Serbia significantly improved its system of protection of intellectual property and largely increased the potential for EU membership
Belgrade, July 11, 2012 - Today, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel a ceremony was held to mark the completion of the EU project "Support to the establishment of the Education and Information Centre (EIC) of the Intellectual Property Office of Serbia". At this event, the results achieved by project were presented which included the establishment of the Educational and Information Centre within the scope of the Intellectual Property Office, as well as various activities supporting the Intellectual Property (IP) stakeholders in Serbia.
The project worth 2.2 million Euro was financed by the European Union and co-financed by the European Patent Office. For the period of three and a half years it was implemented by the European Patent Office, in cooperation with the Intellectual Property Office of Serbia.
"The European Union is a strong proponent of the protection of intellectual property rights in Europe, which is the basis for creativeness and innovation and the key to jobs and economic growth in Europe. With this project, the EU has helped Serbia improve significantly its system for protection of intellectual property (IP), which is not only important for further integration with the EU, but will significantly benefit Serbian businesses, consumers and the economy at large", stated ambassador Degert, head of EU delegation to Serbia, at the final event.
The main objective of the project was to raise public awareness about the importance of intellectual property. The fact that over 186 training events took place during the project, where a total of over 5,500 people participated, and that all these developments had extensive media coverage, certainly had an impact on increasing the overall public awareness of the importance of IP.
"In 2011 alone, throughout Serbia we held 72 trainings and seminars on different IP topics, for 2,500 participants. The experts of the EIC explained the importance of protecting intellectual property to enable businesses to gain a competitive advantage, and better promote the products on the domestic and foreign markets. The EIC was present in all major trade fairs and exhibitions of innovations in Serbia, "said Branka Totić, director of the Intellectual Property Office.
Having a wide variety of new services to offer to its users, the newly established EIC has brought a number of benefits to the Intellectual Property Office. One of the services intended for SMEs that has been developed during the project is the IP Pre-diagnosis – a service where the experts from the Intellectual Property Office are helping the company management to identify and manage their intellectual property.
The project also significantly contributed to the improved co-operation between the Intellectual Property Office and all enforcement institutions: courts, prosecutors, police, customs and inspectorates, which are involved in the protection of IP and fight against counterfeiting and piracy.
It is also important to note that through the project, the Intellectual Property Office has established a network of IP stakeholders in Serbia. It has concluded co-operation agreements with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and 11 regional chambers of commerce, and established cooperation with universities with regards to teaching IP at various faculties.
The protection of intellectual property is extremely important so that scientific research results can be used in practice by the industry. The Centre for technology transfer established at the University of Belgrade through the project will contribute to improve the application and implementation of research results of the Belgrade University and its research institutes.
The closing event at the Hyatt Regency Hotel was attended by Branka Totić, director of the Intellectual Property Office of Serbia, Žarko Obradović, Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia, Vincent Degert, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union in Serbia, Raimund Lutz, vice president of the European Patent Office, David Jelerčič, Project Director from the European Patent Office and Marko Ivetić, Vice rector of the University of Belgrade.
Raising the level of awareness on IP, particularly the level of training of the institutions responsible for combating counterfeiting and piracy in Serbia, significantly improved its system of IP protection and brought it closer to EU standards. This has certainly brought Serbia one step closer to European Union membership.