Montenegro - Country Commercial Guide
Protecting Intellectual Property

Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.

Last published date: 2022-08-06

The acquisition and disposition of IPR are protected by the Law on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, which entered into force in 2006.  The law provides for fines for legal entities of up to EUR 30,000 (approximately USD 31,000) for selling pirated and/or counterfeited goods.  It also provides ex-officio authority for market inspectors in the areas mentioned above.  An additional set of amendments to the existing Law on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights was adopted over the last several years (beginning in 2006) in line with the EU regulations, and it is expected to bring more efficiency in implementation as well as a multifunctional approach to property-rights protection.  In 2005, the Montenegrin Parliament adopted the Regulation on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Border Measures that provides powers to customs authorities to suspend customs procedures and seize pirated and counterfeit goods.  Statistics on seizures of counterfeit goods is published by the Revenue and Customs Administration and available on their webpage Uprava prihoda.

Montenegro’s Penal Code penalizes IPR violations, allows ex-officio prosecution, and provides for stricter criminal penalties; however, copyright violation is a significant problem in the outerwear and apparel market, and unlicensed software can be easily found.  The Law on Optical Disks was adopted in 2006; it requires the registration of business activity when reproducing optical disks for commercial purposes and provides for surveillance of optical disk imports and exports, as well as imports and exports of polycarbonates. 

The Montenegrin Intellectual Property Office is responsible for activities related to industrial property rights, copyrights, and related rights.  The Intellectual Property Office was established under the Regulation on Organization and Manner of Work of the State Administration in 2007, and officially began operations in 2008.  At the end of 2007, the Customs Administration signed a Letter of Intent for acceptance of Standards to be Employed by Customs for Uniform Rights Enforcement (SECURE) Standards, adopted by the World Customs Organization (WCO), to promote the efficient protection of IPR by customs authorities.

Montenegro is not on the Special 301 Watch List, nor is the country listed in the notorious market report.  However, the sale of pirated optical media (DVDs, CDs, software) as well as counterfeit trademarked goods, particularly sneakers and clothing, is widespread.  According to the 2018 joint survey of Business Software Alliance and the International Data Corporation (IDC), the most recent report available, the software piracy rate in Montenegro is among the highest in Europe, constituting 74 percent of the market, two percentage points below the organization’s 2015 study.  Enforcement is slowly improving as customs, police, and judicial authorities obtain the necessary tools, but institutional capacity and public awareness is still limited.

To further improve intellectual property protection, AmCham Montenegro established an IPR Committee in April 2009, which currently operates under the Grey Economy Committee.  The main goal of the committee is to work closely with the Montenegrin institutions which deal with IPR, to increase public awareness of the importance of intellectual property protection, and to help the Government of Montenegro strengthen its administrative capacities in this field.  More information about the committee’s activities can be found on AmCham’s website http://www.amcham.me/. 

Montenegro became a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2006, with more information available on the WIPO’s website.

Resources for Rights Holders

Contact at the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro:

Political and Economic Section
+382 20 410 500
podgoricapoleco@state.gov   

In any foreign market companies should consider several general principles for effective protection of their intellectual property. For background, please link to our article on Protecting Intellectual Property and Stopfakes.gov for more resources.

IP Attaché Contact for Montenegro

Rachel Bae                                                   

U.S. Mission to the European Union, Unit 7600

rachel.bae@trade.gov

For more information, contact ITA’s Office of Intellectual Property Rights Director, Mr. Stevan Mitchell at Stevan.mitchell@trade.gov.

To access Montenegro’s ICS, which includes information on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.