In Croatia, trademark registration is mandatory to be granted rights over a trademark, as it is a "first to file" jurisdiction. Extensive use of an unregistered mark can prevent the use or registration of a similar mark by a third party, but would not grant actual rights over the trademark.
To obtain trademark protection in Croatia, one can register either locally via the State Intellectual Property Office of Croatia (DZIV), or regionally by filing a European Union Trademarks (EUTM) which grants protection in the whole European Union.
Croatia is also a member state to the Madrid Protocol. Thus, the extension of an international registration of a trademark via the Madrid System is possible for this country. For further information regarding our services for trademark filing through the Madrid System click here.
It is not necessary for a trademark to be in use at the time of application or registration. However, prior use may be useful as it can help overcome an objection raised on the grounds of lack of distinctiveness.
If you register a combined trademark (which includes both word elements and figurative elements) in Croatia, the exclusive right to use the trademark is limited to a use of the trademark is limited to a use of the trademark in the exact configuration or way in which it was filed and registered. If you wish to use the word element of your trademark separately from the logo (or vice versa), it is recommended you register for another trademark including only the word or figurative elements you wish to use and protect separately.
Nevertheless, if a third party eventually intends to register or use a trademark for similar goods or services that includes a primary or distinct part or portion of your trademark, you will have the right to oppose the application based on confusing similarity.
Opposition actions can be filed against a trademark application during a period of three (2) months following the publication in the Croatian Intellectual Property Gazette. The probabilities of success for an opposition will vary in each case depending on the circumstances.
Although prior use of a trademark is not a requirement for registration, if a registered trademark is not used in Croatia during a period of five (5) years, it will become vulnerable to cancellation actions for non-use.
Registered trademarks in Croatia have a validity of ten (10) years from the application date. They can then be renewed indefinitely for successive periods of ten (10) years. The trademark renewal can be requested as early as twelve (12) months before the expiration date as well as during a grace period of six (6) months after it, upon payment of additional fees for late renewal.