Albania, Montenegro Amend IP Legislation With EU Bids In Mind 19/09/2016 by Jaroslaw Adamowski for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)In a bid to push forward their ongoing membership negotiations with the European Union, two Balkan States have moved to further harmonise their intellectual property regulations in line with EU legislation. Albania’s new copyright law will enter into force this October, and Montenegro’s amended legislation on trademarks, industrial design and topographies of semiconductor products entered into force last July. Local observers say that one of the most important modifications of the new Albanian copyright law [available here, in Albanian] is the introduction of a one-stop-shop system allowing commercial users to pay a single copyright fee that applies to separate copyright collectives instead of several separate rates. According to an analysis by the pan-Eastern European legal firm Petošević, “the current law’s emphasis on the collective management of copyright and related rights has led to high and unjustified fees imposed by copyright collectives.” Article 182 of the amended law [available here, in Albanian] states that any legal entity that performs collective rights management without the authorisation of the country’s Ministry of Culture could be imposed a fine of between ALL 200,000 (US$1,630) and ALL 500,000 (US$4,100). Moreover, the new law is to tackle Albania’s high piracy rate by making certain legal tools available to IP rights holders, and ensure its conformity with the EU law. “However, it remains to be seen how willing the Albanian authorities will be to implement these practices,” the analysis said [available here, in English]. IP Infringement Fines Montenegro has amended its trademark law [available here, in Montenegrin] in a bid to bring more transparency and clarity to various procedures. The law identifies the amounts of financial fines for trademark infringement, and local authorities hope that these will discourage piracy which has been plaguing the country’s IT sector. “According to the latest data, IT piracy remains at a level of 76% in Montenegro, down 8% compared with ten years ago,” Oliver Obradović, the country manager for Montenegro at Microsoft, told Voice of America [available here, in Montenegrin]. “This remains the highest level in the region.” Obradović said that to date, “the application of the law in this field has been equal to zero.” Under Art. 55 of Montenegro’s amended law, individuals could be punished with fines of between €250 (US$279) and €1,500 (US$1,674), individual entrepreneurs could face paying from €500 (US$558) and €3,000 (US$3,347), while other legal entities could be imposed fines of between €2,000 (US$2,231) and €10,000 (US$11,150). In comparison with Serbia, from which Montenegro separated itself following a referendum held in 2006, fines for IP law infringement by legal entities are set a lower level in Montenegro. The Montenegrin law foresees maximum fines for legal entities which are less then half of what they could face in Serbia. However, individuals in Serbia could be fined with about a third of the fine that could be imposed in Montenegro, should they obtain a minimum fine. Under Art. 84 of Serbia’s consolidated trademark law [available here, in Serbian], companies and other legal entities who have infringed a trademark for commercial purposes can be fined on grounds of corporate offence between RSD 100,000 (US$906) and RSD 3 million (US$27,200). The responsible person within such a legal entity could be imposed a fine of between RSD 50,000 (US$453) and RSD 200,000 (US$1,813). A Serbia-based entrepreneur who has infringed a trademark or a right related to its application could be imposed a fine of RSD 50,000 (US$453) to RSD 500,000 (US$4,530). In contrast, individuals who violated trademarks or such rights for non-commercial purposes could be punished with fines of between RSD 10,000 (US$91) and RSD 50,000 (US$453), according to Art. 85 of the consolidated trademark law. Trademark Law Harmonisation With Montenegro eyeing membership in the EU, the amended law also defines the legal effects of EU trademarks in Montenegro once Podgorica completes its membership negotiations with Brussels, and changes certain deadlines relevant to the international trademark registration procedures. “In case of a provisional refusal of an international trademark registration, the four-month deadline for appointing a local representative is now calculated from the date on which WIPO issued the notification, as opposed to the date of receipt of the notification,” Petošević said in its analysis [available here, in English]. Montenegro and Albania hope to be the next two former Yugoslavia states to join the EU, following Slovenia, which joined in 2004, and Croatia, which became the latest EU member state in 2013. Podgorica has been negotiating its potential membership with Brussels in 2012, and Tirana in 2014, respectively. Meanwhile, the Serbian government is also pursuing its membership negotiations with the EU. In December 2015, Belgrade opened the first two chapters in its negotiations with Brussels. Photo suggestion by the Intellectual Property Office of Montenegro: http://www.ziscg.me/novosti/prvi-sastanka-ipa-nacionalnog-projekta-o-%20intelektualnoj-svojini Image Credits: IP Office of Montenegro Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Jaroslaw Adamowski may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Albania, Montenegro Amend IP Legislation With EU Bids In Mind" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.