Intellectual Property Rights Protection in the Republic of Croatia


Protection Procedure

The procedure is initiated by filing an application for a trademark registration before The State Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia (SIPO).

Along with the application form, the applicant must provide accompanying documents, including the power of attorney (if represented by an authorized representative), and proof of payment of the application fees. The application can be filed online.

Upon receiving the application, the SIPO will proceed with a formal examination, ensuring that all necessary documents are submitted in accordance with the Trademark Act and Trademark Regulation. Next, the SIPO will conduct a substantive examination to determine if the proposed mark meets the criteria for registration, including distinctiveness and non-descriptiveness.

If the application passes the examination, SIPO will publish it in the Official Gazette. Any third person can oppose the application within three months starting from the day of publication.

If nobody opposes the trademark, the applicant will be invited to pay the registration fees upon which the trademark will be registered, and the applicant will receive the Registration Certificate.

The entire process, from application to registration, usually takes around six months, provided that no objections or oppositions arise.

Once registered, the trademark is valid for ten years starting from the date of filing the application and can be renewed indefinitely for further periods of ten years. Registration fees can be paid within a six-month grace period upon expiration of the due date.

As Croatia is part of the European Union, European trademarks have legal effect in Croatia, and vice versa.

Croatia is also a member state of the Madrid Protocol. Thus, the extension of an international registration of a trademark via the Madrid System is possible.


Under the Trademark Act in Croatia, several civil remedies are prescribed for trademark infringement:

  1. The court can issue injunctions ordering the infringing party to cease the infringing activities immediately. This prevents further unauthorized use of the trademark.
  2. The trademark owner can seek compensation for any damages suffered as a result of the infringement. Damages may include lost profits, harm to reputation, or other economic losses.
  3. Account of Profits: The court may order the infringing party to provide an account of the profits derived from the infringing activities. This allows the trademark owner to claim a portion or all of the profits made by the infringer through unauthorized use of the trademark.
  4. Seizure and Destruction of Infringing Goods: The court can order the seizure and destruction of goods bearing the infringing trademark, as well as any materials used in the production of such goods.
  5. Publication of Judgments.

An action for the infringement of a trademark, or for the infringement of rights conferred by an application, may be brought within a period of three years from the day on which the plaintiff learned of the infringement and the infringer, and not later than within five years from the day on which the infringement was committed for the first time.

The trademark owner can send a cease and desist letter to the infringer, demanding that they stop using the infringing mark. However, this is not obligatory.

Geographical Indications

Geographical indications play a significant role in Croatia’s agricultural and food sectors, helping to protect the unique qualities and reputations of regional products. Croatia recognizes two main types of geographical indications: Geographical Indications and Designations of Origin. Geographical indications indicate that a product possesses specific qualities, reputation, or other characteristics attributable to its geographical origin, while designations of origin highlight that the product’s quality or characteristics are essentially or exclusively due to its geographical origin.

Here are just a few examples of the many Croatian Geographical Indications (GI) and Designations of Origin (DO): Istrian Olive Oil, Pag Cheese, Slavonian Kulen, Dalmatian Prosciutto, Maraschino Liqueur.


The patent registration procedure is initiated by filing an application for the grant of a patent with the SIPO. It is necessary to furnish a completed request for the grant of a patent, accompanying documents, and proof of payment of the costs involved.

The grant procedure consists of:

  1. Filing an application with the SIPO;
  2. Formal examination of the application by the SIPO;
  3. Publication of the patent application in the Official Gazette of the SIPO;
  4. Request for substantive examination – within six months from the publication date of the patent application in the Official Gazette, the applicant files a request for substantive examination, which can be carried out by the SIPO or by some other authority. This includes evaluating the invention’s novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability.
  5. Examination report: The SIPO issues an examination report summarizing the results of the substantive examination. This report may include objections, requests for clarification, or suggestions for amendment of the patent application to meet the requirements for patentability.
  6. Response to the examination results: The patent applicant has the opportunity to respond to the examination report by addressing any objections raised by the SIPO, amending the claims or description of the invention if necessary, or providing additional information or arguments to support the patentability of the invention.
  7. Final Decision: Based on the examination report and any responses received from the applicant, the SIPO makes a final decision on the patent application. If the invention meets the criteria for patentability, the SIPO grants the patent. If there are unresolved issues or objections, the SIPO may request further clarification or amendments from the applicant before making a final decision.
Patents last for 20 years from the date of filing the application.

Except for patents, inventors can apply for utility models. Here are the main characteristics of utility models:

  • Utility models protect inventions that are new and industrially applicable but do not necessarily require an inventive step.
  • Utility models have a shorter duration of protection, lasting for 10 years from the filing date of the application.
  • They cover mechanical inventions, such as machines, devices, tools, and mechanical components.
  • Utility models undergo a formal examination by the SIPO to ensure compliance with formal requirements but do not require a substantive examination for an inventive step.
  • Utility models are granted for incremental improvements or modifications to existing technology, which may not meet the threshold of inventive step required for a patent.
  • A utility model can be converted into a patent if it undergoes the procedure of substantive examination.
Effect of European Patents

European patents, granted by the European Patent Office (EPO), do not have direct legal effect in Croatia. However, once granted, a European patent can be validated in Croatia. Once validated, the European patent provides the same rights and protections in Croatia as a national patent.

The validation request shall be filed within 3 months after the date on which the grant of the European Patent was published in the Official European Patent Bulletin.

In order to validate the patent, the applicant must file the validation request along with the English translation of the patent file and Croatian translation of the patent claims.

European patents validated in Croatia are subject to the same rules regarding amendment and revocation as national patents. They can be amended or revoked through administrative procedures or court actions if necessary.

Copyright Protection

Copyright protection in Croatia is governed by the Copyright and Related Rights Act. Copyright arises automatically upon the creation of an original work in a tangible form of expression, without the need for registration. In Croatia, there is no formal process for the deposition of copyright. However, creators may choose to deposit their works with certain organizations or institutions for archival or documentation purposes. While this does not affect the copyright status of the work, it can serve as evidence of the work’s creation and ownership in case of disputes or infringement claims.

Copyright protects literary, artistic, and scientific works, including books, music, films, and software. It grants exclusive rights to the creator, including the right to reproduce, distribute, and publicly perform or display the work. Copyright typically lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years after their death.

Industrial Design

Industrial design protection covers the ornamental or aesthetic aspects of an object, such as its shape, configuration, pattern, or decoration. Industrial design protection in Croatia is regulated by the Industrial Design Act.

The procedure is initiated by filing an application for an industrial design registration with the SIPO, consisting of the following phases:

  1. Filing an application along with representations or drawings of the design.
  2. Formal examination – SIPO will not examine the novelty, individual character, or similarity to already existing applications or registrations.
  3. Registration and Publication of the registered industrial design in the Official Gazette of the SIPO.

After registration, industrial designs may be subject to cancellation proceedings if they do not meet legal requirements or if there are grounds for invalidity. Any interested party can file a cancellation request with the SIPO, providing reasons and evidence to support the request.

Once registered, industrial design protection lasts for up to 25 years, with an initial term of five years, renewable in five-year increments.

New Varieties of Plants

The registration of agricultural plant varieties in the Republic of Croatia is conducted by the Croatian Agency for Agriculture and Food. The Variety List of the Republic of Croatia serves as the official registry of recognized plant species varieties within the country. Currently, there are approximately 900 varieties of agricultural plants and vegetables listed on the Variety List of the Republic of Croatia.

Border Enforcement

Border enforcement in cases of intellectual property infringement is carried out by customs authorities. Requests for measures can be made by the European union request for measures.

Customs authorities will temporarily detain goods suspected of infringing any intellectual property rights, and they will remain under customs supervision until the prescribed customs procedure is concluded. This provides the rights holder with the opportunity to inspect the goods, take samples, and conduct examinations to determine whether infringement has occurred or if the product is indeed original. The rights holder may request the destruction of goods temporarily seized in customs proceedings if it is determined that they infringe their intellectual property rights, or they may initiate appropriate judicial proceedings for the protection of intellectual property rights before the competent commercial court. Customs administration may also initiate misdemeanor proceedings in this process and may file a criminal complaint with the competent state prosecutor’s office if there is reasonable suspicion that a criminal offense against intellectual property has been committed.

Criminal Liability

IP protection through criminal law aims to deter and punish serious forms of IP infringement, safeguarding the rights of IP owners and promoting innovation, creativity, and fair competition. In Croatia, it is governed by the Criminal Code, which includes provisions related to IP offenses such as:

  • Prohibition of the production, distribution, sale, or possession of counterfeit goods, including counterfeit trademarks, copyrighted works, and patented products. Offenders may face penalties such as fines and imprisonment.
  • Trademark infringement, which involves the unauthorized use of trademarks that are identical or confusingly similar to registered trademarks.
  • Copyright infringement, including the unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or public performance of copyrighted works such as books, music, films, and software.
  • Patent infringement, which involves the unauthorized manufacturing, use, or sale of patented inventions.

Criminal law may also prohibit the theft or unauthorized disclosure of trade secrets, which are valuable confidential information used in business operations.