ABOUT THE OFFICE
The Intellectual Property Office is an institution which is responsible for the tasks related to industrial property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, indications of geographical origin, and topographies of semiconductor products), copyright and related rights.
The establishment of an institution for the protection of industrial property is a Convention obligation of all member countries of the Paris Union. Republic of Serbia is, in legal continuity through the Kingdom of Serbia, one of 11 founding countries of the Paris Union (1883), but it set up the Administration for the Protection of Industrial Property considerably later, on 15 November 1920. That institution has changed its name several times since then, and throughout its history it was called: Federal Administration for Invention (1948), Federal Patent Bureau (1953), Federal Patent Administration (1956), Patent Administration (1958), Federal Patent Office (1967), Federal Intellectual Property Office (from 1994), and presently – the Intellectual Property Office (since 2003).
With respect to its status, periods in which the institution acted independently have been alternating with the periods in which it was part of another administrative authority (a ministry or a secretariat). At present, the Office is independent organization within framework of the Serbian Government.
Since its establishment, the Office has performed tasks related to patents, trademarks, industrial models and samples (designs), while indications of geographical origin have been included in its competence since 1981. The institution changed its name into the Federal Intellectual Property Office after being entrusted with the tasks related to copyright and related rights, in addition to the tasks related to industrial property rights (as of 1994).
There are certain differences between the competences of the Office in relation to industrial property rights and its competences in relation to copyright and related rights. With respect to industrial property rights, the Office is responsible for normative regulation of relationships in that field and for the conduct of administrative procedures for the granting of patents, trademarks, industrial designs, indications of geographical origin and topographies of semiconductor products. With respect to copyright and related rights, the Office has a norm-creating competence (monitoring the situation in that field and preparing draft regulations) and the competence of administrative supervision of the work of organizations for collective management of copyright and related rights.
The Office maintains public registries where requests for the grant of industrial property rights (applications) are registered, as well as decisions in administrative procedures and granted rights. After an entry has been made in the relevant registry of a granted industrial property right, the holder of the right is issued with a certificate on the granted right.
The official gazette of the Office, which is issued bimonthly, publishes information on applications for patents for inventions and granted industrial property rights. The publication of an official journal is a Convention obligation of the Office.
On the basis of the recommendation set out in the Paris Convention, the Office is exchanging its publications (the Intellectual Property Gazette and patent specifications) for newsletters and specifications of offices in other countries. In this manner, a rich collection of patent documents has been formed, which the Office uses to examine the novelty of inventions in the patent procedure and to inform the professional public outside the Office about the state of the art in the world. The Office also has a public reading room, where patent information is available to researchers and engineers from institutes and companies, inventors, entrepreneurs and all other interested persons, which is an obligation of the Office under both the Convention and the Law. Upon written request and on commercial terms, the Office provides information (search report) on the state of the art for any technical problem. The Office also provides information on other industrial property rights in a similar manner.
Foreign natural persons and legal entities are treated in the same way as domestic persons regarding the requirements for acquiring industrial property rights in Serbia and regarding legal remedies for the protection of those rights, if they come from a Paris Union or WTO member country, or if that arises from the reciprocity principle. The burden of proof is on the person who has invoked the existence of reciprocity. In the procedure before the Office and other competent authorities, a foreign person has to have a representative, who is a professional attorney and who is a legal entity or a national of Serbia.