The objective of the SSIP II project is to strengthen the use of intellectual property rights in Serbia in order to contribute to higher competitiveness, more value added to Serbian products, and a positive impact on Serbia’s economic development.
The integration of Serbia into the international system of intellectual property rights (IPRs) is well advanced. The country has acceded to the most important treaties relevant to IPRs, apart from the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), which is planned in the near future. As in many other countries in transition, institutional constraints continue to impede effective enforcement of IPRs. Furthermore, right holders have not yet fully exploited the potential of IPRs. Both are, in part, the result of limited public awareness.
The overall goal of SSIP II is to contribute to the increased competitiveness of the local economy through an improved business environment, access to knowledge, and finding ways to diversify the market. The protection of IPRs plays an important role in the development of the knowledge-based technology in the country. It encourages innovation and investment, and represents an essential ingredient to the success of the Serbian economy at both the EU common market and globally.
The protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) is of particular interest to the Government of Serbia. The cooperation between Serbia and Switzerland in the field of GIs began in 2009. GIs are a useful tool for promoting territorial development and adding value to products, through specific qualities linked to natural conditions or traditional know-how. This portion of the project builds upon the results of the previous first project phase.
Selected areas of high importance to Serbia include:
- improving the legal and institutional framework as well as the enforcement of GIs, in order to facilitate the economic and social benefits of producers and consumers;
- strengthening capacities for market valorisation of GI products to better market traditional products for the benefit of rural and artisanal communities; and
- increasing the demand of IP users to protect and capitalize on their IPRs.
Considering the advanced stage of Serbia’s intellectual property system, this niche approach of the SSIP II project of “filling specific gaps” adds most value and is the best strategy to achieve sustainable results.
The project provides specialized advice and support in selected areas, where Switzerland is able to offer strong expertise and achieve a tangible impact. Within these thematic areas, activities mainly consist of technical capacity building through trainings, workshops, education programmes and expert input, led by national and international consultants. These activities shall improve the legal and institutional framework of GIs and increase the demand of IP users to protect and capitalize on their IPRs. In addition, the SSIP II will sup-port the concrete protection and development of GI products in different regions of the country.
Serbia’s main development objectives include the improvement of its business environment and the gaining of competitive advantages in the global markets. Serbia will therefore implement some necessary reforms towards the knowledge-based and services-oriented economy. The high-tech industry, especially the IT, biotech and med-tech sectors, though currently small, are expected to show significant growth. Only where legitimate IPRs are protected and enforced, enterprises will be able to amortize their significant investments in research and development (R&D) as well as in brand building. That is why SSIP II matches key socio-economic development priorities of the Government of Serbia, through facilitating the integration of the IPR system in doing business, encouraging R&D and knowledge transfer, supporting innovation activities, improving the business environment to attract investment and new technologies, and enhancing adding value to local products or eventually GI-protected services.
The direct beneficiaries of SSIP II are the Serbian Intellectual Property Office, the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, and the Accreditation Body of Serbia. In addition, producers of GIs and their associations will directly benefit from SSIP II. Local small and medium enterprises (SME) and relevant associations will also benefit from tailor-made workshops and trainings, while other economic actors as well as the wider Serbian public benefit indirectly through improved competitiveness of Serbian goods and products. The impact of the SSIP II project also extends to more vulnerable segments of the population, such as rural communities, mainly through the use of GIs to market their local specialties.
January 2016 – December 2019
Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs – SECO
Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property – IPI
Republic of Serbia – Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development
Republic of Serbia – Intellectual Property Office IPO
Republic of Serbia – Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection
Country Context Serbia
Population: 7 million
Area: 77,474 km2
Annual GDP growth: -1.8% (2014)
Annual income per capita:
13,400 USD (2014)
Olga Allemann / Georges Bauer – SSIP II Project Coordinators
Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property – IPI
olga.allemann | +41 31 377 72 12 / @ipi .chgeorges.bauer | +41 31 377 72 14 @ipi .ch
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