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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Aug 11, 2022 (Newsletter Issue 11/22)
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New Trademark Law Entered into Force

On July 28, 2022, a new Law on Trademarks entered into force in Kosovo, harmonizing local legislation with Directive (EU) 2015/2436 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to trademarks. The new Law also provides a basis for the implementation of Directive 2004/48/EC on the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The most significant changes are outlined below:

- No Requirement of Graphical Representation:
Graphical representation is no longer required when filing a trademark application.
- Literal Interpretation of Class Headings:
It is now required to precisely define the list of goods and services for which protection is sought.
- Additional Absolute and Relative Grounds for Refusal:
Additional absolute grounds for refusal are introduced. A sign cannot be registered if it conflicts with an existing designation of origin, geographical indication, traditional term for wine, traditional speciality guaranteed or plant variety.
In terms of relative grounds for refusal, a bad faith trademark application can now be opposed.
- Exhaustion of Rights:
Trademark owners cannot prohibit the importation of genuine goods bearing their trademarks after they have placed them on the market in any of the following markets: Kosovo, a member state of the EU or EEA or the Western Balkans region, or a state with which Kosovo has concluded a free trade or trade facilitation agreement.
- Trademark Infringement Scope Expanded:
The scope of trademark infringement has been expanded by establishing additional uses of similar or identical signs that may be prohibited by trademark owners, namely use of a sign as a company name, in advertising, on packaging, labels, tags and security or authenticity features or devices, and placing these on the market.
- Introduction of Disclaimers:
If a trademark includes an element that might not be considered distinctive, the IPO may require the applicant to impose a disclaimer on the non-distinctive element.
- The Non-Use Defense:
In court proceedings, the defendant may now request that the plaintiff show the use of the trademark claimed to have been infringed.
- Appeals with the Market Inspectorate:
It is now possible to enforce trademarks in an administrative procedure by filing an appeal with the Market Inspectorate against an infringer. The appeal procedure will be further elaborated in bylaws, which will be adopted by July 28, 2023.
- Other changes:
In connection with the enforcement of trademark rights, such as modification of the time frame for filing an appeal against an IPO decision, monetary compensation for the seizure and destruction of infringing goods.

For more information, please check here