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Czech Republic

Intellectual property

Updated 10/2012

Legal requirements

Intellectual property law covers all legal rights over original creations such as commercial and artistic products. Protection is granted to both tangible and intangible creations (i.e. musical, literary and artistic works, ideas, discoveries and inventions, words, phrases, symbols and designs).

Intellectual property rights

Copyrights, trademarks, patents and industrial designs are the most common forms of intellectual property protection.

Industrial property rights

Industrial property rights cover:

  • technical products (inventions and utility models);
  • industrial design items (industrial models, including designs);
  • identification rights (designations of origin and trade marks);
  • other kinds of creation, such as improved integrated circuits (semiconductor topographies), or new animal breeds and farming methods.

According to the Act on Inventions and Improvements, inventions that fulfil certain conditions may be granted patents.

A utility model is a new, industrially-useful technical solution which goes beyond the bounds of mere professional know-how. For items with a lower level of inventiveness or less economic importance, a simpler quicker and less costly form of protection than a patent may be chosen for the invention.

The topography of semiconductor products is a series of fixed or coded interrelated patterns representing a three-dimensional permanent arrangement of layers.

An "industrial model" is understood to mean the appearance of a product or the parts thereof (marks of lines, outlines, colours, shape and the materials or decorations used).

A registered trade mark is a distinctive sign or indicator that allows people to distinguish your products or services from the others already on the market. It can be a name, a logo, the shape of a product or its packaging.

A "designation of origin" is understood to mean the name of an area or location identifying goods typical of such a location because of their quality or special characteristics.

A geographical indication is the name of an area that identifies goods coming from that area. Your product is entitled to geographical indication protection if it has a specific quality, reputation or other characteristic linking it to a specific geographical area where it has to be produced, processed and prepared.

The different types of identification rights are:

  • trade mark;
  • designation of origin;
  • geographical indication.

Privacy rights include the protection of your private life, reputation, human dignity and privacy.

Copyright

Copyright grants to the creator of an original piece of work exclusive rights to his/her work for a certain period. It is not necessary to register pieces of work to be entitled to protection. This intellectual property right is consequently informal.

Property rights last, unless otherwise stipulated, for the period of the author's life and for 70 years after his/her death.

Copyright includes:

  • personal rights of the author - the personal interests of the author and his/her connection to his/her work;
  • property rights of the author - the asset value of the work.

The Act on Copyright and Rights Related to Copyright is the main law covering this issue.

Databases and computer programmes are protected by the Copyright Act, if they are the author's own intellectual creation. Other criteria are not applied for determining the eligibility of computer programmes and databases for protection.

Advertising is regarded under the Copyright Act as a work of art and is protected in the same way. However, the Act does not protect actual proposals before they have been put into effect and nor does it protect ideas, processes or methods.

Multimedia: the producer of an audiovisual recording has exclusive property rights to use the audiovisual recording and to assign an entitlement to exercise this right to another by contract.

Subjects of copyright may include works of literature and other scientific and artistic works. Rights connected with copyright incude the rights of performing artists, producers of audio and audio-visual recordings, and the rights of broadcasters and publishers.

Commercial strategies

Commercial strategies may be commercially confidential and therefore classified as industrial property rights. Related concepts include know-how and confidential information.

Intellectual protection bodies

The Industrial Property Office collects all applications for intellectual property rights and decides on their eligibility.

It keeps records of all products covered by industrial property rights. The list of products is published in the Official Gazette and in its public registers.

The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the area of copyright.

Protecting intellectual rights abroad

The Czech Republic is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the European Patent Organisation, (EPO) and it is a  participating state in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS agreement) administered by the World Trade Organisation.

The following agreements apply in the area of copyright:

The list does not include the so-called Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances adopted by the Diplomaic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances in Beijing on 24 June 2012 (ratification under way).

Basic information on the membership of the Czech Republic in the main international copyright conventions and the treaties is available here:

Combating counterfeiting and piracy

At the Ministry of Industry and Trade an inter-ministerial commission for combating illegal actions in violation of intellectual property rights has been set up, the aim of which is to help increase protection and respect for intellectual property rights in the Czech Republic.

The government of the Czech Republic has drawn up an Action Plan against Piracy and Counterfeiting:

Property rights encourage investment in innovation and research.

Administrative procedures

Registration

The following links provide a more detailed description of the steps necessary for registering the following categories of intellectual and industrial property:

Obtaining certificates

The Industrial Property Office issues certificates relating to the protection of :

  • the results of technically creative activities (inventions, utility models and industrial models);
  • identification rights (designations of origin and trade marks),
  • design schemes for semiconductor products.

Resources

Information on the protection and enforcement of rights to intellectual property in the Czech Republic are available on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic:

The following governmental and non-governmental institutions and web portals offer further information and useful services on the protection of intellectual property rights.

On the Official Portal for Businesses and Export there is an area for intellectual and industrial property rights that includes in particular the following relevant articles:

On the website of the Industrial Property Office there is a list of regional centres for patent information (PATLIB):

Help & advice

Help & advice

The Industrial Property Office provides a wide range of information services:

The Industrial Property Office, in cooperation with the Czech Bar Association, Chamber of Patent Agents and the Chamber of Commerce of the Czech Republic offers links to the IPDiagnosis project.

The aim of the project is to propose to every interested party optimal solutions in the area of protecting the industrial rights of a given company.

Assistance and advice is also provided by the Chamber of Commerce of the Czech Republic, the Czech Bar Association and also the Chamber of Patent Agents:

SOLVIT helps businesses deal with problems that arise when national authorities wrongly apply EU market rules.

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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