European Commission commends Serbia's progress in IP area

Serbia

On October 10 2012 the European Commission issued a report on the progress made by Serbia in preparing for EU membership. According to the report, Serbia has made significant progress in the area of intellectual property, especially in harmonising its IP legislation with the EU regulations.

For example, the copyright law was amended in December 2011 to further align it with the EU legislation. The law on optical discs, designed to help combat piracy, was adopted in July 2011 and its implementing legislation in March 2012. The Commission for Copyright and Related Rights has begun to make decisions on compensation where copyright collectives and copyright users have failed to reach an agreement on fees.

Further, the Law on the Protection of Plant Breeders’ Rights was amended in November 2011, which enabled Serbia to begin the process of joining the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. Serbia is expected to become a member by the end of this year. The law on the protection of trade secrets entered into force in October 2011. The new patent law entered into force in January 2012. The law on topography of integrated circuits has yet to be harmonised with the EU legislation.

Some progress has also been made in the field of IP rights enforcement, although better coordination and cooperation among the various institutions in charge of IP protection is needed.

In particular, the Serbian Intellectual Property Office has organised a significant number of training programmes and events over the past 12 months, which addressed the needs of all the key players in IP protection in Serbia.

The Serbian Customs Administration has upgraded the IT infrastructure used for the protection of IP rights. The quantity of counterfeit goods seized in the country has increased. The administrative fee for submitting a request to the customs authorities for the enforcement of IP rights has been waived, which has led to an increase in the number of requests filed.

The problem of inadequate storage space for counterfeit goods has been solved, as the Market Inspectorate has acquired 12 warehouses across Serbia. The number of goods that the Market Inspectorate seized in the first half of 2012 was significantly higher compared to 2011.

Finally, the report notes that the law on the organisation of the courts needs to be amended to enable the concentration of IP cases in a smaller number of courts and to ensure the specialisation of the prosecutors, judges and court panels handling IP cases. The report also points out that a solution for the long-term financial sustainability of the Intellectual Property Office has not yet been found.

Jelena Jankovic, PETOŠEVIC, Belgrade

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