The Law on Amendments to the Law on Patents (“Official Gazette of the RS”, No. 123/2021, the “Law“), entered into force on 23 December 2021, and its goal is, as stated in the Intellectual Property Office of the Republic Serbia, harmonization with the latest regulations of the European Union in the field of protection of inventions, as well as the elimination of certain shortcomings that have been noticed in the application of the Law on Patents.

It is envisaged that a medicine or medical product, which is protected by a certificate of additional protection, will be able to be produced or stored in Serbia only for the purpose of export, provided that the packaging of that medicine or medical product is marked with special markings.

Also, the production of a medicine or medical product can start at the earliest six months before the expiration of the validity of the certificate for storage on the territory of Serbia, in order to be placed on the Serbian market after the expiration of the appropriate certificate.

The supplementary protection certificate is a territorial right and represents an extension of the validity of the patent for a maximum of five years.

The law also introduced certain changes in connection with the filing of a patent application.

Thus, it is prescribed that the application for which the filing date is recognized cannot be subsequently changed by changing or expanding the case whose protection is sought. In this regard, it is envisaged that changes and additions to the data contained in the application may be made until a decision is made on the patent application.

Prior to receiving the search report, the patent applicant may not change the description, patent claims and draft application, and upon receipt of the search report, the applicant may amend them himself. The amended patent claims may not relate to patent application elements for which no search report has been made and which are not related to an invention or group of inventions constituting a single inventive concept, for which protection was originally sought. In addition to filing the amended parts of the patent application, the applicant also submits statements on which parts of the patent application have been amended and which parts of the patent application originally filed form the basis for the amendments. Otherwise, the competent authority may invite him to submit these allegations within one month from the date of receipt of the invitation.

Pursuant to the Law, the competent authority may grant only one patent if two or more applications for the same invention have been filed with the same recognized filing date, ie priority date, by the same applicants or their legal successors.

The Law expanded the subject of protection of small patents, in order to create a more favourable environment for encouraging innovative activities that will contribute to market competitiveness and growth of economic development.

Thus, it is prescribed that a small patent can protect a product and not just a solution related to the construction of a product or the arrangement of its components. Thus, products that are not characterized by a construction solution, and which can be significant on the market, will be able to achieve protection with a small patent.

In addition to the above, exceptions are prescribed, ie. inventions that cannot be protected by a small patent, and which relate to inventions in the field of biotechnology, substances, drugs, substances or compositions contained in the state of the art used in surgical or diagnostic or treatment procedures, plant varieties or animal breeds.

With regard to the procedure for examining a small patent, it is prescribed that specific actions be taken in the present procedure, ie that the subject matter of the invention stated in the application is not examined for novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability.

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