What is intellectual property?

Main purpose of intellectual property rights is stimulation of innovations and creativity through enabling that the inventors, authors and other creators of intellectual property may get just reward for their work and that they can live from the results of their work, and also may protect investments in the reputation of their brand.

Intellectual property rights enable their holders to prevent others to copy or use their protected rights without permission. Intellectual property rights provide the possibility of exclusive use and their holders can generate income through the remuneration for the sale or use of their intellectual property by other persons. This income can help fund other research and development and thus support the company’s growth. This form of economic security stimulates companies and researchers to invest in the development of innovations, other creations and branding of products and services, from which both society and our natural environment can benefit.

The term intellectual property in the broader sense implies different creations of the human mind. Certain forms of intellectual property can protect those creations and innovations that fulfill conditions prescribed by the laws.


Protect intellectual property

Can I protect the idea itself?

Idea, as such, can not be protected by intellectual property rights, but you can protect the expression of that idea in a certain form. If the expression of your idea represents a distinctive sign, logo, new technical solution, new image of the product, computer program, original work of fine art or some other work, then you should have benefit from them. Consider protection of your innovations and creations by some forms of industrial property rights such as patents, trademarks or industrial design, which offer the best protection against possible infringement. If your product is recognizable due to the traditional manner of production, conditioned by the geographical area from which it originates, maybe that product is suitable for protection or use as the already registered Indication of Geographical Origin, collective right that can be used by all those that fulfill the prescribed conditions. Check if the copyright secures protection for your original intellectual creation.

If you do not recognize which right is relevant for the protection of your idea or creation, expressed in a certain form, read the following explanations.

How shall I protect the sign or logo, which I use to mark the product or service?

If you have created or if you already use the distinctive sign (name, logo or some other sign), to make you recognizable by your consumers or users of services on the market, and if you wish that sign to be the basis for “branding”, then the relevant right for the protection of that sign is trademark. Only if you have registered trademark you can prevent others to use identical or similar sign in trade, for marking the same or similar goods and/or services. More about the conditions and protection procedure of a sign by a trademark can be seen in the section Trademarks.

One of the oldest well-known domestic brands, which is still valid, was registered in 1947 for the soap for children, of the Chemical Industry “Merima”, that we all recognize, and today it is the recognizable sign of the company “Henkel Serbia, ltd.”

How shall I protect my technical innovation?

f your innovation represents new technical solution from any technology field, which can be, for example, construction of some device, technological procedure, chemical substance or chemical composition, invention implemented by the help of a computer or some other technical solution, then you should consider the protection of your innovation by a patent. It is important to know that the protection of an innovation by a patent should be considered in the early phases or you should file the patent application before public disclosure or before the releasing the final product on the market, because the condition of novelty must be satisfied in the procedure for the grant of patent. For the more detailed information about conditions and protection procedure for the inventions by a patent have a look in the section Patents.

Did you know that the first patent, registered in 1921 in the Administration for the Protection of Industrial Property (today the Intellectual Property Office), was the invention “Device for Destilation of Brandy”, on the name of Milan Jovanovic, coppersmith from Novi Sad. It was a transferred Hungarian patent No. 48772, and the first patent granted by the Administration was the patent registered under the number 7 for the invention “Self-swinging cradle” on the name of Adem Subasic, watchmaker from Sarajevo

If you have developed a new external image of a product, how to protect it?

If your product has a new external image, regardless whether it is two-dimensional or three-dimensional image of a product or its part, which is defined by visual characteristics, and in particular by lines, contours, colors, shape, texture or their combinations, then industrial design is relevant as the intellectual property right for the protection of your product. More about this right can be seen in the section Industrial Design.

The greatest number of applications for the protection by industrial design refers to the objects from the classes including package, bottles and various utensils for the transport and keeping of goods.

Registered design of the right holder “Drina ltd” in Serbia, no. 11358

If you created a work from the field of creative industries, how to protect it?

Today, under the title “creative industries” one generally understands those industries based on the commercialization of copyright protected works and subject matter of related rights. So if you created alone or in cooperation with others, some original work in the field such as literature, fine arts or related art fields, such as music, theatrical works, architecture, photography, film, computer programs (as such), broadcasted emissions, data bases, more information can be found in the section that refers to Copyright and Related Rights.

If I protect my intellectual property, is it protected in the entire world?

Intellectual property rights consists of industrial property and copyright and related rights. Industrial property rights, and the most frequently present are – patent, trademark and industrial design are territorial rights and produce effect on the territories of countries where they have been registered. If you wish to widen the protection to other countries, the Republic of Serbia is the signatory state of various international treaties, so the protection can be realized outside of Serbia by some of the ways for international registration or individually in the countries of interest for the applicant. It should be taken into account for certain IP rights, such as patent and industrial design, that it is necessary to do so within a certain period from the date of filing the national application in order to recognize the priority date and to keep novelty conditions within that period.

On the other side, with regard to the protection of copyright protected work, where registration is not necessary, one should take into consideration that our country is the signatory state of the Berne Convention, which implies the obligation for all the signatory countries to offer the same protection to foreigners as they do to their own citizens. From that reason, copyright work of our author shall enjoy protection in other countries, according to the laws of those counties, and the copyright work of a foreigner shall enjoy the same protection in Serbia according to our legislation.

What I wish to protect does not belong to the mentioned intellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights can not protect everything a person thinks and creates. So, for example, none of intellectual property rights can not protect ideas as such (without the concrete expression of such ideas), including business ideas, mathematical formulas, inventions that can not be protected from ethical reasons (for example: in the field of patents – cloning procedures or surgical methods). Patent can not be used to protect plant and animal varieties which result from the essentially biological procedure (For example: crossbreeding), etc. Rights of plant breeders are protected with the Ministry competent for agriculture. Lately, an increasing importance belongs to the so-called “soft” intellectual property, including various knowledge and experience (knowhow), business secrets and/or other confidential information. The protection of these forms of intellectual property can be achieved by contracting confidentiality obligations with employees or third parties, usually initiated by the provider of such classified information.

Protect your intellectual property in early phases!

This will discourage competition in the use of protected intellectual property or prevent it from protecting the expression of your idea as its intellectual property and thus limiting the scope of your business. In addition, novelty is a condition for the protection of certain industrial property rights, such as patents and industrial designs, which means that a certain technical solution or product appearance should not be available to the public before initiating the protection procedure.

Check if your product or service infringe other person’s intellectual property rights. In such a way, you could avoid getting warning to withdraw your product from the market, sometimes with the payment of compensation for damage. Conduct the market research before putting the goods or service on the market and check if some of them has already been protected with some form of IP rights. Use publicly available information in databases of intellectual property rights, or order the commercial search services from the Office. Information search services (link)

Protection of intellectual property rights is not mandatory, but in favor of the creator of intellectual property, it is desirable to consider, in accordance with the strategy of exploiting it, to protect it with relevant IP rights.