EC report: BiH moderately prepared in the field of intellectual property rights
Mostar, October 20, 2021 - Bosnia and Herzegovina is moderately prepared in the field of intellectual property rights, according to the European Commission's annual report on progress in the process of European integration.
In the coming year, Bosnia and Herzegovina is expected to make significant efforts, primarily to improve implementation and coordination. In particular, Bosnia and Herzegovina should implement the strategy on enforcement of intellectual property rights and amend the Law on Patents.
Last year, the BiH Council of Ministers adopted a Decision on the establishment of an Interagency Body for Cooperation in the Field of Acquisition and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will base its work on measures and recommendations given in the Development Strategy of the BiH Institute for Intellectual Property and the Strategy for the Implementation of Intellectual Property Rights in BiH, which is the basis for defining and establishing a comprehensive and efficient system for the enforcement of intellectual property rights in accordance with the requirements of accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the European Union (EU).
Regarding the amendment of the Law on Patents, in the procedure of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH is the Proposal of the Law on Amendments to the Law on Patents, which was sent by the Council of Ministers of BiH at the proposal of the Institute for Intellectual Property of BiH, which would fully harmonize this law with the current acquis communautaire and fulfil the obligations under the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA).
With regard to copyright and neighbouring rights, the legislative framework is largely aligned with the EU acquis. Further alignment is needed, in particular in the area of orphan works and collective rights management. Copyright works and related rights were deposited and registered in the IIP. Six organisations in the country are authorised for the collective management of copyright and related rights, states the EC report.
In the area of industrial property rights, the legislative framework is partially aligned with the EU acquis. Further alignment is needed, in particular for patents, trademarks and trade secrets. Bosnia and Herzegovina has acceded to the relevant multilateral conventions, as required by the SAA, except for the European Patent Convention, for which it still has to adopt relevant amendments to the Law on Patents.
Regarding enforcement, „in the reporting period the Indirect Taxation Authority received only 69 requests for customs measures based on protected trademarks and issued 57 decisions on temporary retention and seizure of goods. The State Investigation and Protection Agency investigated only 36 cases of which 6 were closed while the remaining 30 cases are still under investigation “.
„The administrative and judicial capacity of the enforcement institutions remains insufficient and their cooperation needs to be strengthened. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s strategy on IPR enforcement has yet to be implemented. The country still does not have a reliable system for collecting and analysing data nor for exchanging data between the various enforcement institutions. Steps need to be taken to ensure businesses and consumers are involved in preventing counterfeiting and piracy, including through awareness-raising campaigns, across all enforcement institutions. Prosecutors, judges and court panels handling cases involving intellectual property law need to be more specialised to handle such cases in a more efficient and consistent manner”, the European Commission report said.
European Commission adopted an enlargement package for 2021 on October 19th, giving a detailed assessment of the current situation and progress made by the Western Balkans and Turkey on their path to the European Union, with particular emphasis on implementing fundamental reforms, as well as clear guidelines on forthcoming reform priorities.