The application process in Croatia
In the territory of the Republic of Croatia the Office carries out a patent granting procedure in compliance with the Patent Act and the Patent Regulations. (The former Patent Act and the former Patent Regulations apply to patent applications as filed before January 1, 2004).
Since April 1, 2004 the procedure for granting patents having effect in the territory of the Republic of Croatia may also be carried out through the European Patent Office, by filing a corresponding application directly to the European Patent Office.
The patent granting procedure consists of several phases in which particular elements of a patent application are examined. The procedure is instituted by filing the application, and after its formal examination the application is published in the Office official gazette. A published patent application becomes available to the public, whereby it forms part of the state of the art, and any interested person is entitled to inspect the text of the application. After the publication of the application the procedure is continued only under condition that the applicant files one of the requests for examination of the requirements for the patent grant. If, within the prescribed time limit, one of the specified requirements has not been filed and the corresponding fee and procedural charges have not been paid, the patent application will be considered to be withdrawn, and the Office will suspend the patent granting procedure.
After one of the specified requests for examination has been filed, the Office carries out a corresponding additional procedure comprising the examination as to the substance of the patent application. The procedure may result in the grant of a patent for a proposed invention, provided that the prescribed requirements are complied with, or in the refusal of a request for the grant of a patent, if such requirements are not complied with. It is important to point out that before the final decision on the refusal of a request for the grant of a patent, the applicant is given the opportunity to possibly amend the claims or to file additional arguments and to change the outcome of the procedure in his favour.
The protection for a patent granted on the basis of the results of substantive examination shall last for 20 years as from the filing date of a patent application, and for a consensual patent it shall last for 10 years. For the maintenance of a patent the prescribed annual maintenance charges shall be paid. Failing this, the protection shall be terminated even before the expiration of the mentioned terms, namely, immediately after the expiration of the time limits prescribed for the annual payment of charges.