Serbia

The Serbian economy is faring well and investment is steadily coming in. Propelled by this, the country’s brand owners are becoming increasingly wise to IP concerns and the need to protect their trademark rights and enforce them – a task made easier by the proactivity of customs authorities. In early 2019 the Supreme Court of Cassation issued a decision authorising rights holders to prohibit the transit of IP-infringing goods through Serbia, which has caused a flurry of activity in the IP space.

Firms

Karanovic & Partners

Karanovic & Partners’ unique selling point is its “swift and efficient management of IP portfolios across the Balkan region”. The firm is a repository of trust for marquee brand owners looking for a seamless international commercial service. Colgate-Palmolive and Philip Morris Products, for example, rely on Relja Mirkov for far-reaching trademark protection and enforcement; he is hailed as a “fantastic prosecution strategist” who is “super reliable and great to work with”. One client proclaims that “Relja’s knowledge of regional laws and practices and his linguistic ability ensure that his work is always excellent and his cross-border coordination superb”. Senior Associate Nikola Kliska is a new face at the firm, having recently made the switch from ZMP. He brings extensive online enforcement expertise to the practice.

Law Office Miroslav Stojanović in cooperation with Wolf Theiss

Thanks to its association with Wolf Theiss, Law Office Miroslav Stojanović is well positioned to handle multi-jurisdictional trademark briefs and offers top-notch legal support underpinned by extensive industry knowledge. Efficient in its handling of routine IP tasks, the set is just as comfortable giving nuanced strategic counsel concerning, for example, non-traditional trademark protection and litigating cross-border infringement cases. Taking the reins is Nataša Lalović Marić, an experienced commercial and IP lawyer with a business-appropriate solution ready for all occasions. Her recent work highlights include advising Gazprom Neft subsidiary Naftna Industrija Srbija on trademark prosecution and infringement matters and registering marks for McArthurGlen Europe.

Mikijelj Janković & Bogdanović 

“The first choice for trademark work in Serbia” is the verdict on well-established firm MJB. Belgrade-based but active across the Balkan region via a carefully selected and cultivated network of correspondents, the firm manages large IP portfolios with a deft touch and expertly handles litigation and enforcement matters for prestigious companies, including one of the top Swiss watch brands. The designer of the ensemble’s tailored service is Dejan Bogdanović, a “renowned litigator known for his work on landmark cases”. One client enthuses that “Dejan is easy to work with, responsive and concise, and an extremely knowledgeable lawyer with an outstanding overview of the legal landscape in Serbia and abroad.” Joining him in the WTR 1000 this year is Mara Janković, who also garners praise from the market: “Mara is a tremendous professional who delivers work of the highest quality standard.” She stays up to date on trademark law developments through her INTA committee work and other extra-curricular engagements.

MSA IP

Established in 2012, MSA IP is a “young and dynamic outfit that does sterling work in intellectual property”. “In a relatively short time, it has become a significant player in the country, excelling in technology-related matters.” Co-founders Milan Milojevic and Vuk Sekulic “work together perfectly” and shine when there are complex legal knots to untie, commercial objectives to secure and infringers to put to rights. “Milan is a brilliant manager who is great with clients,” while “Vuk is a top litigator whose performances in the courtroom are exemplary – when he shoots, he never misses”. They run a vibrant patent, trademark and design prosecution and litigation practice encompassing nine countries in the region.

PETOŠEVIĆ

“PETOŠEVIĆ is a top IP firm in Serbia. Stable and consistent in the practice, its professionals produce faultless work and show excellent strategic vision. They dive deep into cases and discover the most cost-effective solutions to problems, keeping clients updated no more or no less than is required.” Attesting to the depth of the local team, the firm has four individuals listed in the WTR 1000 Serbia chapter – more than any other firm. The first name on the team sheet is Regional Manager Mihajlo Zatezalo, an “efficient, reliable partner with a complete understanding of what his clients need”. Zatezalo has 20 years’ experience on his CV, which he leverages in full to expertly navigate his clients through complex cross-border matters. Then there is Predrag Anokić, a “highly skilled trademark disputes expert who is responsive and flexible in his approach to representation”. “Predrag is excellent at modulating his advice based on the precise nature of the challenges that his clients face.” On the portfolio management side, the star is Mirjana Živković, a trusted confidante of multinationals in the pharmaceutical, automotive, food and fashion sectors. “Intelligent, charming, energetic and a total professional,” founder and CEO of the firm Slobodan Petošević is the organisation’s top strategist.

POPOVIC POPOVIC & PARTNERS 

One of the market’s longest-serving law firms, POPOVIC POPOVIC & PARTNERS has witnessed much change but always stayed the course as a business. Its adaptability and tenacity translates well into it trademark practice – it does not let anything get in the way of protecting and enforcing clients’ rights and building successful brands. Best known for her litigation and dispute resolution prowess, Katarina Kostic is a key contact. She has been in the practice for nearly three decades and knows how to handle every contingency in complex infringement cases and anti-counterfeiting matters.

Zivko Mijatovic & Partners 

“Second to none in Serbia,” ZMP provides “an outstanding level of service”. One look at its market-leading anti-counterfeiting practice confirms this; the international outfit is a master builder of customised cross-border enforcement programmes and plays an essential role in preventing the passage of counterfeit goods into the European Union via Balkan routes. Clients love its customs package, by which a single point of contact at the firm takes care of everything – customs applications, seizures and destructions. On the frontlines of the practice is leader of the Belgrade legal division Vladimir Marenović, an enforcement ace who receives enthusiastic praise from the market. Vladimir’s business-oriented approach and ability to see beyond the bounds of the case is most impressive. “He has a keen strategic eye and gives precise, practical and creative advice that secures the best possible outcomes for his clients. The service he provides is effective and encouraging – it is a pleasure to work with an inspiring and exceptional practitioner who has a genuine enthusiasm for intellectual property.” Djura Mijatovic is also a central figure on the local scene, although his role is to supervise ZMP’s entire international practice; he has made the firm into a technically sophisticated and efficient operation. A good local contact for prosecution and portfolio matters is Ivana Bajić.

Other recommended experts

BDK Advokati’s Bogdan Ivanišević is well rounded, possessing deep knowledge of IP, media and entertainment, data protection and privacy law. He is also an expert in the life sciences. A frequent writer on important IP and other legal topics, he is a current thinker who can be relied on for a good steer. “Mila Mihailovic is a safe pair of hands for trademark filings and opposition proceedings. She is skilled, swift and gets straight to the point in her advice – she is a joy to work with.” You can find her at Patent & Trade Mark Agency Mihailovic. Andrej Prekajski practises not just in trademarks but in many areas and stands out for his international commercial expertise. Extremely well networked, he succeeds for his clients wherever they are pursuing brand protection and business goals. He runs his own eponymous law firm.

Individuals