As you may be aware, the former State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (YU) ceased to exist on 3 June 2006 and accordingly, Montenegro became an independent sovereign state on that date. We set out below the developments which have occurred since this dissolution of the former State Union, as well as developments in the related jurisdiction of Kosovo.

MONTENEGRO

Some time ago, the Government of Montenegro adopted a Decree which provided for the establishment of a national Intellectual Property (IP) Office. The Decree came into force on 19 May 2007, and stipulated that the IP Office would start operating within the following 60 days. Nevertheless, the Office is still yet to become functional, and indeed this development is not expected until at least December 2007.

According to the Regulations of the Government of Montenegro, which will be published in the Official Gazette number 61/2007, there will be no need for separate revalidation of national Serbia-Montenegro and/or Serbian Intellectual Property Rights in Montenegro. All national IP rights registered in the Union of Serbia and Montenegro (and in the Republic of Serbia as from 3 June 2006) will be automatically valid in Montenegro if these were registered before the cut-off date, which will be the date of the official inauguration of the Montenegrin Intellectual Property Office. No special revalidation procedure will be required, and the owners of the national Intellectual Property Rights will only be required to maintain their rights in Montenegro once these become due for renewal. Any application for renewal of national Intellectual Property rights filed in Serbia prior to the inauguration of the Montenegrin Intellectual Property Office will be accepted in Montenegro.

However, in respect of any national rights filed in the Union of Serbia and Montenegro (and in the Republic of Serbia as from 3 June 2006) which are not yet registered (i.e. are still in the application stage), a new application will need to be filed in Montenegro, which will retain the original filing/priority date of the application filed in the Union of Serbia and Montenegro (and in the Republic of Serbia as from 3 June 2006). Such rights will continue their examination and registration procedure in Montenegro itself. This applies to all unregistered applications which were filed in the Union of Serbia and Montenegro (before 3 June 2006) and the applications filed in Serbia (between 3 June 2006 and the date of the formal inauguration of the Montenegrin Intellectual Property Office). Applicants must submit proof of the relevant applications, together with all supporting documentation filed with the Serbian Intellectual Property Office, within 6 months from the date of the inauguration of the Intellectual Property Office (whenever that may be).

Particular provisions apply to international trade mark registrations, patents filed under the PCT and EPC procedures, and international design registrations, and we would be pleased to provide further details of these if required.

SERBIA

All national Intellectual Property Rights registered or applied for in Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro and Serbia, continue to be automatically valid in the Republic of Serbia (country code RS) as a successor State.

KOSOVO

Kosovo, although still formally a part of Serbia, has adopted its own Patent Act which entered into force on 21 December 2004. According to this Act, registered IP rights before the Serbia and Montenegro Intellectual Property Office will no longer be valid in the territory of Kosovo once the Kosovo Intellectual Property Office is inaugurated. Therefore, revalidation of Intellectual Property rights registered in Yugoslavia or Serbia and Montenegro will be required in Kosovo, and according to the Patent Act of Kosovo, the deadline for revalidating registered rights from Serbia and Montenegro in Kosovo will be 12 months from the date of inauguration of the Intellectual Property Office there.

We have today been advised that the Kosovo IP office will start functioning on 19 November 2007. From this date, it will be possible to file applications for the revalidation of existing Yugoslavian or Serbia and Montenegrin registrations, and to file new independent applications for trade marks, patents and designs.

The rights eligible for revalidation in Kosovo are all those rights registered in Serbia/Yugoslavia before 19 November 2007. All rights which have been applied for, but not registered, before 19 November 2007 in Serbia must be re-filed in Kosovo in order for the rights to exist there, but such re-applications will maintain the original application dates of the Serbia/Yugoslavia applications.

As mentioned above, the deadline for effecting the revalidation in Kosovo of existing registrations is 12 months starting from 19 November 2007 (i.e. on or before 18 November 2008). In order to revalidate an existing registration in Kosovo, the following documentation is required:



  • Proof of valid right in Serbia/Yugoslavia;
  • Power of Attorney, simply signed.



All former Serbian/Yugoslav rights which are not revalidated during this period will cease to be valid in Kosovo. As from 19 November 2007, Kosovo exists as a separate IP jurisdiction, and all new applications will be treated independently from those in Serbia.

Should you wish to be advised of the costs involved in revalidating existing registrations or filing new applications in Kosovo, or you require any further information or assistance in safeguarding your rights in these jurisdictions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We will update this website as soon as we have any further news.