The new Law on Patents enters into force in Kosovo

Law No. 08/L-059 on Patents (“Law on Patents”) was approved by the Assembly of Kosovo. Without exception to this case, the drafters of the Law ensured its approximation with the EU acquis. Though not significantly different from the previous law that was in force since 2011, the new law is more rigid when it comes to prohibiting the infringement of patent rights.

In accordance with EU directives, under the Kosovar Law too, a patent can be obtained for a novel, non-obvious and useful inventions only. Even if these criteria are fulfilled, certain inventions cannot be patented, namely do not constitute patentable subject matter under our Law. Such matters include a) discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods; b) aesthetic creations; c) schemes, rules, and methods for performing mental acts playing games or doing business, and programs for computers; d) presentation of information.

The Law on Patents has not experienced any amendments concerning the term of a patent, which remains 20 years from the day of its filing. The Industrial Property Agency (“IPA”) remains the central body to accept patent registration applications.

When applying for a patent, the applicant can apply for a priority right, which is in force starting from the moment of application. Upon successful application, patents are granted for a period of 20 years. This period is accompanied by an annual maintenance fee, which starts from the third year of the issuance of the patent.

One of the main changes introduced by the new Law on Patents is the importance put on the infringement of patent rights. Upon the claim of a patent holder for a certain infringement, an expedited procedure is initiated, which can result in IPA issuing a decision to annul a wrongful patent. The Law obliges IPA to work in a fair and equitable manner and to avoid unnecessary procedural delays. On the other hand, in accordance with the new law, the parties now have thirty days to appeal IPA’s decisions, whereas the prior deadline was fifteen days from the day of receiving the decision.

In addition to the expedited procedure, heavier fines are now imposed upon the wrongdoers in cases of non-compliance with the Law on Patents, as opposed to the 2011 Law.