IP Overview of Czech Republic

2013/07/05,Provided by PATENTSERVIS Praha a.s. in Czech Republic,[Comprehensive Reports]

The Czech Republic is a signatory to the Bern, Paris, and Universal Copyright Conventions. In 2001, the government ratified the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty on Performances and Phonograms. In 2002 the Czech Republic joined the Convention on the Grant of European Patents. At the end of the last century, it entered into close cooperation with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante. The existing legislation guarantees protection of all kinds of intellectual property, including patents, utility models, industrial designs, topographies of semiconductor products, copyrights, trademarks and designations of origin and geographical indications.
The process of adopting the acquis communitaire and the Europeanization of industrial property protection in the Czech Republic has been finished. All the relevant Community legislation on the protection of industrial property, including directive on the protection of biotechnological inventions, the regulation on the extended protection of pharmaceutical inventions via supplementary protection certificates (SPC), directive on the protection of designs and directive on enforcement of intellectual property rights, have been transposed into Czech legislation. The specific issues of intellectual property protection include the means of observing rights to intellectual property and the opportunity of enforcing these rights. The fight against product piracy and trade in counterfeit goods is one of the priorities of public policy in state administration relating to the protection of intellectual property.
Patents in the Czech Republic are granted for inventions which meet the requirements set out in the Patent Law. Patents are granted for any invention which is new, which involves an inventive step and which is susceptible to industrial application. Discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, mere appearance of products, plans, rules and methods for performing mental acts, computer programs (as such), mere presentation of information are not patentable.  Neither can patent be granted for inventions that are contrary to public order, particularly to humanity and morality principles, further for prevention, diagnostics and treatment of humans and
animals, plant varieties and animal breeds as well as biological methods of growing and breeding thereof.
The patent owner has an exclusive right to employ the protected invention, to authorize approval for exploitation thereof by other persons (license agreement) and also has a right to assign the patent to another person. The exclusive right also relates to goods that is the direct result of the protected manufacturing process.
The protection period for patent is 20 years, while the protection period for a utility model is 4 years, which can be extended twice, 3 years each.
For any of the following, no patent right shall be granted: separable human organs, animal and plant varieties, traditional knowledge, methods for the diagnosis or for the treatment of diseases of people and animals etc.
In 2004 the new Trademark Act entered into force. Under the terms of this Act, a trademark may consist of any sign capable of being represented graphically, particularly words, including personal names, colours, designs, letters, numerals, the shape of goods or their packaging, provided that such sign is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of another undertaking.
In the territory of the Czech Republic the following trademarks are protected:
a) trademarks registered in the Register of tradmarks maintained by the Industrial Property Office (national trademarks);
b) trademarks registered with effects for the Czech Republic in the register maintained by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organisation on the basis of an international application within the meaning of the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks or of the Protocol to the Madrid Agreement (international trademarks);
c) trademarks registered in the register maintained by the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market on the basis of the Council Regulation on the Community trademark (Community trademarks);
d) 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 of Article 16 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (well known trademarks). The protection period for a trademark is 10 years. The renewal of a trademark must be applied within the last year of the term concerned. An additional grace period of 6 month may also be granted with a 100% increase in the renewal fee. Failure to renew the trademark before the expiration date, or within the grace period, shall lead the trademark to lapse and the owner shall not be entitled to requesting a restoration thereof.
Literary works enjoy copyright protection for from 50 to 70 years since December 1st, 2000. The customs service and the Czech Commercial Inspection have legal authority to seize counterfeit goods. A 2006 amendment to the Law on Civil Procedure made ex-parte search more accurate, clearer and easier to apply and enforce. The amendment also made it easier to define and recover losses caused to owners by piracy. At present, Czech is practicing a small scale amendment on Copyright Law which has been passed by the parliament first review. The implementation of this amendment will further enhance intellectual property protection in Czech.

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