Croatia Acquires Full EPO Membership Status

16 Dec 2007

ZAGREB - Following amendments to the Intellectual Property laws in Croatia that were enacted in July 2007, the Croatian Parliament has adopted new Regulations amending the existing regulations on patents, trademarks, industrial designs, geographical indications, appellations of origin and topographies and semiconductors.

According to SD PETOSEVIC, the Regulations came into force on November 14, 2007, and were published in the Official Gazette No. 117/07.

On October 31, 2007, the Republic of Croatia deposited its instrument of accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC) and to the Act revising the EPC of November 29, 2000. Accordingly, the EPC shall enter into force in Croatia on January 1, 2008.

European patent applications that are filed on or after January 1, 2008, will include the designation of the new contracting state, HR. However, it will not be possible to designate Croatia retroactively in applications filed before January 1, 2008.

With respect to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system and international applications, any PCT application filed on or after January 1, 2008, will automatically designate Croatia for the purpose of obtaining a European patent (Rule 4.9(a) PCT).

However, European patents for Croatia cannot be granted on the basis of international applications with the filing date prior to January 1, 2008. A national patent may be granted assuming that Croatia has been designated in the international application.

Moreover, international applications with the designation of Croatia with a filing date prior to January 1, 2008, shall be deemed invalid.

Currently, and in compliance with provisions of Article 103 (2) and (3) concerning the extension of European patents to Croatia, the owner of a European patent has to submit a full translation of the patent specification in the Croatian language.

By entering into force of the EPC in Croatia, Article 65 of the Convention for the Grant of European Patents will automatically come into force, as well as Article 114 of the Croatian Law Amending the Law on Patents.

The provisions of Article 114 stipulate that the owner of a European patent will have to submit an English translation of the patent specification or an English translation of the specification and the Croatian translation of patent claims, where a patent has been granted in a language of the proceedings other than English.

The English text of the patent specification shall be regarded as authentic in any proceedings in the Republic of Croatia, except in revocation proceedings, where the translation in the Croatian language confers protection narrower in scope than that conferred by the extended European patent in the language of proceedings.

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