01 | 07 | 2013
ACCESSION TO THE EUROPEAN UNION AND CHANGES IN THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SYSTEM
By the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union on 1 July 2013, the Croatian intellectual property system will be completely integrated into the intellectual property system of the European Union. All the steps made on the path of this integration, which were not related to the time itself of the accession to the European Union, were completed during the pre-accession process, whereas the integration will be completely finished on the day of the accession.
The most important change brought by the accession to the European Union is the entry of the Republic of Croatia in the Community Trade Mark – CTM and Community Design - CD systems or the unitary trademark and design rights, providing the protection in the whole territory of the European Union, now including the Republic of Croatia.
This means that from 1 July 2013, the protection of the Community Trade Mark and Community design, which are valid in the territory of the European Union, will be automatically extended to the Republic of Croatia as now an integral part of the territory of the European Union. The protection of the future Community trade marks and Community designs as registered from 1 July will also include Croatia.
The accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union has introduced a new intellectual property right – an unregistered Community design – which is being acquired without a formal registration procedure, by an appropriate disclosure of a design to the public in the territory of the European Union, from now on, including the Republic of Croatia. The rights conferred by an unregistered design prevent the abuse made by reproducing a protected design.
Furthermore, the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union on 1 July 2013, has introduced new legal institutes in the field of patents or Supplementary Protection Certificates, respectively, for medicinal products intended for humans and animals and for plant protection products. These legal institutes provide the possibility of additional extension of the duration of the protection conferred by a basic patent for medicinal products intended for humans and animals, as well as for plant protection products, since their placing on the market requires the authorization of a competent authority, and therefore the subject matter of the patent protection may not be commercially exploited prior to the completion of such procedure.
In addition to the above mentioned, it will be possible that in future, certain activities related to the protection of intellectual property in Croatia are carried out, apart from natural and legal persons from Croatia, by those from the countries of the European Union, under the equal conditions.
In addition to the above mentioned formal changes of the intellectual property system arising from the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union, it is expected that the full integration into the common market of the European Union and European professional network in the field of intellectual property (e.g. the European Trademark and Design Network, the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights) will contribute to the strengthening of the effective application of the intellectual property in terms of raising the competitiveness of the Croatian economy, and further improvement of the mechanism for fighting against counterfeiting and piracy, as the most common form of the infringement of intellectual property rights, ensuring even more effective protection of the Croatian consumers.