Concentration of IP cases in Belgrade courts - a step towards specialised IP courts

Serbia

With the enactment of the new Law on Seats and Jurisdictions of the Courts and Public Prosecutor Offices (Official Gazette RS No 101/2013) and the amendments to the Law on the Organisation of the Courts (Official Gazette RS Nos 116/2008, 104/2009, 101/2010, 31/2011, 78/2011, 101/2011 and 101/2013), which came into force on January 1 2014, Serbia has made a step towards the introduction of more specialised IP courts.

Until January 1 2014, IP cases where both parties were undertakings were in the competence of the Commercial Courts (until 2008, the Commercial Courts were called ‘District Commercial Courts’). Where at least one of the parties was an individual, IP cases were in the competence of the High Courts (which were called ‘District Courts’ until 2008). There are currently 16 Commercial Courts and 26 High Courts in Serbia. These courts rule on a wide variety of matters, and judges rarely get an opportunity to specialise in IP matters.  

With the reorganisation of the court system which came into effect on January 1 2014, all IP cases are concentrated in the Commercial Court or the High Court of Belgrade, respectively. Although the Commercial Court and the High Court are not specialised IP courts as such, the concentration of all IP cases in these courts will enable judges to hear a much larger number of IP cases and become more specialised in IP matters over time. This is similar to the situation in Slovenia and Hungary, where all IP cases are in the competence of the courts located in Ljubljana and Budapest, respectively.

IP cases which were instituted before any of the Commercial Courts (or High Courts, respectively) outside of Belgrade, and were still pending on January 1 2014, were transferred to the Commercial Court (or High Court, respectively) in Belgrade. The exceptions are IP cases pending before the Appellate Courts, which will be decided by the courts where the appeals were initially filed.    

The change in the legislation did not affect the organisation of the Administrative Court, which is the body in charge of administrative disputes involving decisions of the Patent and Trademark Office. There is one Administrative Court for the entire territory of Serbia with its seat in Belgrade, and three offices in Kragujevac, Nis and Novi Sad.

Gordana Pavlovic, Cabinet Pavlovic, Belgrade and Brussels

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