Montenegro establishes IP office


After months of anticipation, the Montenegro government has adopted a decree which provides for the establishment of a national IP office. The decree, which came into force on May 19 2007, stipulates that the IP Office will start operating within 60 days. The exact date will be published in the Official Gazette of Montenegro. Additional time may be needed to organize the necessary forms and prepare a schedule of official fees before trademark owners can start filing nationally.

Montenegro became a sovereign state on June 3 2006 when the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro was dissolved. It was uncertain at first how this would affect IP rights owners (see Union dissolution may affect trademark rights). Montenegro has since adopted the trademark legislation of the former State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, without any modifications for the time being. Regulations regarding the recognition of national trademarks granted or applied for in the former state union are still under preparation. It is expected that revalidation will be an option, but the cut-off date and deadlines still have to be defined. For international trademarks, the cut-off date is June 3 2006 and the deadline is six months from receipt of the World Intellectual Property Organization notification.

Owners of trademarks registered in Serbia and Montenegro are advised to review their portfolios, select the national trademarks which they may want to revalidate or register in Montenegro, and make sure that they are in possession of key documents such as a copy of the trademark application as filed/published in the former state union and/or a copy of the certificate of registration/renewal as these documents may be needed for revalidation in Montenegro. Trademark owners should also check whether their international registrations designate Montenegro. If not, they should apply for either continuation of effect or for the extension of protection, depending on the date of registration.

Gordana Pavlovic, Cabinet Pavlovic, Belgrade

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