Intellectual and industrial property in the Czech Republic

Intellectual Property refers to exclusive rights to manage literary and artistic works, inventions and other intangible results of the process of the human creativity, exploration and mind. Intellectual property is divided into Copyright Protection and Industrial Property Rights.

Copyright Protection includes the results of creative activity and investments of authors, performers and other right holders protected under copyright law, Act No. 121/2000 Coll., on Copyright and Rights Related to Copyright and on Amendment to Certain Acts (the Copyright Act), as amended.

The licence agreement is regulated by the Act No. 89/2012 Coll., Civil Code (art. 2358 – 2389). Copyright law in the Czech Republic belongs to the competence of the Ministry of Culture where you can find more information on the activities of the Ministry, Copyright Directive or answers to frequently asked questions.

Industrial Property Rights ensure the protection of technical creative work (patents and utility models), protection of industrial designs, rights to signs/indications (trademarks, geographical indications and appellations of origin) and topography of semiconductor products. The Industrial Property Office is the registration office for the industrial property rights in the Czech Republic.

Copyright protection

What is the copyright?

The copyright is a cluster of rights protected by the Copyright Act No. 121/2000 Coll.. The copyright protection includes the rights of authors to their works (literary, musical, works of fine art, architecture, dramatic and other types of works including computer programs), the rights of performing artists to their performances, the rights of phonogram producers to their phonograms, the rights of audio-visual fixation producers to their first fixations, the rights of broadcasters to their broadcast and the sui generis right of database makers to their databases.

How does the copyright protection arise?

The copyright protection does not require any registration as it arises at the very moment of creation of the work. A different regime applies for the industrial property rights for which registration is a precondition for protection.

For the purpose of potential copyright disputes it is recommended to keep as many proofs of authorship as possible (such as working versions of text, sketches). Furthermore, it is possible to conclude a contract of deposit with a collective management organisation, an artist agency or carry out a notary deposit of a copy of the work.

What does the copyright protection consist in?

The copyright protection consists in the possibility of using a protected subject. The author can either use it, or grant the authorisation to other subjects through a licence agreement. In the case of endangering or infringement of rights it is possible to invoke measures provided in the Copyright Act (right to prohibit unauthorised use of protected subject matter, withdraw illicitly made reproductions from the market, claim for damages and for unjust enrichment, apply a right to prohibit services used to infringe copyright etc.).

How long does the copyright protection last?

The term of protection of the copyright lasts for the author´s lifespan and 70 years after author´s death. The rights are inheritable or escheated to the state and in some cases (e.g. audio-visual works) the Copyright Act provides a different term calculation. Most related rights have a 50 year term of protection counted from the decisive event (e.g. fixation). The sui generis right of a database maker lasts for 15 years from making the database or providing the database available to the public.

What is the collective management of rights?

Collective management organisations are legal entities associating the right holders which, based on authorisation granted by the Ministry of Culture, manage certain rights specified in the authorisation. Collective management organisations act on behalf of the right holders and at their expense.

Industrial property rights

What is the trademark?

The trademark can only be a sign that can be graphically represented in order to distinguish specific products or services from the other. The right to a trademark stems from being registered in the trademark register. The trademark owner has exclusive right to designate or use the trademark in connection with his products or services.

The term of protection of the registered trademark is 10 years from the date of filling the application. The duration of protection can be repeatedly renewed for another 10 years upon the owner’s request. The request for the renewal can be filled within the last year of its term of protection at the earliest, or within six months after the expiration date, however an increased fee is charged. If the request for renewal is not filled, the trademark ceases to exist.

  • Act No. 441/2003 Coll., on Trademarks
  • Decree No. 97/2004 Coll., Concerning Implementation of the Trademark Act
  • Act No.634/2004 Coll., on Administrative Fees

What is the patent? 

Patents are granted for inventions, which are new, industrially applicable and involve an inventive step. Discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, plans, rules and methods for performing mental acts or computer programs are not patentable. The patent owner has an exclusive right to employ the protected invention, to authorize approval for exploitation thereof by other persons (by licence) and has also a right to assign the patent to another person.

The patent is valid for a period of 20 years from the date of filling. After issuance of the patent, the Office will invite the patent owner to pay first maintenance fees for the years that have expired. The fees for maintenance of the patent validity for next periods are to be paid without imposition (without invitation made by the Office) each year prior lapse of the preceding year of the patent validity. The fee can be also paid within so called period of grace lasting six months, however, in this case the fee to be paid is doubled.

Act No. 527/1990 Coll., on Inventions and Rationalization Proposals
Decree No. 550/1990 Coll., on the Procedure in Matters of Inventions and Industrial Designs
Act No. 634/2004 Coll., on Administration Fees
Act No. 206/2000 Coll., on the Protection of Biotechnological Inventions
Act No. 173/2002 Coll., on the Maintenance Fees for Patents and Supplementary Protection Certificates for Pharmaceuticals and Plant Protection Products

What is the utility model?

By means of the utility model, it is possible to protect a technical solution that is new, industrially applicable and exceeds a frame of a mere professional skill. Discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, plans, rules and methods of exercising intellectual activity or computer programs are not considered as technical solutions.

Utility models are registered without examining whether the subject matter complies with the criteria of novelty and creative level. This is the main feature distinguishing thereof from the patent system. The utility model provides possibility to acquire the protection of a solution in a quicker way than the patent. Without consent of the registered utility model owner, no one can produce, introduce onto market or use the technical solution protected thereby.

The protection period lasts 4 years from the date of the application. The Office can prolong the validity period upon the owner´s request up to two times, each time by three years (total duration 10 years).

  • Act No. 478/1992 Coll., on Utility Models
  • Act No. 634/2004 Coll., on Administration Fees

What is the industrial design?

Industrial design means the appearance of the whole or only a part of some product, resulting particularly from the features of the lines, contours, colours, shapes, textures, materials and its decoration. Industrial design does not involve the engineering, structural, functional, material or other nature of the product.

The product is an industrially or hand-made object, including parts intended for assembly into a complex product, or a graphic symbol (such as a pictogram), typographic typefaces (script or lettering in the sense of a concrete set of alphanumeric characters that are usually exploited through printing) except for computer programmes. Graphics alone, without being applied to a concrete product cannot be considered an industrial design.  

The protection period of a registered industrial design lasts 5 years. The Office can prolong the validity period up to five times (total duration 25 years) upon the owner´s request.

  • Act No. 207/2000 Coll., on Protection of Industrial Designs
  • Decree No. 550/1990 Coll., on the Procedure in Matters of Inventions and Industrial Design
  • Act No. 634/2004 Coll., on Administrative Fees

What are the geographical indication and appellation of origin?

Appellation of origin is the name of a region, a specific place or a country used for goods whose quality or other characteristics are essentially or exclusively given by a particular geographical environment and whose processing, production and preparation takes place in a delimited region.

Protected geographical indication is the name of a region used for products originating in that region, provided a certain quality, reputation or other characteristics and whose production or preparation takes place in a delimited geographical region.

  • Act. No. 452/2001 Coll., on the Protection of Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications;
  • Decree of Ministry of Agriculture No. 243/2002 Coll., implementing the Act on the Protection of Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications;
  • Act No. 634/2004 Coll., on Administrative Fees.

Registration of the Industrial Property

The Industrial Property Office receives and proceeds the applications for the registration of industrial property rights in-line with local and international legislation and regulations. Power of Attorney and Priority Documents must accompany each application where applicable together with the respective administrative fees.