The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was formed in 1918.
Its name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. The partisan military
and political movement headed by Josip Tito took full control of Yugoslavia
when German and Croatian separatist forces were defeated in
1945. In 1989, Slobodan Milosevic became president of the Serbian
Republic based in part on a platform of Serbian nationalism.
In 1991, Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia declared independence,
followed by Bosnia in 1992. The remaining republics of Serbia and
Montenegro declared a new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in
Milosevic became president of the FRY in 1997. In 1998, ethnic
violence in the formerly autonomous Serbian province of Kosovo led to
the intervention of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
and the United Nations (UN). This intervention culminated in the
promulgation of a constitutional framework that allowed Kosovo to establish
institutions of self-government and hold its first parliamentary
FRY elections in September 2000 led to the ouster of Milosevic and
installation of Vojislav Kostunica as president. A broad coalition of
democratic reformist parties known as DOS (the Democratic Opposition
of Serbia) was subsequently elected to parliament in December
2000 and took control of the government.
In 2003, the FRY became Serbia and Montenegro, a loose federation
of the two republics with a federal-level parliament. Violence erupted
in Kosovo again in March 2004 causing the international community
to open negotiations on the future status of Kosovo in January 2006.
In May 2006, Montenegro invoked its right to secede from the
federation and, following a successful referendum, it declared itself an
independent nation on June 3, 2006. Two days later, Serbia declared
that it was the successor state to the union of Serbia and Montenegro.
A new Serbian constitution was approved in October 2006 and adopted
the following month. This was followed by 15 months of inconclusive
negotiations mediated by the UN and four months of further
inconclusive negotiations mediated by the U.S., EU, and Russia. On
February 17, 2008, the Province of Kosovo, administered by the UN
Interim Administration Mission on Kosovo (UNMIK), declared itself
independent of Serbia.
Who May Apply?
Foreign nationals have the same rights to apply for registration,
provided that treaties, conventions, or reciprocity exists between their
country and Serbia. The first applicant has a right of priority, but a
prior user may contest a registration within five years from the date
What Can Be Registered?
The new Trademark Act, published in the Official Gazette No. 61 of
December 24, 2004, and effective January 1, 2005, broadened the
scope of what may be registered. Under Articles 1 and 4, any mark
capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from
those of another, and which is capable of being represented graphically,
may be registered as a trademark or service mark. Marks may
therefore consist of words, pictures, expressions, vignettes, titles,
figures and combinations thereof, or combinations of colors.
In addition, the law contains a list of relative and absolute grounds
for refusal1 or in~alidationT.~h ese grounds are similar to those cited
in the European Union's Directive 891104lEEC. For the first time, a
trademark will not be registered or, if registered, will remain vulnerable
to cancellation if it conflicts with an identical or similar prior
"famous" mark previously registered for similar or dissimilar goods or
A well-known mark is defined as a mark indisputably known in
Serbia as a trademark of strong reputation, used by another for marking
goods or services. This definition is consistent with the definition
found in the Paris C~nventionI.t~ i s not necessary that the use of the
later mark would take unfair advantage of or be detrimental to the
distinctive character or repute of the prior well-known mark.
A conflict with a prior "well-known" mark may now result in refusal
of an application for registration of a later mark or, if it has been
registered, invalidation of the registration of the later or junior mark.
In the event of a conflict with prior third-party rights, registration
will not be granted even with the consent of the proprietor of the
holder of the prior right. In ascertaining whether a mark is registrable,
all the circumstances will be taken into consideration, particularly the
duration and scope of use of the mark.
Geographical names are separately registrable as designations of
What Cannot Be Registered?
Under the Trademark Act, a trademark may not be used to protect
a mark that:'
1. is generally considered immoral or disruptive to public order;
2. has a general appearance that does not enable goods and/or services
to be distinguished in the course of trade;
3. represents a shape determined exclusively by the nature of the
product or a shape necessary to obtain a given technical result;
4. designates exclusively the type, purpose, time, or method of
production, quality, price, quantity, weight, or geographical
origin of the goods and/or services;
5. is customarily used to designate a given type of goods and/or
6. by its appearance or content, may create confusion in commerce
with respect to the origin, type, quality, or other characteristics
of the goods and/or services;
7. contains official marks or hallmarks of quality control or warranty
or imitations thereof;
8. is identical with a protected mark of another person for identical
or similar goods and/or services;
9. is similar to a mark already protected on behalf of another
person for identical or similar goods and/or service, if such
similarity may lead to confusion in commerce or is misleading;
10. is identical or similar to a mark for identical or similar goods
andlor services, which is well-known in Serbia within the meaning
of Article 6bis of the Paris Convention for the Protection of
11. regardless of the goods and/or services concerned, is a reproduction,
imitation, translation, or transliteration of a registered
trademark, or the essential segment thereof, which is known
without any doubt to those participating in commerce in Serbia
as a mark of widespread reputation, (hereinafter a "famous
trademark"), used by another individual or entity for marking
goods and/or services, if the use of such a mark would result in
an unfair benefit from the reputation acquired by the famous
trademark or in harm to its distinctive character and/or reputation;
12. by its appearance or content, infringes a copyright or industrial
13. consists of a state or other public coat of arms, flag or other emblem, name or abbreviation of the name of a country or of an
international organization, or imitations thereof, unless the
competent authority of the country or organization concerned
has given its authorization for such use; or
14. represents or imitates a national or religious symbol.
Marks ineligible because of a lack of distinctiveness based on the
grounds in paragraphs 2,4, and 5 above may be registrable if the applicant
can show that the mark has become distinctive for the goods
and/or services through use of the mark.
The grounds for refusal based on similarity described in paragraphs
8 and 9 above apply equally to prior filed pending applications. Thus,
subsequently filed applications for registration may be refused based
on the similarity of the mark and goods and/or services to those in a
prior filed application. However, these grounds for refusal will cease
to exist if the prior filed application is refused.
In determining whether a mark is famous, the Office considers the
awareness of the relevant part of the public about the mark, including
any knowledge gained through promotion of the mark. The relevant
part of the public generally consists of actual and potential users of
the goods andlor services which bear the mark, as well as persons
involved in the distribution channels of the goods and/or services.
The likeness or name of a living person may be protected as a
trademark only with that person's consent. The likeness or name of a
deceased person may be protected as a trademark only with the
consent of any living parents, spouse, or children of the deceased
person. The likeness of a historically significant person or other
deceased famous person may be protected as a trademark only with
the authorization of the competent authority and the consent of the
person's relatives up to the third degree of kinship.
The registration of a name as a mark or part of a mark does not
prevent an individual from using his or her own name or that of his
or her firm if adopted in good faith for distinguishing goods andlor
The following requirements are necessary for applications for
1) Power of attorney, simply signed, (i.e., without notarization or
2) Two copies of a list of the goods and/or services, with their
3) Drawing of the mark ("printing block") with 10 copies or prints
(for both word and design marks), at least three centimeters by five centimeters, but not more than eight centimeters by eight
centimeters (for color marks, four prints in color and six prints
in black and white).
Priority under the Paris Convention must be claimed when the application
is filed. A certified copy of the underlying foreign application
or registration must be filed in support of the priority claim within
three months of the application filing date. If the foreign application
or registration is in a foreign language, it must be accompanied by a
Evaluation & Review
Applications for registration of trademarks must be filed at the
Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The Office first examines each application
for completeness. If the Office finds that the application does
not meet the formal requirements, it will notify the applicant. If the
applicant does not reply within the time allotted by the Office, the Office
will deem the application abandoned.'
Applicants may request an extension of this response deadline for
up to three months. The grounds for such an extension include the
need to communicate with a foreign applicant, the absence of a person
necessary to respond, and illness of the applicant's attorney. The Office
generally grants such extensions if they are reasonable.
If the application meets the formal requirements, the Office
examines the mark both on its own merits and in relation to any
conflicting prior registrations or previously filed applications. If a
conflicting mark is found, the Office notifies the applicant and provides
a deadline during which the applicant must reply. This deadline may
also be extended at the request of the applicant.
National priority is determined as of the date the application is
filed. Such priority may be claimed, for instance, within three months
of the opening date of an officially recognized exhibition at which the
mark is used. Under the International Convention, priority may be
asserted within six months of the filing of the first Convention
Trademark registrations may be renewed for. unlimited 10-year
periods with payment of the necessary renewal fee. The renewal
deadline may be extended for a period of six months with the payment
of an additional penalty fee equal to half the amount of the original
fee. An additional fee must be made for each class of goods and/or
Use is compulsory. However, the law does not require registrants to
prove use of the mark unless a cancellation action on the grounds of
nonuse is filed against the registered mark.
A third party may request cancellation of a registration on the
ground that the mark has not been used in Serbia for a period of five
consecutive years. A registrant may prevail in any such action if he or
she is able to show that the mark was used during the five years in
question. A request or petition for cancellation will also fail if, although
the registrant has not used the registered mark for an uninterrupted
period of five years, the registrant subsequently uses the mark
in good faith before the filing of the petition for cancellation. Thus,
use during the five-year period in question and use after the five-year
period will both result in the rejection of the cancellation action.
In reaching a decision concerning cancellation, the Intellectual Property
Office will take into consideration the circumstances surrounding
the failure to use the mark, including any nonuse that may be excusable
due to conflicting Serbian regulations. The Office will also
consider any bad-faith failure to use the mark, such as attempts to
block the use of similar marks in the Serbian market.
Advertising the registered trademark without the intent to provide
the relevant goods and/or services does not constitute acceptable use
of the mark. Likewise, the mere payment of renewal fees or the entry
into contracts or other legal agreements in relation to the mark also
do not constitute use. However, the legitimate use of a mark by a licensee
constitutes valid use by the mark owner.
The top-level domain of Serbia is ".rs." The Serbian National Register
of Internet Domain Names is the sponsoring organization for the
The top level domain of Yugoslavia was ".yu." Serbia is in the process
of phasing out use of the .yu top-level domain. Thus, many
organizations with domain names registered under the .yu domain
have moved their registrations to the .rs (Serbian) domain. As of
December 1, 2008, the Serbian National Register of Internet Domain
Names (RNIDS) registered more than 44,000 domain^.^
This migration will continue until March 2, 2009. Thereafter, the
operation of any unrenewed .yu domains will cease. This period will
be followed by an additional period during which .yu domains may be
renewed, running from March 3, 2009, to April 30, 2009. Domains
that are renewed will be temporarily operative and will remain .yu
domains. Those that are not renewed by April 30, 2009, will be
permanently deleted on May 4, 2009. On September 30, 2009, the
maintenance of a register for .yu domain names will be discontinued
entirely for all .yu domains whether renewed or not.
Only companies and organizations located in Serbia are eligible to
apply for domain names. Foreign companies and organizations may
only be granted a domain name registration if they have a local office
or representative in Serbia. Individuals are not eligible to obtain a
The registration of a domain name does not confer any legal rights
to that name. Moreover, the registrant is responsible for any liability
that their registration of a domain name creates. Disputes over the
right to use a domain name must be resolved between the parties
through civil court action or through UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution
Infringement is provided for in Chapter VI of the Customs Law,
which incorporates provisions of the TRIPS Agreement (Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property right), the Madrid Agreement,
European regulations, and the National Model Law of the World
Customs Organization (WCOL3 Trademark owners must register their
intellectual property rights with the Customs authorities and provide
sufficient information to enable Customs officials to recognize the
goods in question and verify that the applicant has rights related to
any questionable goods.
Under the new Trademark Law,4 preliminary injunctions may be
requested from the court where infringement of a mark has occurred.
It is also possible for a court to order seizure of the infringing goods
as a provisional measure before the court renders any final decision in
an infringement suit.
Requests to Customs authorities for surveillance must be in written
form and may either be specific to a particular shipment or have general
effect to all goods. The Customs authorities will issue a decision
concerning any surveillance request within 30 days or less. However,
if the applicant provided Customs with specific information about a particular shipment or consignment of goods known to be infringing,
Customs will issue a decision concerning the applicant's request
within three days.