basis for enforcement may vary from case to case but enforcement is nonetheless possible.
Lastly, we have reviewed the draft of the Kosovo Customs Regulations. One of the more interesting parts of the draft is the definition of “counterfeit”. According to the draft, counterfeits include goods bearing trademarks identical to a trademark validly registered in “any country”. This means that the enforcement of these regulations would not be dependant on the establishment of a working PTO in Kosovo.
The future of the province, which is seeking full independence from Serbia, is still set to be determined by the end of 2006.