The following are the main legal acts regulating the protection of intellectual property:
Intellectual property rights
Industrial property rights
There are three ways to obtain a patent in Lithuania:
National path - by a direct application to the State Patent Bureau
Regional path - certain agreements provide the opportunity to register the patent in a group of countries which are signatories to the agreement. An applicant interested in acquiring the protection in these countries have the opportunity to submit one application in the Regional Intellectual Property Office.
Regional Intellectual Property Offices for patents are as follows:
International path - the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) administers the treaties in the field of patents. Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) offers the possibility to file a patent application for the protection of invention in any single, several or all PCT member states. In order that the company could make use of the PCT system, it actually has to carry out industrial or commercial activities in one of these countries. The application may be submitted either to national or regional patent office and/or to the office of WIPO dealing with PCT applications.
Exclusive design rights can be obtained through the:
- National path - by applying directly to the State Patent Bureau;
- Regional path - under the EU Council Regulation on Community designs, designs registered with the EU Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market (OHIM) are protected in Lithuania;
- International path - under the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs.
There are currently three ways to register exclusive rights to a trademark in Lithuania:
- National path - by applying directly to the State Patent Bureau;
- Regional path - under the EU Council Regulation on the Community trade mark, a trademark registered as a Community trademark with the OHIM is protected in Lithuania;
- International path - the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks covers Lithuania.
Protection of copyright and related rights is regulated in Lithuania by the Law on Copyright and Related Rights.
The said law provides for:
- copyright to literary, scientific and artistic works (copyright);
- the rights of performers, producers of phonograms, broadcasting organisations and producers of the first fixation of an audiovisual work (film) (related rights);
- the rights of the creators of databases (sui generis rights);
- exercise, collective administration and enforcement of copyright and related rights, as well as the exercise and enforcement ofsui generis rights.
No special procedures are needed to protect copyright. Authors' rights to literary, scientific and artistic works commence upon their creation.
Authors' economic rights run for the life of the author and for 70 years after the author's death.
Related rights run for 50 years after the day of the performance, fixation, or public transmission of a broadcast.
The rights of the creators of databases are protected for 15 years from the date of the database compilation.
Intellectual protection bodies
The following bodies are responsible for intellectual property protection in Lithuania:
Protecting intellectual rights abroad
The Parliament has ratified the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, which provides for the possibility to register industrial designs in Lithuania internationally.
Lithuania has ratified the following conventions and treaties in the area of copyright and related rights:
- Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works;
- International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations;
- Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms;
- World Intellectual Property Organization Performances and Phonograms Treaty;
- World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty.
Lithuania joined the World Intellectual Property Organization in April 1992.
Combating counterfeiting and piracy
The protection of intellectual property rights is being implemented in Lithuania through the application of civil, administrative and criminal measures.
The Intellectual property protection division of the Crime Investigation Board of the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau carries out investigations of infringements of intellectual property rights, and coordinates them at national level.
The Prosecution Service starts and investigates criminal cases in the area of infringements of intellectual property rights, and submits them for trial in court.
State institutions actively cooperate with non-governmental associations (for example, the Association of Antipiracy Activities of Lithuania (LANVA).
Property rights encourage investment in innovation and research.
Patent applications must be submitted through a patent trustee, registered in the State Patent Trustee Registry.
Registration of a Community trademark
Registration does not apply to the protection of copyright and related rights; copyright to literary, scientific and artistic works begins upon their creation.
A patent application includes:
- a request for the grant of a patent;
- a description of the invention;
- one or more claims;
- drawings, if necessary for the understanding of the essence of the invention;
- an abstract;
- a document confirming payment of the fee;
- a declaration regarding inventorship.
If an application is being submitted by a representative appointed by the applicant, or by a patent attorney, a power of attorney to the representative or the patent attorney is to be attached to the application.
The State Patent Bureau announces registry data in the Official Gazette (inventions, design, trade marks) in electronic format:
The Lithuanian Technical Library provides industrial property services.
Consultations regarding inventions are also provided by the Patent Information Centre. The main goal of the Patent Information Centre is to disseminate the patent related information to the society. The following information can be found in the Patent information centres:
- To get acquainted with inventions, trade marks and designs of Lithuanian, foreign and international organizations;
- To perform document search online in the databases;
- To order a search for patents and trademarks;
- To subscribe to the official publications;
- To receive consultations on information retrieval and patent commercialisation:
Databases of Lithuanian patents, European patents valid in Lithuania, and Lithuanian designs and trademarks, as well as classifications of patents, goods and services are available in Lithuanian.
Descriptions of Lithuanian patent applications and patents are available on ESPACE PRECES 1998-2010, which contains information on patent documents from Lithuania as well as from Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Romania and Slovakia. Starting from 1 July 2010, an Official Gazette of SPB is published in electronic form.