Register a Trademark in Croatia - All you need to know

Register a Trademark in Croatia - All you need to know

There are two main methods you can protect and register a trademark of services and products provided on the Croatian market. Eu legislation is related to one of the methods in which applications and sense are involved. SIPO or State Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia is engaged in the second method, which is the easiest.

The authority clears infringements; thus, intellectual property rights are one of the benefits of Croatia’s entrepreneurs.

You can contact us for more information on trademark registration for legal support when opening a company in Croatia.

What is a trademark?

The logo or brand name that identifies your goods or services is a trademark. Letters, phrases, words, numbers, shapes, symbols or a combination can be trademarks. You can differentiate your services or products from your competitor by having a unique logo or brand name. Registration for your logo or brand name is needed to ensure you have legal protection.

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Trademark legislation in Croatia

Even if the business owner is from another country or Croatia, he or she will be governed by the Madrid Agreement and Protocol for trademark registration because it is part of it. In Croatia, the rules and regulations on infringement consequences and how trademarks are protected are based on legislation on the copyright and related rights Act 2003.

What can be registered as a trademark in Croatia

A trademark can be registered in Croatia if the differentiating sign can distinguish the services and products you offer from another provider. A combination of personal names, letters, words, designs, numerals, three-dimensional forms, patterns, colors, packaging or goods shape, sounds, holograms, multimedia or a single particular.

Before you register a trademark in Croatia

If examination for earlier rights existence is not done when carrying out the trademark application process. Because of that reason, trademark registration may be prevented during the registration procedure when an objection is filed by the previous rights holder, ex officio.

The mark will not be registered if it conflicts or is similar to earlier rights or justified negotiation. Appropriate business moves or legal actions are enabled by knowing possible conflicts or obstacles to trademark recognition in the market, thus saving time. Trademark recognition offices offer related trademark existence search services for a fee. Register of the institute containing data is available for free in databases if you know and want to use them self-sufficiently.

Trademark registration requirements

A local agent of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) has to fill out the trademark application. A domestic registration is not needed by foreign applicants enjoying the protection through Croatia International registrations.

Register a Trademark in Croatia

Trademark registration is a first to file jurisdiction in Croatia; thus, it must before being granted trademark rights. Actual trademark rights may not be granted if an unregistered mark is extensively used, thus preventing registration and use of a similar mark by another party.

In Croatia, you can register to obtain trademark protection regionally by filling a European Union Trademarks (EUTM), a European union protection authority or via the State Intellectual Property Office of Croatia (DZIV), a local authority.

In the Madrid protocol, Croatia is one of the members. Because of that reason, Croatian entrepreneurs can register using the Madrid system due to the extension of international trademark registration. You can contact us to get more information on trademark registration via the Madrid system.

During the time of registration or application, the trademark may not be necessary for use. To overcome an objection based on lack of distinctiveness, prior use of a trademark is useful.

In Croatia, combination trademark (includes both figurative and word elements) registration may limit the use of the exclusive rights for the trademark usage. Thus you are granted rights to use it the same way you submitted it. It is advised that you file for a different trademark that only includes the word or figurative features you intend to use and protect separately. This is true if you wish to use the word element of your trademark separately from the logo (or vice versa).

Because of the confusing similarity, you have the right to oppose a third-party application if they wish to use or register the trademark for similar services or goods, including a distinct or primary part of your trademark.

After a trademark application has been published in the Croatian Intellectual Property Gazette for three months, opposition actions can be brought against it. Depending on the specifics of each situation, many conditions will affect the odds of an opposition's success.

A registered trademark becomes vulnerable to cancellation due to its non-use if it has not been used for a period of five years in Croatia, even though prior use of a trademark is not needed for registration.

How long does it take to register a trademark in Croatia?

Although there is no search for previous trademarks, the application process does include a formal review and an examination of distinctiveness. Before a trademark authority or registration issues an office action, it usually takes 1-2 months. The Croatian Intellectual Property Gazette (Hrvatski glasnik intelektualnog vlasništva), which is published on the last day of every month, publishes the trademark after registration. Three months after the trademark application's publication, the opposition period begins.

How long is a trademark valid in Croatia?

Ten (10) years after application, registered trademarks in Croatia are valid. They can then be extended for successive terms of indefinitely ten (10) years. With the payment of late renewal fees, the trademark renewal can be filed up to twelve (12) months before the termination date as well as during the grace period of six (6) months following it.

Trademark renewal

If you want to maintain your rights and prevent any potential cancellation of these entitlements, you must renew the trademark. Renewal of the trademark use right in Croatia is handled by the regional trademark office in the city where you conduct your business. When filing a trademark for your company, Welcome Center Croatia is available to provide full legal support.

Protecting Intellectual Property

A comprehensive bilateral Memorandum of Understanding between Croatia and the United States on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights was ratified by the Croatian Parliament in March 2004. Intellectual property is generally adequately protected in Croatia, and American exporters have access to a number of very competent local law offices that specialize in IPR protection. Please email the U.S. Commercial Service office in Zagreb at office.zagreb@trade.gov for contact information.

For efficient intellectual property protection in any foreign market, businesses should consider several general principles.

The State Department's Investment Climate Statements, which contain details on the defense and enforcement of intellectual property rights in other economies, are other resources businesses should consider.

Copyright and related rights act of Croatia

Authors, publishers, performers, broadcasting companies, and producers are all protected by this statute. Books, literary works, performances, motion pictures, phonograms, videograms, broadcasts, publications, and databases are all covered by this Croatian intellectual property legislation.

When can I use the symbol (R) or TM? 

Following filing a trademark application, the symbol "TM" may be used. Only when a trademark has been registered should (R) be utilized. Only the products and services indicated on the registration certificate are eligible to use the ® emblem.

Patent Act in Croatia

On February 20, 2020, a new Patent Act was enacted in Croatia, bringing forth significant modifications. On January 21, 2020, the Croatian Parliament approved the Act, which was written in 2019.

Overview of the utility model perception

A principal modification made by the innovative Act is the replacement of the prior "consensual patent" concept with the "utility model" idea. The former "consensual patent" concept was frequently deceptive because it featured the word "patent." Legal clarity is improved, particularly in enforcement, by the apparent separation between the patent principles and utility model.

The model subject matter is also limited by the Act prohibiting the use of processes, biotechnology-related inventions, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and inventions whose commercial application would violate civic order or morality.

The utility model registration process has been greatly shortened by the new Act, which establishes distinct registration processes for utility models and patents. A utility model submission will be printed as registered after the formal examination is finished.

On the base of an inspected right, civil protection cannot be requested by a utility model holder. To convert utility model into a patent, its substantive examination is allowed to be filed within a period of seven years from the application of the utility model instead of consensual patent cases that were ten years.

Introduction of the mandatory preliminary prior art search

A voluntary preliminary written opinion and a mandatory introductory preceding art search on an invention's patentability are now required by the new Act at an primary stage of the check process, before the publication of an application in the Official Gazette. A substantive inspection and the preceding art search were conducted simultaneously under the prior Patent Act. With the revision, candidates whose submissions do not satisfy the requirements for patentability will avoid needless proceedings and expenses, and the rights holders will be able to manage risks more skillfully.

The European Patent Office (EPO) has the capability and resources to perform searches and exams in the most complicated fields of technology, collaborates with the Intellectual Property Office of Croatia to undertake the prior art search and provide a written opinion on patentability. This could give top-notch patent protection across the board, particularly in the fields of communication and information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology for which IPO of Croatia lacks sufficient funding. Additionally, the new Patent Act should benefit applicants, including small and medium-sized businesses and research institutions that previously had difficulty registering their ideas due to time-consuming and expensive processes.

Legal protection of topographies of semiconductor products

All electronic devices require semiconductors, also known as "integrated circuits" or "chips," as essential parts. These integrated circuits are where the operations of electronic devices are performed.

In order to turn a profit from the economic activity, it becomes vital to safeguard the investment made in producing chips. An exceptional legal safeguard was introduced by the legislature.

The protection outlined below only pertains to the precise design of a chip, often known as "the topography," which is the three-dimensional model created by superimposing various layers.

Who owns the rights to semiconductor topographies?

The exclusive right to the topography's commercial exploitation and reproduction belongs to its author. Unless a contract allocates explicitly the rights to the employee, the employer is the rightful owner of any topography developed under the terms of an employment contract or statute.

The same holds true for the production of a topography under a commission contract; in this situation, unless a contract assigning rights to the creator is in place, the client will be the owner of those rights.

What if the rights to semiconductor topographies are infringed?

The topography rights holder has the same legal options as patent owners in terms of recourse.

Jurisdiction concerning conflicts involving integrated circuit topographies is granted by the enterprise courts that have been established at the courts of appeal's headquarters.

Topographies and/or their constituents may be covered by copyright in addition to the specific protection for semiconductor topographies, provided that the requirements for copyright protection are satisfied. The courts of the first instance in this situation might also be competent (see jurisdiction for copyright disputes)

Croatian Trademarks Act

Trademarks are any signals used to set one seller's or manufacturer's products apart from those of another, including words, names, graphics, packaging, shapes, colors, designs and other marks. The holder is granted protection upon registration and thus has the right to decline another person's usage of the registered trademark.

Here you can find the official trademark act.

Industrial design Act Croatia

Due to the distinctive characteristics, lines, colors, contours, shapes, textures, and materials used in certain products, this law protects industrial designs or the complete appearance of those things. For a design to receive protection, it must be brand-new and distinctive.

Here you can find the formal Industrial Design Act.

Infringement of a trademark

Any use of the same or a similar sign in commerce to identify the same or comparable goods or services by a third party without the consent or authorization of the trademark holder is considered to be trademark infringement. Given that a trademark is a private right that belongs to its owner, it is up to him or her to protect its value, keep an eye out for potential infringements in the marketplace, and take the necessary legal action to stop them. It is up to case law to establish standards for identifying specific instances of trademark infringement, considering how the ordinary customer would interpret all of the pertinent facts of a given situation.

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