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Intellectual Property Protection in the Republic of North Macedonia

The Republic of North Macedonia safeguards intellectual property (IP) rights through a comprehensive legal framework. This framework includes the Constitution, dedicated laws, and regulations aligned with European Union (EU) legislation as per the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA). Additionally, international agreements play a crucial role in shaping IP law within the country.

To ensure robust IP protection, North Macedonia employs a collaborative institutional system. Key entities include:

  • Customs Administration
  • Ministry of Culture
  • State Market Inspectorate
  • Ministry of Interior
  • Public Prosecution Office
  • State Office for Industrial Property (SOIP)
  • The Courts

Specific Areas of IP Protection

  • Trademarks: The SOIP oversees both domestic trademark registration (under the Industrial Property Law) and international registration via the Madrid System (administered by WIPO). All citizens and legal entities enjoy equal trademark rights.
  • Industrial Designs: The Industrial Property Law also governs the protection of industrial designs. Domestic registration is handled by the SOIP, while international protection is available through the Hague Agreement and Locarno Agreement (via WIPO).
  • Patents: To qualify for patent protection under the Industrial Property Law, inventions must demonstrate novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability. International protection options include the Patent Cooperation Treaty and the European Patent Office.
  • Copyrights and Computer Programs: Copyrights and related rights enjoy protection without formal registration procedures under the Law on Copyrights and Related Rights. Computer programs are protected as a specific form of copyright, offering potential tax benefits related to author fees.
  • Domain Names: Domain name protection requires registration via one of registers authorized by MARNET. Any legal entity established in the Republic of North Macedonia that meets the administrative and technical requirements specified by MARnet will be entitled to register .mk and (or) .mkd domains. Notably, proof of a registered trade name or trademark is not a prerequisite for domain name registration.