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Croatia join European Union

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EU flagCroatia joined the European Union today, 1 July 2013, to become the 28th member state of the union.

Croatia’s accession to the EU has an impact on Community Trade Marks (CTMs), Registered Community Designs and potentially the unitary patent system. 

IPcopyben has previously posted about the impact on CTMs and Community Designs and his earlier post can be found here. The mere act of joining the EU will not impact upon any national patents that are filed in Croatia. The EUROPA press release notes:

Are Croatian patents going to automatically apply within the entire territory of the EU?

No, Croatian patents are the “national titles” which cannot be enforced outside Croatia, not even after accession. But the same principle applies to German, Portuguese, etc patents; this leads to a fragmented market which prompted the EU to adopt the unitary-patent system.

However, now that they are a member of the European Union, Croatia will be free to join the enhanced cooperation regime that the unitary patent system is being supplied under. They will also be able to sign the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court if they wish. As such Croatia may join the Ratification Game and could potentially be one of the first 13 states to ratify the UPC Agreement and usher in the unitary patent system.

If Croatia join the unitary patent system then they will also contribute to the issue we raised with respect to Malta, namely could Malta (or Croatia) limit the number of patent applications that could be eligible to become unitary patents?

Mark Richardson 1 July 2013


  1. Olle says:

    When I spoke to the Swedish Dept. of Justice some time ago, they confirmed the problem with Croatia: as Croatia was not a member before Jan. 1 2008, all EP application filed before that date cannot qualify as a Unified patent.

  2. ipcopyemily says:

    Hi Olle,

    Really interested to hear that you got an answer out of the Swedish Department of Justice on this – everyone we’ve ever addressed the question to (or the related Malta question) has shrugged it off and avoided giving us an answer! We’d be interested to know who you spoke to, and what question you put to them if you’re able to let us know. Feel free to drop us a line at blog@keltie.com if you’d like to keep it out of the public comments!

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