Patents of Invention

– Patent Law of the Republic of Croatia, with effect from January 1, 2004.
– Law on the Amending and Supplementing of the Patent Law, in force since July 18, 2005.
– Law on the Amending and Supplementing of the Patent Law, in force since July 31, 2007.
– Law on the Amending and Supplementing of the Patent Law, in force since March 17, 2009.
– Law on the Amending and Supplementing of the Patent Law, in force since November 25, 2010.
– Law on the Amending and Supplementing of the Patent Law, in force since May 7, 2011.
– Law on the Amending and Supplementing of the Patent Law, in force since June 29, 2013.
– Patent Rules, effective since November 14, 2007, as amended on June 15, 2011 with effect from June 15, 2011, as amended on December 18, 2012 with effect from December 27, 2012, and as amended on June 26, 2013 with effect from July 4, 2013.

Membership in International Conventions

– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since January 24, 1965.
– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since October 8, 1991.
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since October 8, 1991.
– Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), since July 1, 1998.
– Budapest Treaty (Deposit of Microorganisms), since February 25, 2000.
– Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the International Patent Classification, since November 25, 2000.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since November 30, 2000.
– Co-operation and Extension Agreement between European Patent Organization and Government of the Republic of Croatia, signed in Munich on June 16, 2003, applied to European patent applications and/or international applications with the filing date on or after April 1, 2004.
– Patent Law Treaty, since April 28, 2005.
– European Patent Convention (EPC), since January 1, 2008.
– London Agreement on the application of Article 65 EPC, since March 17, 2009.

Filing

Applicant: the inventor or his legal successor.

Foreigners and nationals not living in the country: must appoint a local patent representative in Croatia; they enjoy the same rights as nationals.

Naming of the inventor(s): a written statement of the inventor has to be filed within four months of the filing date if he does not want to be named in the application.

Patentability: a patent is granted for an invention which is new, which involves an inventive step and which is capable of industrial application.

Novelty: absolute novelty.

Exceptions to protection: discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods; aesthetic creations; rules, instructions or methods for performing mental activity, playing games or doing business; presentations of information and computer programs, provided that exclusion of patentability of the subject matter or referred activities is only to the extent to which a patent application or patent relates to such subject matter or activities as such.

Exclusion from patent protection: the inventions which concern animal breeds, and plant varieties, and essentially biological processes for the production of a plant or an animal, except for the inventions which concern non-biological and microbiological processes and products resulting from such processes; the human body, at the various stages of its formation and development, and the simple discovery of one of its elements, including the sequence or partial sequence of a gene (the invention relating to an element isolated from the human body or otherwise produced by means of a technical process, including the sequence or partial sequence of a gene, may constitute a patentable invention, even if the structure of that element is identical to that of a natural element, the industrial application of a sequence or a partial sequence of a gene must be disclosed in the patent application as originally filed); the inventions which concern diagnostic or surgical methods or methods of treatment practiced directly on the alive human or animal body, except for the products, in particular substances or compositions used in such methods.

Unpatentable inventions: where their commercial exploitation would be contrary to public order or morality; processes for cloning human beings; processes for modifying the germ line genetic identity of human beings; uses of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes; processes for modifying the genetic identity of animals which are likely to cause them suffering without any substantial medical benefit to man or animal, and also animals resulting from such process.

Unity of the invention: if the application covers a group of inventions, they have a unique inventive idea.

Kinds of protection: basic patent and consensual patent (utility model).

Secret patents: only for nationals.

Priorities: Conventional.

Territory covered: the Republic of Croatia.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney, no legalization;
2. Specification and abstract (German type);
3. Drawings (format A4: 21 x 29.7 cm) on strong and mat paper, or strong transparent paper, 1 set;
4. Priority certificate, if any, within three months from claiming priority, or four months from filing patent application, or sixteen months from earliest priority date, whichever time limit expires earlier.

Electronic filing: possible.

PCT applications: time limit for entering the national phase: 31 months from priority date (under Chapter I as well as Chapter II). Requirements for a PCT application: in accordance with the PCT Agreement.

Extensions to European patents: cooperation and extension agreement, since April 1, 2004. From this date applicants for European patents can designate Croatia in their EP applications and obtain Croatian patents through a single process in the European Patent Office. 

European patent validation requirements: (a) appointment of a national representative is mandatory; (b) only the claims must be translated into Croatian, within a non-extendible term of three months from the date on which the mention of the grant of the European patent is published in the European Patent Bulletin; (c) the minimum time period for paying renewal fees due at validation is two months, in line with the EPC.

Examination Procedure

Examination: (1) Formal examination: completeness of the formal requirements (filing date requirements, payment of fees, whether the translation into the Croatian language is submitted and power of attorney, if needed, examination is conducted on the requirements whether the patent application contains all parts completed according to the Patent Regulations). Publication of the patent application: after the formal examination is completed and after the expiration of eighteen months as from its filing date, or from the date of granted priority respectively, or on the request of the applicant earlier but not before the expiration of three months as from the date of its filing at the Office;

(2) Full examination: after the publication of a patent application, the applicant may, within six months as from the date of publication, file a request for examination for the grant of a patent: (a) a request for the grant of a patent on the basis of the substantive examination of a patent application; or (b) a request for the grant of a patent without the substantive examination of a patent application (thereinafter: consensual patent). If no request is made, the rights to the application will lapse. A request for the grant of a patent without substantive examination of a patent application is published in the Gazette within three months after filing the request. After said publication any legal or natural person may, within six months, file with the Office an objection to the grant of a consensual patent or a request for the substantive examination.

Accelerated examination: not available.

Amendments (alterations): an application with an established filing date cannot be consequently amended or altered to widen the scope of protection sought.

Divisions: cannot be made after the decision to grant the patent has been made.

Objections of the Office: in the course of examination, the Office shall issue objections to be rectified by the applicant within the time limit of sixty days (extendible).

Provisional registration: after the publication of the patent application the applicant acquires provisional rights on the basis of which he can claim damages from a third party, in the time period between the publication of the patent application and the date of publication of the grant of a patent. A patent application which is refused, rejected or deemed to be withdrawn will not have effect.

Registration: if a patent application complies with all the requirements for the grant of a patent on the basis of the substantive examination or that the objection to the grant of a consensual patent has not been filed, the requirements for the grant of a patent have been complied with and the Office shall issue a decision to that effect; the Office communicates to the applicant the text of the application on the basis of which it intends to grant a patent and shall invite him to submit written approval to the text communicated to him, within thirty days as from the day of receipt of the invitation. The applicant is thus given a reasonable time period to approve the text, including claims, or to object to it. Thereafter, the Office takes a final decision, registers the patent, and publishes the first claim and the drawing of the invention (if any) in the Office’s Gazette. Before the publication, the applicant has to pay administrative fees and procedural charges for the maintenance of a patent (if needed), the publication thereof and the issuance of the patent certificate and the printing fees (the printed text of the patent contains the whole specification and all claims).

Corrections: are permitted until registration. Corrections at the initiative of the applicant are possible in the reply to the official action in the full examination proceedings.

Urgent procedure: when a legal action has been brought for infringement of rights deriving from the application, the applicant can request that his application be examined out of turn. In that case he has to file proof on a legal action, that the request for accelerated publication and full examination of the application was filed, and the appropriate taxes and fees are paid.

Granting

Publication: the information on granting the patent is published in the first issue of the Official Gazette after the date of the Decision to grant.

Beginning and duration of protection: a patent lasts for twenty years from the filing date of the patent application; a consensual patent lasts for ten years counting from the filing date.

Supplementary Protection Certificate: the term of a patent may be extended by a Certificate on Supplementary Protection in case where a patent has been granted for a medicinal product or a plant protection product, the placing on the market of which requires prior marketing authorization of the competent State authority, for the period from the first application of the base patent to the date of issuance of the marketing authorization for the product protected by that patent, minus a five-year period. Provisions relating to the SPC do not apply to the consensual patent

Paediatric extension: it is possible to extend the term of protection of a patent or a SPC by six months for medicinal products if paediatric studies have been carried out. 

Annuities: the annual maintenance fees shall be payable for the third and every subsequent year, counting from the filing date of the application.

Annuity grace period: annuities can be paid with a 100% fine within a further six-month period.

Marking of patented goods: not compulsory.

Text of marking: not provided for.

Amendment of issued patent: not feasible.

Modification of Protection after Granting

Disputes about ownership: a suit can be filed with the court during the whole period of validity of the patent.

Disputes about novelty: during the period of patent protection it can be requested that the decision on granting the patent be declared null and void. The decision is taken by the Office, and an appeal against the Office decision concerning nullity can be filed with the Board of Appeals. A lawsuit can be filed with the Administrative Court against the decision of the Board of Appeals.

Right of prior user: the inventor can request, by filing suit in the competent court, that he be proclaimed holder of the patent for the whole duration thereof.

Assignment: provided for, in written form.

Licenses: can be a contractual one, exclusive or non-exclusive, must be in written form and registered in the Patent Register.

Compulsory license: can be issued if the patent is not used or used insufficiently. The request for a compulsory license cannot be made before the expiry of a period of four years from the filing date of the patent application, or before the expiry of a period of three years from the patent granting date, if this latter period expires later. In the case of a compulsory license, the owner of the first patent shall be entitled to a cross license on reasonable terms to use the patented invention (second patent) or protected plant variety. An official license can be issued if the patent is used for obtaining unjustifiably high prices, or if the use of the patent is of general public interest in the field of health, national defense, or protection and improvement of the human environment, or of special interest for a certain branch of the economy. An official license can be issued before the term provided for filing a request for obtaining a compulsory license.

Expropriation: not provided for.

Cancellation: can be requested during the entire period of validity.

Nullification: a granting decision can be declared null and void if it is established that the conditions stipulated by the law for granting the patent did not exist (the request can be submitted during the whole duration of the patent).

Appeal: against the Office decision may be filed within thirty days after receipt of the decision. Provisions relating to the appeal came into force on June 1, 2008.

Validation of invalidated patents: not provided for.

Infringement: the protection of rights can be requested in court, which can forbid a further infringement of rights, order the defendant to bear the costs of announcing the verdict and to compensate for the damage. The suit can be brought within three years from the day when the plaintiff learned about the infringement and its perpetrator and not later than five years from the date of actual infringement. In the case of infringement of an invention concerning the preparation of a new substance, the assumption is that any substance of the same composition has been prepared according to the protected process, until the contrary has been proved. The burden of proof falls on the person who is producing such substance.

Penalties: provided for.