At the conference marking the completion of the Project “Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Serbia” Advisor at the EU Delegation to Serbia Steffen Hudolin said that the goal of the Project was the protection of consumer rights.

Consumers are easily tricked into low prices and not aware of the dangers posed by fake products, said Hudolin and added that intellectual property rights remained international challenge, requiring international cooperation.

The Project was funded by the EU with EUR1.3 million, enabling capacity enhancement of relevant Serbian institutions dealing with the protection of said rights and anti-piracy.

Throughout the Project, British and Danish experts have helped their Serbian counterparts, Hudolin said and called Serbian colleagues to continue to strengthen cooperation in this area.

The Project has been implemented by the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunication, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Finance, Intellectual Property Office, Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office and the EU Delegation to Serbia.

Within the Project, a software has been designed for Customs Administration and market inspection and 800 people trained to use it.

Steffen Hudolin said Serbia made huge progress in aligning its legislation regarding intellectual property protection with the EU, adding that, however, enforcement of regulation was still lacking.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunication Vesna Kovac said the goal was to protect consumers more efficiently from fake products on the market and raise awareness about piracy.

Thanks to the Project, capacity of relevant institutions has been improved, she said and added that intellectual property rights protection was also important in trying to attract foreign investors, increasing budget revenue and decreasing grey economy.

She underlined the creation of market inspection system dedicated to solving problems in the area of intellectual property.

Kovac reminded that over the past two years, the Project produced various educational material and organised public awareness raising events on the danger of counterfeiting and piracy.

Senior Advisor at the Ministry Vera Despotovic said they conducted a comprehensive analysis of state of the play in the area of counterfeiting and piracy in Serbia, and added that said analysis was the first document on channels of counterfeit goods in Serbia.

Despotovic also mentioned the importance of clarifying the jurisdiction of each of the institutions in charge of protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, as well as the importance of interlinking and establishment of formal coordination. She said that the Project introduced new procedures regarding the seizure, storage and destruction of counterfeit goods.