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Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Toolkit

Introduction

Welcome

The United States Embassy in Croatia recognizes the imperative of strong intellectual property rights (IPR) protection for American business, and is working to help the Government of Croatia find ways to improve IPR enforcement in Croatia. Stolen, pirated, and counterfeit goods undermine investment opportunities and can significantly impact market share for U.S. companies. Croatia has made considerable efforts in recent years to improve IPR protection, although work remains, particularly in the areas of enforcement and judicial efficiency in addressing IPR violations. This IPR Toolkit was developed by the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb to provide background information to U.S. businesses on the current IPR environment and regulations in Croatia.  

Disclaimer

The information provided in this toolkit by no means constitutes legal advice and should not be a substitute for advice of counsel. Its intended purpose is to provide an overview of the Croatian IPR environment, available enforcement mechanisms and Croatian government offices sharing IPR jurisdiction. We recommend that U.S. companies seeking to do business in Croatia, or facing IPR infringement issues, retain qualified U.S. and/or Croatian legal counsel and pursue their rights through the Croatian IPR enforcement regime.

Current IPR Environment

Croatian intellectual property rights (IPR) legislation includes a Patent Act, Trademark Act, Industrial Design Act, Act on the Geographical Indications of Products and Services, Act on the Protection of Layout Design of Integrated Circuits, and the Act on Copyrights and Related Rights. These acts define the process for protecting and enforcing IPR. Texts of these laws are available on the website of the State Intellectual Property Office.

As a WTO member, Croatia is a party to the Uruguay Round Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Croatia is also a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). For a list of international conventions to which Croatia is a signatory, consult the State Intellectual Property Office’s website.

Although some areas of IPR protection remain problematic, Croatia is currently not on the U.S. Special 301 Watch List nor is it listed in the notorious market report. Problem areas continue to be concentrated in piracy of digital media and counterfeiting. Due to its geographical position, Croatia is also one of the transit routes for various contraband products bound for other countries in the region. There have been no problems reported regarding registration of intellectual property in Croatia by American companies. However, the American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia delivered to the Croatian government in May 2016 Recommendations for Improving the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Protection in Croatia based on discussions with their members in regard to treatment of intellectual property and can be found on the website.

Local and National Law Enforcement

The State Prosecutor’s Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK) is tasked with directing police investigations and prosecuting cases. USKOK is headquartered in Zagreb, with offices in Split, Rijeka and Osijek. In addition, the National Police Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime (PN-USKOK) conducts corruption-related investigations and is based in the same cities. Specialized criminal judges are situated in the four largest county courts in Croatia, again in Zagreb, Rijeka, Split, and Osijek, and are responsible for adjudicating corruption and organized crime cases. The cases receive high priority in the justice system. The Ministry of Interior, the Office for Suppression of Money Laundering, the Tax Administration, and the Anti-Corruption Sector of the Ministry of Justice, all have a proactive role in combating and preventing corruption. GONG is a civil society organization founded in 1997 to encourage citizens to actively participate in the political process. Contact information below:

• The http://www.buyusa.gov/style/graphics/link_extern.gif Ministry of Economy, Labor and Entrepreneurship houses the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), which is the administrative body responsible for granting industrial property rights.  The SIPO also provides rights related professional services like patent and trademark searching.

  • The Ministry of Interior oversees the Croatian Police, including the Economic Crime and Corruption Directorate, which is responsible for supervising the investigation of intellectual property infringements.
  • The Ministry of Finance includes the Customs Administration, which is primarily responsible for controlling the import and export of goods at border points but also works within Croatia to detect and prevent Customs related offenses.
  • The State Inspectorate of the Republic of Croatia is responsible for quality control in most sectors of the Croatian economy and its inspectors can seize suspected counterfeit goods and issue fines and/or court summons.
  • The State Attorney’s Office prosecutes criminal offenses including IP crimes.
  • The Ministry of Justice which performs administrative tasks relating to the courts though it has no formal oversight of the courts.

Links

U.S. Government

American Chamber of Commerce

The American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia has an active IPR Protection Committee.  Members of the Committee are available to discuss IPR issues in Croatia.  For a contact list of Committee members, please go to the following link:  http://www.amcham.hr

Industry Organizations

International Organizations


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  The link you have chosen will take you to a non-U.S. Government website.

  If the page does not appear in 5 seconds, please click this: outside web site

  BuyUSA.gov is managed by the International Trade Administration and external links are covered by its website disclaimer statement.