Serbia

The main talking point in the Serbian IP community is the new Trademark Law, which transposes the EU Trademark Directive into national law and has introduced some significant amendments. They include the introduction of opposition proceedings in combination with ex officio examinations on absolute and relative grounds, which has sparked debate among local practitioners. Some insist that the changes are relatively minor; others are more apprehensive and have reserved judgement until they see the new regime in action. Enforcement is another hot topic: there has been a surge in social media use, so brand owners are reminded to stay vigilant both online and in physical marketplaces. Serbian customs authorities are also doing their part in the fight against fakes: for example, smaller consignments of goods seized at state borders can now be destroyed automatically. Rights holders have also been requested to provide more information to officials, including images and other identifiers, to ensure that processes remain quick and efficient.

Firms

Andrej Prekajski Law Office

Making its debut in the WTR 1000 this year on the back of glowing feedback, commercial firm Prekajski Law Office “deserves the finest recommendations. Its diligent and experienced IP lawyers provide the best service, and at an affordable price point”. Lately, the ensemble has brought home stellar results in anti-counterfeiting and enforcement proceedings for prominent companies in the fashion industry, but it is equally adroit at registering rights too. Founder and consummate litigator Andrej Prekajski is “quick on his feet and always one step ahead. He gets to the essence of each problem, provides valuable solutions and is great to work with”.

Karanovic & Partners

Business law firm Karanovic & Partners has been building up its trademark department over the past year, bringing several new attorneys and senior partners into the fold. These distinguished practitioners work in collaboration with 100 colleagues across Southeast Europe to provide rights owners with cast-iron protection; for example, they manage registrations and customs proceedings for Philip Morris, and run Balkan anti-counterfeiting operations for Colgate. Team captain Nikola Kliska, “is knowledgeable and highly skilled, with a great reputation in the community. The professional and talented lawyer, has an extremely bright future”. The senior associate joined the firm in late 2019 and now serves as head of intellectual property as well as having been appointed to INTA’s non-traditional marks committee.

Law Office Miroslav Stojanović in cooperation with Wolf Theiss

Law Office Miroslav Stojanović boasts outstanding local expertise, while a cooperation with regional titan Wolf Theiss gives it the necessary resources to handle multi-jurisdictional mandates with finesse. Of late, it has been busy registering marks for Cineplexx International in Serbia and Montenegro, and transferring rights in accordance with national and US regulations for Drilling Info, which recently rebranded as Enverus. Both matters were adroitly handled by Nataša Lalović Marić, whose corporate law background enhances her ability to assist clients in achieving their business objectives.

Mikijelj Janković & Bogdanović 

“One of the best IP firms in the country, Mikijelj Janković & Bogdanović counsels efficiently, stays flexible in its approach and always tries to find the best possible solutions for clients. It also stays on top of the latest legal developments – not only in Europe, but worldwide.” The side has cultivated a vast network of associates to effectively tackle both inbound and outbound work at a regional level. It has recently assisted a high-end luxury watch manufacturer with all its branding needs and represented GUESS in infringement and anti-counterfeiting proceedings. Co-captains Dejan Bogdanović and Mara Janković set a high standard in terms of quality and service. “A true IP master and one of the foremost trademark experts in Serbia, Dejan skilfully navigates the legal landscape and has the experience to overcome any obstacle. He approaches things practically, sets reasonable expectations and always gets positive outcomes.” Deftly traversing the contentious/non-contentious divide, Jankovic is “technically excellent, responsive and super-personable”. She is a domain name disputes arbitrator with the Committee for the Resolution of Disputes Relating to the Registration of National Internet Domains.

MSA IP - Milojevic, Sekulic and Associates 

“MSA IP stands out for its practical, business-oriented style, as well as its specialised brand protection expertise. It consistently invests in its infrastructure, provides superb technical support in filing matters and tailors its advice to the specifics of each country in cross-border enforcement.” The firm wins warm plaudits for its “reliability, dynamism and clear guidance. It never backs down from a challenge and always finds optimum solutions”. Milan Milojevic and Vuk Sekulic oversee the prosecution and litigation practices respectively; the former has a focus on the pharmaceutical industry, while the latter conducted a staggering 56 seizures for Gucci in 12 months alone. “Milan combines all the positive traits expected of a senior professional: strategic savvy, planning ability and vision, as well as an exceptional attitude and remarkable communication skills. Vuk has a great commercial approach and longstanding experience, and is flexible, goal oriented and open minded.” Joining them in the guide this year are Mirjana Šarić and Vera Davidović. Šarić leads the oppositions and cancellations group and is a former head of the trademarks department at the Serbian trademark office. All-rounder Davidović is “a meticulous lawyer who asks all the right questions to decide on the best course of action in a conflict. She readily makes herself available, replies quickly and is extremely trustworthy”.

Patent & Trade Mark Agency Mihailovic 

“PTMA Mihailovic impresses with its on-point strategies, efficient execution of instructions and concise replies.” Dispensing holistic guidance across the Balkans for more than 80 years, the firm has won a loyal following of household names, including French luxury brand Chloé and Pernod Ricard subsidiary Irish Distillers Limited. In the words of one foreign associate: “Having worked with the firm for over 30 years, it consistently provides an excellent, accurate and timely service.” Epitomising these qualities is Mila Mihailovic, “a charming and kind lawyer with a great legal background. She is enthusiastic and full of ideas, and brings great energy to the practice”.

PETOŠEVIĆ

“Well networked and super-thorough, PETOŠEVIĆ has impressive manpower, covers a lot of ground and always comes out on top. It listens to clients intently and has the structure to tackle any challenge in a modern, cost-effective way.” The group takes its cue from regional manager and “excellent leader” Mihajlo Zatezalo, who capitalises on two decades in the game when navigating complex litigation and enforcement matters. Next in line is Mirjana Živković, who ensures everything at the local office runs smoothly. She manages portfolios and protects rights for multinational corporations in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries. Chief operations officer Predrag Anokić is “super-dedicated to clients and finds the best and most efficient ways forward”. Like Živković, he maintains a comprehensive practice, but is best known for his prosecution proficiency. “Charismatic, bright and super-professional”, Slobodan Petošević is a pillar of the trademark community and a vital sounding board at the firm.

POPOVIC POPOVIC & PARTNERS 

“A reliable and trusted partner for trademark cases, Popović Popović & Partners is a longstanding and well-reputed player in Serbia.” Founded in 1933, the firm has masterminded numerous precedent-setting wins and is thus an astute choice for dispute resolution briefs. It also has a strong footing in the commercial space and is frequently called upon to get IP-rich deals across the line. Seasoned litigator Katarina Kostic has 30-plus years of experience under her belt and is highly rated for her advocacy skills.

Zivko Mijatovic & Partners 

“A modern, customer-centric firm with an excellent team of lawyers, ZMP is exceptionally committed to clients. Although big in size, the level of coordination between its various offices is impeccable and brings about successful results.” Patrons also value its “professional and pragmatic advice, prompt answers and reasonable fees”, as well as its “stimulating and engaging work environment”. The ensemble offers 360-degree services across 15 countries, but its customs package is a special USP, with customs applications, seizures and destructions all taken care of through a single point of contact. Anchoring the practice locally is Vladimir Marenović, who is “highly appreciated for his practicality and long-term vision, which provides clients with a strategy rather than just simple advice. Utterly reliable and creative in his approach, Vladimir delivers the best possible solutions in complicated and uncertain scenarios”. An eminent figure not only in Serbia, but also internationally, Djura Mijatovic oversees the whole ZMP network in Europe and has turned it into the outstanding firm it is today. On the prosecution side, Ivana Bajić holds down the fort and is a key contact for portfolio management.

Other recommended experts

Operating out of Cosovic Mitrovic & Associates, attorney at law Dragoljub Ćosović is “quick on his feet and gives really clear advice. He has great practical knowledge and is vastly experienced and very easy to talk to”. A newcomer to the WTR 1000 this year, Vesna Gakovic Andjelic “is absolutely brilliant in the field of intellectual property. She excels in prosecution and negotiates contracts superbly. On top of that, she is really personable too”. “Super-experienced, skilled and responsive”, is the verdict on Bogdan Ivanišević, a driven attorney who is building up the IP practice at BDK Advokati. His understanding of media law, data protection and privacy makes for well-rounded, sophisticated counsel. A discerning choice for complex prosecution and enforcement briefs, Relja Mirkov has an encyclopaedic grasp of regional laws and policies. He recently departed Karanovic & Partners to set up his own boutique.

Individuals