Czech Republic IP Development

Czech Republic, a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), contracts in many multilateral international treaties concerning protection of industrial property such as Bern, Paris, and Universal Copyright Conventions, as well as the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Moreover, it is a member of the European Patent Organization (EPO) and joined the European Patent Convention.
 
The existing legislation provides an overall protection of intellectual property including copyrights and industrial property, which contains technical creative work (patents and utility models), design (industrial designs), rights to mark (trademarks, geographical indications and appellations of origin) and topography of semiconductor products.
 
In recent years, Czech Republic has actively integrated into the world’s intellectual property system and is trying to play its role. According to EPO, the total patent filing it received from Czech rose from 230 in 2012 to 291 in 2013—a 26.5% increase.
 
Furthermore, the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime, concerning the Criminalisation of Acts of a Racist and Xenophobic Nature Committed through Computer Systems, was entered into force in December 1, 2014, and the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property was ratified in March 12, 2015. From April 27 to April 28, 2015, National Seminar and Workshop on the Madrid System for International Registration of Marks was successfully held in Prague, the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic.
 
Founded in 1919, Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic (Czech IP Office) is a key authority in Czech's intellectual property system and it celebrated the 95th anniversary of founding in September 10, 2014.
 
Patent In Czech Republic, patents are granted for inventions which are new with inventive steps and are susceptible of industrial application. All of the new products and technologies, chemical substances, pharmaceuticals and microorganisms used in industrial production, biotechnological process and related products are patentable. However, discoveries, scientific theories, computer programs, plant or animal varieties and methods of medical treatment of human and animal body are not supposed to be patented.
 
The Czech Industrial Property Office carries out the patent procedure initiated by patent application which must include a description of the invention and patent claims, related drawings to explain the invention can also be added. After the submission of the application form, the filed application will undergo a preliminary examination so as to eliminate anything non-patentable, lacking unity or containing factors which are not to be publicized.
 
The Office publishes application together with the notes on disclosure in the Bulletin after 18 months from the priority date, with the patent being granted only after the substantive examination, which is carried out at applicants' request, and on condition that the invention complies with all requirements on patentability.
 
A patent granted in the Czech Republic is valid for 20 years from the filing date of the application and the patent owner has an exclusive right to prevent anyone from using it without preliminary approval. The right to utilize a patent is granted by a license agreement. Patents can also be sold. Patent infringements can be resolved by a court.
 
In Czech Republic which has a long tradition in industry as well as manufacturing, patents are an important driver of innovation, and patent protection has been taken extremely seriously. In recent years, the government has conducted following international cooperation to enable easier patent application and stronger patent protection.
 
a) European patents with legal effect for the Czech Republic: The Patent granted by the European Patent Office is just as effective as the national patent. However, the owner of the European Patent must hand in to the úPV (Czech Industrial Property Office), a translation of the patent specification in Czech within the statutory limitations.
 
Should he or she fail to do so, the European Patent is considered to be invalid in the Czech Republic from the very beginning. Also, to maintain the European Patent, the owner is obliged to pay a maintenance fee.
 
b) Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Pilot Programs between Czech Republic and other countries: the PPH Pilot Programs enable exchanges of information between countries and could speed up the patent procedure. The Czech IP Office has reached agreement on this program with the USA, Finland and Japan, entered into force on October 1, 2012, November 1, 2013 and April 1, 2015 respectively.
 
c) Bilateral agreements on cooperation between the IP Office and partner foreign authorities: To develop quality focused and highly productive market-driven industrial property protection system, the Czech IP Office has signed bilateral agreements with Croatia (Oct. 26, 2011), Austria (Oct. 26, 2011), Slovakia (Oct. 26, 2011), Hungary (Dec. 14, 2011), Poland (Dec. 14, 2011), Finland (May. 31, 2012), and Spain (Mar. 27, 2012).
 
Moreover, Unitary Patent Package is becoming one of the hot topics related to patent, which will make the protection of innovation cheaper and more easily accessible, especially for small business in Europe.
 
Trademark In Czech Republic, it is the Czech IP Office that carries out the trademark procedure. It needs to find out whether the application contains necessary particulars stipulated by the law and whether the designation contains factors unqualified for registration. The IP Office operates a fully automated system of trademark procedures and search system using random criteria. Once registered, the owner then acquires an exclusive right to use the trademark.
 
The protection term for a registered trademark is 10 years and with the renewal fee already paid, it can be repeatedly renewed for another 10 years on the owner's request.
 
In the territory of the Czech Republic the following trademarks are protected: a) national trademarks: trademarks registered in the Czech Republic Industrial Property Office; b) international trademarks: trademarks registered in the register maintained by the International Bureau of the WIPO on the basis of the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks and on the basis of the Protocol related to this Agreement; c) community trademarks: trademarks registered in the register maintained by the OHIM on the basis of the Council Regulation on the Community Trademark; d) well-known trademarks: trademarks which are well known in the territory of the Czech Republic within the meaning of Article 6bis of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Article of the TRIPs.
 
The latest Trademark Act was enacted in 2004, connecting the national and European systems of trademark and prepares the Czech legal environment for its accession into the EU.
 
Copyright In Czech Republic, copyright and neighboring rights are governed by the Copyright Act and its amendments.
 
The subject matter of copyright shall be a literary work or any other work of art or a scientific work, which is a unique outcome of the creative activity of the author and is expressed in any objectively perceivable manner including electronic form. Therefore, the theme of a work, the news of the day and any other fact, which lacks creative activity do not enjoy protection under the Copyright Act.
 
The protection of copyright begins once the work is completed and no formal registration is required. The copyright notice carries no virtually legal relevance, but only informative function.
 
Collective administrators also have their role in the protection of copyright in Czech Republic. There are 6 collective administrating organizations acting with authorizations granted by the Ministry of Culture, each representing certain group of right-holders: a) DILIA: representing authors of literary, dramatic, dramatico-musical, choreographic works, entertainments in dumb show, scenic music created specifically for the use in a dramatic or choreographic work or a dumb show, as well as dubbing directors; b) OSA: representing authors of musical works containing text or without text, i.e., musical composers and lyricists; c) INTEGRAM: representing performing artists and producers of audio and audiovisual recordings; d) OOA-S: representing authors of works of art, e.g., paintings, graphic works, sculptures, photographic works, as well as authors of the visual part of audio-visual works, i.e., directors of photography, architects, stage designers and other authors of the visual part of audio-visual works; e) GESTOR: representing authors of works of art in enforcement of their right to compensation for resale of an original work of art; f ) OAZA: representing sound engineers-authors.




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