Adoption of the amendments to the Serbian IP laws – a step closer to reaching EU standards

by ZS Law

Last week Serbian Parliament adopted amendments to three significant IP laws – Law on Protection of Copyright and Related Rights, Law on Patents and Law on the Protection of Topography of Semiconductors products, which will enter into force on 26th September 2019. By adoption of the aforementioned amendments, Serbia introduced many important changes in national legislation and got a step closer to reaching European standards. 

Law on Amendment to the Law on Protection of Copyright and Related Rights

The most important novelties in Serbian IP laws have been introduced with respect to the protection of copyright and related rights. First and foremost, adopted amendments significantly increased the level of protection of performers, authors of software and database producers. 

As regards the most important novelties related to the protection of performers, for the first time in Serbia, the actors gained the right to remuneration in case of broadcasting and making their broadcasted or recorded performance available to the public. Furthermore, performers now enjoy greater protection when interacting with audio producers as the newly adopted amendments prescribe that in case the performance is recorded on phonogram within 50 years upon its creation, the duration of performers’ rights to exploitation is extended from 50 to 70 years as of the first publication of such phonogram. Besides mentioned, according to the new rules, performers have right to terminate the licence agreement with phonogram producer if the phonogram producer, after 50 years from the moment the phonogram with the recorded performance was published, does not offer copies of the phonogram for sale in sufficient quantity or fails to make it available to the public. Additionally, audio producers’ rights are also extended from 50 to 70 years if the phonogram was lawfully published in 50 years term.

When it comes to the protection of authors of software, the changes are numerous, but some of the most important are the following. Firstly, amendments clarified that an employee, who made a software, is entitled to require additional remuneration for exploitation of such program by their employer in the employment agreement. Secondly, owners of a copy of the software are entitled to (only in the case it is necessary to achieve interoperability of subject software): 

1) permanent or temporary reproduction of a software by any means and in any form, in part or in whole,
2) correction of errors within the software in line with its purpose,
3) loading, displaying, running, transmitting or storing software if necessary for its reproduction and
4) translation, adaptation, arrangement and any other alteration of a software and its repoduced results.

Furthermore, the changes also regulate the possibility of de-compilation of software as the last resort for achieving interoperability with the other separate software. In the end, as regards database producers, the law now clearly draws a line between the protection of database as copyright and as a related right, prescribing that database may be deemed as work of authorship if the selection and layout of the content of database reach the level of originality required by the law. Except for the aforementioned amendments related to performers, authors of software and database producers, important novelties introduced in our legal system relate to enforcement of copyrights and related rights as well. In that manner, it is now prescribed that revision as a legal remedy may be filed in cases of copyright or related rights infringement when the subject of the proceding is not related to the pecuniary claims. Furthermore, the amendments introduced the possibility to file injunctions against intermediaries whose services are used by third parties to infringe copyright or related rights. Additionally, more power has been vested in courts meaning that court is now authorized to request information about alleged infringement not only from the infringer, but from any person found in possession of the infringing goodson a commercial basis, found to be using infringing services on a commercial basis or providing such services, or any person indicated as being involved in the production, manufacture or distribution of the goods or the provision of the services. Besides, courts now has the power to order seizure of movable or immovable property or blocking of alleged infringer’s bank accounts as precautionary measures.

In the end, according to the novielties introduced, scope of the claims which the plaintiff may request in a lawsuit in the case of a copyright or related right infringement or a serious threat that the right will be infringedare widen and now include the following:

1) finding a violation of the right or a serious threat that the right will be violated
2) prohibition of actions that infringe the right or actions that pose a serious threat that the right will be violated, as well as a prohibition on repetition of such or similar actions under the threat of payment of an adequate amount of money to the plaintiff
3) compensation for material and non-material damage
4) exclusion from circulation, confiscation or destruction, or modification, without any compensation, of the infringed items, including copies of the protected items, their packaging, dies, negatives and similar
5) prohibition of alienation, confiscation or destruction, without any compensation, materials and objects predominantly used in the creation or production of infringing objects
6) publication of the judgment on the defendant’s expense
7) providing information on third parties who participated in the infringement of rights.

Law on Amendment to the Law on Patents

As regards the novelties introduced to the Law on Patents, they relate to the innovations created during employment. Namely, it is prescribed that the employer may file a patent application in case the innovation was created by the employee up to one year after employment had ended. Furthermore, it is prescribed that if the employer is designated as the patent holder, the inventor is authorised to receive compensation for the innovation, which does not have to correlate to the economic effects of the invention, as it was prescribed in the previous version of the Law on Patents. Additionally, the inventor is not entitled to receive additional compensation if the invention is licensed to third parties.

Law on Amendment Law on the Protection of Topography of Semiconductors products

In the end, Serbia has changed the Law on the Protection of Topography of Semiconductors products as well, which regulates the protection of the producers of microchips and processors for hardware and TVs. However, smaller changes introduced to this law are more important from the aspect of foreign investors. 

If you have any questions or need further information please contact Slobodan Kremenjak and Kruna Savović, Intellectual Property, Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Partners at and or any of your regular contacts at Živković Samardžić.

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