October 14, 2009

On October 14, 2009 the European Commission adopted in Brussels the Progress Report of Serbia in the Stabilization and Association Process for 2009.

The chapter 4.1.7 Intellectual Property Law of the Report states the following:
“Progress has been made in the area of intellectual property rights. The Intellectual Property Office continues to play the role of national coordinator for intellectual property rights and a new management team was appointed. The Intellectual Property Office has started preparations for drafting a national intellectual property rights strategy and establishing an in house education and information centre. Following the changes in the General Administrative Fees Act, the fees of the office have been substantially increased. However, the office is still under the State financing rules and has not yet been established as a financially autonomous agency. No new legislation, notably on optical disks has been adopted.

In relation to industrial property rights, Serbia is preparing for full membership of the European Patent Office. A number of international conventions (including the Vienna Agreement, the Strasbourg Agreement and the Geneva Act) were ratified by parliament in May 2009. No progress has been made on copyrights and related rights in the reporting period. Although Serbia's copyright legislation is largely aligned with the acquis, shortcomings persist, in particular with respect to rental and lending rights.

In the field of enforcement, some progress can be reported. As part of their daily controls, tax inspectors have been taking increasing action against pirated software and databases. Seizures by market inspectors have further improved, thanks to new technical equipment and additional training. The customs administration, although short-staffed, has continued to make progress on enforcing intellectual property rights, both in response to requests by companies and ex officio. For this purpose, an electronic database of customs offences in intellectual property rights matters has been set up. However, the issue of inadequate storage space for counterfeited and pirated goods that infringe copyright and related rights or other industrial property rights has not been addressed. Also, there is still a shortage of judges specialising in this area, which leads to inefficiency in the system for protection of intellectual property rights as a whole.

In general, Serbia’s preparations in the area of intellectual property law are moderately advanced. The legislative alignment required by the SAA is well advanced but administrative capacity and enforcement, especially in relation to training for judges, remain weak. Public awareness-raising activities also need to be sustained in the fight against piracy and counterfeiting. An overall national strategy on intellectual property rights is missing.”