It has been two years since Croatia implemented the EU Trademark Directive into national law and practitioners have seen plenty of exciting developments as a result. For example, the implementation of a visual search facility, which allows companies to upload an image to search for visually similar marks, has proved particularly helpful for brand owners looking to make moves in the country. The momentum gained through these legal revisions has prompted further amendments, such as a new patent act and a draft copyright act – all with a view to harmonising local laws with European standards. Overall, Croatia has established a fruitful environment for rights holders keen to enter the market and increased competition among lawyers for their custom. To reflect the changes, WTR has introduced a Highly Recommended banding in the individual rankings this year.
- Vukmir & Associates
- Zivko Mijatovic & Partners
- Dennemeyer – The IP Group
- DIVJAK TOPIĆ BAHTIJAREVIĆ & KRKA
- Hraste & Partners
Dennemeyer – The IP Group
Perfectly equipped to handle multi-jurisdictional briefs, Dennemeyer & Associates has built up a truly global practice, with offices on every continent. Leveraging on its intimate knowledge of trademark processes internationally and cutting-edge IP management software DIAMS iQ, it ensures that patrons receive joined-up advice across the trademark lifecycle. Overseeing things locally and in the Western Balkans is Tomislav Hadzija. The prosecution ace receives praise for his “fantastic trademark knowledge, quick thinking, reliability and personal approach”.
DIVJAK TOPIĆ BAHTIJAREVIĆ & KRKA
“Having worked with DIVJAK TOPIĆ BAHTIJAREVIĆ & KRKA for over a decade, I only have words of praise for its legal expertise and immense industry knowledge,” enthuses one foreign associate. The business law firm has provided comprehensive branding services to a swathe of domestic and international clients for over 25 years. Its holistic approach is attracting a growing volume of instructions, particularly in the licensing space – which ties into its recent rebrand, with commercial lawyer Mario Krka now featuring as a new name partner. Heading the IP and technology, media and telecommunications division, Olena Manuilenko is “one of the top trademark practitioners in the country. She thinks outside the box and is super-approachable and pleasant to work with”. Sava Insurance Group and Heineken Hrvatska have recently sought out her counsel.
Hraste & Partners
Taking advantage of its lean structure and four decades at the coalface, Hraste & Partners provides fast, incisive, cost-effective advice. Its “pragmatic and results-driven team” boasts fluency in five languages, including German and Italian – an added bonus for international players. The set takes its cue from Silvije Hraste, “a personable and highly experienced litigator”.
With boots on the ground in 17 countries and a finely cultivated network of foreign associates in a further 15, PETOŠEVIĆ serves brand owners across Eastern Europe and the Balkans with ease and efficiency. The Croatian ensemble is also a repository of trust for many international law firms seeking deep local insight in opposition proceedings and anti-counterfeiting mandates. Leading the charge is Ivan Kos, who ascends to the highly recommended tier this year on a wave of praise. “His thoroughness, speed and precision are highly appreciated, while the clarity and completeness of his reports are crucial to the successful outcome of a case.” Colleague Anamarija Stančić Petrović has pharmaceutical know-how in abundance and is now the side’s Brussels representative, where she regularly appears before the Benelux IP office and the EUIPO.
Vukmir & Associates
“One of the country’s leading IP firms”, Vukmir & Associates has made a name for itself in the entertainment and software industries through the bespoke prosecution and enforcement plans it crafts. It is a favourite among global and Fortune 500 companies, although much recent work has focused on assisting Croatian players with international expansion. “Brilliant and deeply experienced” department lead Carla Biancotti translates her insight into the workings of the EPO into easily executable filing strategies that also fly in the trademark world. Ivan Ćuk has recently carved out a niche in the agricultural sector, securing valuable geographical indications and denominations of origin for independent farmers and relevant associations. Deftly traversing the contentious/non-contentious divide is the “proficient and reliable” Aleksandar Bijelić, who has all the answers when problems arise in ancillary areas, such as data protection and unfair competition law. The revered boutique would not be where it is today without the hard graft of Mladen Vukmir: “An outstanding attorney with profound legal knowledge, he is more than deserving of his status as Croatia’s leading IP expert.”
“For prosecution and brand enforcement matters, and counterfeiting scenarios in particular, Živko Mijatovic & Partners is a fantastic firm to work with. The team is always responsive, reliable and efficient”; its ability to draw on the firm’s wider resources is an added plus. The Croatian set distinguishes itself from its counterparts through its capabilities in the virtual space, thanks to its relentless pursuit of cybersquatters, spammers and other online infringers. Backbone of the practice Ivana Šarlija capitalises on a previous stint as a state trademark examiner to ensure that all applications which cross her desks go straight through to grant. She also provides regular training to customs officers, informed by her expansive knowledge of regional legislation and position as operational lead for the firm’s anti-counterfeiting division. On the contentious front, Luka Jelčić tackles disputes with pin-point precision. A popular choice among pharmaceutical companies, this proactive professional always keeps clients’ commercial interests front of mind.
Other recommended expertsAn accomplished lawyer with “vast experience and in-depth knowledge of intellectual property”, Albina Dlačić is a whizz when it comes to technology and computer-related industries. She works out of her eponymous boutique Dlačić Law Offices. A founding member of the Croatian Chamber of Patent and Trademark Representatives, Dina Korper Žemva of Korper & Partneri has over 40 years in the game and dedicates much of her time to educating the country’s future professionals. Mirela Rakocija heads the trademark department at Tana Intellectual Property; she excels in multi-jurisdictional disputes and is well connected throughout the region. “Quick, trustworthy and bright”, Sanja Vukina smoothly brokers complex licensing agreements out of her firm Vukina & Partners.
- Ivan Kos - PETOŠEVIĆ
- Ivana Šarlija - ZMP IP doo
- Mladen Vukmir - Vukmir & Associates
- Carla Biancotti - Vukmir & Associates
- Aleksandar Bijelic - Vukmir & Associates
- Ivan Cuk - Vukmir & Associates
- Albina Dlačić - Dlačić Law Offices
- Tomislav Hadzija - Dennemeyer & Associates
- Silvije Hraste - Hraste & Partners
- Luka Jelčić - ZMP IP d oo
- Dina Korper Žemva - Korper & Partneri
- Olena Manuilenko - DIVJAK TOPIĆ BAHTIJAREVIĆ & KRKA
- Mirela Rakocija - Tana Intellectual Property
- Anamarija Stancic Petrovic - PETOŠEVIĆ
- Sanja Vukina - Law firm Vukina & Partners Ltd