Montenegro – TM Law amendments in 2023

July 5, 2023

Following the example of other countries, the new TM Law no longer requires a graphical representation of the mark.

Under the new provisions, a mark can now consist of a personal name and can also be in the form of a sound, without the need for musical notation as was previously mandated.

The focus of the new Law is also speeding the registration proceedings by shortening the timeline in the examination procedure. Therefore, the deadlines which used to be 60 days, have now been shortened to 30 days. Those deadlines that could previously be extended for a maximum of 60 days now are limited to 30 days.

Further, significant changes have been made to the procedure relating to third-party observations. According to the recent amendments, the competent authority is now obligated to notify the applicant about any observations made by third parties (a “party” who is not subject to the proceedings), allowing the applicant a 15-day period to respond.

Additionally, as a consequence of the harmonization of the TM Law with the EU Directive, the grounds for refusal based on absolute and relative issues have been expanded. The amendments regarding absolute grounds refer to traditional terms for wine, guaranteed traditional specialties, and plant varieties. The amendments regarding relative grounds for refusal are wider. For example, the owner of the trade mark, that files the opposition, could be from any country, and no longer only from member countries of the Paris Convention or WTO; a trade mark application will be refused, if it can be confused with an earlier trade mark registered in another country, provided that at the time of filing the application, the applicant did not act in good faith.

In addition to the entities already authorized by the Trade mark Law to initiate opposition or cancellation procedures, the amendments introduce the new term “party with interest” and any party authorized by Montenegrin or EU laws related to geographical indications.

However, the most significant change relates to the cancellation and invalidation actions, as the Commercial Court of Montenegro is no longer involved. Instead, these procedures have been transferred from the Court to the competent Administrative body.

On April 24, 2023, Montenegro ratified the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trade marks, which is set to enter into force in Montenegro on July 24, 2023.

The Singapore Treaty establishes internationally recognized standards for administrative procedures in trade mark registration. Building upon the Trade Mark Law Treaty of 1994 (TLT), the Singapore Treaty has a broader scope and addresses advancements in communication technologies. It applies to all types of marks eligible for registration under the laws of the respective Contracting Party.

Category: Montenegro
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