Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
Intellectual property law in Latvia
Intellectual property in Latvia is protected pursuant to the civil and administrative, as well as the criminal procedure. Legal framework for the protection of intellectual property rights in Latvia is determined by national and the European Union law, as well as international agreements, to which Latvia is a party.
- provide an insight into the intellectual property areas as follows: copyright, patent rights, protection of trade marks, protection of designs and protection of plant varieties;
- provide information regarding legal framework for the protection of intellectual property in the areas referred to above;
- specify the State institutions and non-governmental organisations, which shall ensure the protection of intellectual property, as well as succinctly describes the competence of these national authorities and indicates their contact information;
- provide information regarding international obligations of Latvia in the area of intellectual property protection and international organisations, where Latvia is a party and which implement the protection of intellectual property.
Latvia is a party to international agreements as follows:
- Party to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works since 01.08.1995;
- Party to the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization since 01.01.1993;
- Party to the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms since 23.08.1997;
- Party to the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations since 20.08.1999;
- Party to the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty since 06.03.2002;
- Party to the World Intellectual Property Organization Performances And Phonograms Treaty since 20.05.2002.
The most relevant national law in the field of copyright:
- Author shall mean a natural person, as a result of whose creative activities a concrete work has been created. As the work subject to protection shall be recognized the results of an author’s creative activities in the literary, scientific or artistic domain, irrespective of the mode or form of its expression and its value. If a work has two or more authors and the individual contribution of each author to the creation of the work cannot be segregated as a separate work, copyright to the work shall belong to all the co-authors jointly;
- Copyright shall be in effect for the entire lifetime of an author and for 70 years after the death of an author. Exception from this rule shall refer to audio-visual works, namely, copyright to audio-visual works shall be in effect for 70 years after the death of the last of the following persons: the director; the author of the script; the author of the dialogue;
- Copyright without prejudice to the rights of authors, shall protect also derivative works, such as translations, adaptations, summaries, etc.
It is essential to highlight the issue of copyright to the work created on the employer's assignment:
- if an author has created a work performing his or her duties in an employment relationship, the moral and economic rights to the work shall belong to the author. The economic rights of the author may be transferred, in accordance with a contract, to the employer;
- if a computer program has been created by an employee while performing a work assignment, all economic rights to the computer program so created shall belong to the employer, unless specified otherwise by contract.
Copyright collecting management is performed by the collecting societies. Collecting society shall mean a legal entity, which on the law or the contract basis manages property rights of the right holders. Procedure for the copyright collecting management shall be established by the Copyright Collecting Management Law.
Copyright is protected under administrative procedure by imposing administrative liability for copyright infringement, as well as in Latvia criminal liability is prescribed for copyright infringement, if the infringement of copyright or related rights has caused material injury for the interests of persons protected by law.
Latvia is a party of the following international agreements in the area of protection of patent law:
- Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organisation, Annex 1C (since 10.02.1999);
- Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (since 07.09.1993);
- Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (since 01.01.1993);
- Agreement Between The Government Of The Republic Of Latvia And The European Patent Organisation On Cooperation In The Field Of Patents (Cooperation Agreement) (since 25.01.1994);
- Convention on the grant of European Patents (European Patent Convention) (since 01.07.2005).
The most relevant national law in the field of copyright:
Acquiring of the patent property is related to registration of the patent property and the territory, where the relevant patent is valid. An annual State fee shall be paid for maintaining the patent in force;
A patent shall ensure the exclusive rights to the owner thereof. It is prohibited to third persons without the permission of the owner of the patent:
- to produce, to offer for sale, to distribute in another way on the market, to use, as well as to import, to export and to store for the referred to intentions the patented product;
- to use the patented method;
- to offer for sale, to distribute on the market in another way, to use, as well as to import, to export and to store for the referred to intentions a product directly acquired with the patented method; and
- to supply or offer for supply essential elements of the patented product if third persons knew or they should have known in the relevant circumstances that such elements are suitable and intended for the implementation of the invention.
Patent property shall be terminated: exclusive right shall entirely come into force on the day when the notification regarding the grant of a patent is published, and shall expire not later than following 20 years from the filing date of the patent.
The subject of a patent ownership may be:
- composition of substances,
- biological material.
As inventions in the Republic of Latvia shall not be recognised and therewith cannot be patented: discoveries, scientific theories and mathematic methods, aesthetic creations, schemes, intellectual activities, rules and methods for commercial activities and games, as well as computer programs; and methods for presentation of information. At the same time emphasis should be placed on fact that the protection of computer programs shall be ensured by copyright and aesthetic solutions can be protected as a design.
An invention shall be protected with a patent in any field of technology if:
- the invention is new,
- it has an inventive step and
- it is susceptible of industrial application.
An invention shall be considered as new if it is not a part of the state of the art. The state of the art shall include any knowledge which is publicly available in writing or orally, is used publicly or made public in any other way prior to the filing date of a patent application. An invention shall be considered for industrial application if the subject thereof may be manufactured or used in any kind of industry, agriculture or other economic sector.
An inventor or his or her successor in title has the right to the patent. If several persons have jointly created an invention, they have equal right to the patent. If several persons have created an invention independently from each other, the right to the patent shall belong to the person whose filing date of the patent application is earlier if this earlier application has been published.
The inventor, irrespective of the fact who is the applicant or the owner of a patent, has inalienable moral right to the following:
- inventorship (the right to be recognised as the inventor);
- name — the right to be indicated as the inventor in the patent application and in all documents and publications related to the patenting of the invention, or also to waive this right, requesting in writing to the Patent Office that the name thereof would not be indicated.
It is important to emphasize that the employer has the right to a patent if the invention in relation to which the patent application has been filed has been created by the employee whose work duties include:
- activity of an inventor; and
- research, designing and construction or preparation of technological development.
The owner of the patent has the right, by a licence contract, to grant to another person the right to utilise the patent. An exclusive licence or non-exclusive licence may be issued on the basis of the licence contract. In relation to third persons, the licence contract shall come into force following the registration thereof in the Patent Office.
Law on Industrial Property Institutions and Procedures determines the requirements and terms to be complied with in order to register a patent with the Patent Office and to obtain a patent property.
It is important to note that the following persons are entitled to participate in the procedures in the Patent Office only through a professional patent attorney
- a natural person whose declared place of residence is not in Latvia and who does not own an enterprise in Latvia; and
- a legal person whose legal address is in a foreign country and who does not own an enterprise in Latvia.
The register of patent attorneys is available on the Patent Office website.
Latvia is a party of the following international agreements:
- Madrid Agreement concerning the international registration of marks (since 01.01.1995);
- Protocol relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the international registration of marks (since 05.01.2000);
- Singapore Treaty On The Law Of Trademarks (since 16.03.2009).
A trademark obtaining entails registration thereof. A trade mark may consist of any sign capable of being represented graphically, and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.
- Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property;
- The Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs
Design shall mean the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product or its decoration (ornamentation). Rights to a design may be acquired by the registration of the design with the Patent Office.
Breeder’s right shall be granted if a variety is:
The State Plant Protection Service shall:
- examine applications regarding granting of the breeder’s right and take a decision on the granting, extension, loss of effect and cancellation of the breeder’s right;
- approve the results of a variety examination conducted in Latvia;
- recognise the results of a variety distinctness, uniformity and stability examination conducted in other Member States of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants;
- conducts stability examination;
- supervise and control a variety examination in Latvia;
- register licence agreements for the transfer of the breeder’s right;
- administer and maintain the Latvian State Register of Protected Plant Varieties of the State Information System for Supervision of Cultivated Plants;
- in conformity with its competence co-operate with international organisations;
- perform other functions provided for in this Law;
- perform all activities in conformity with the legal acts of the European Union regarding plant variety protection.
- The patent database of the European Patent Office - esp @ cenet - the free of charge database, include information also about the Latvian patents;
- Professional Patent Attorneys - list prepared by the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia.
- Ministry of Culture is the responsible institution for copyright and neighbouring rights in Latvia. Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Division was established and acts since 2000. The main responsibilities are: drafting legislation and resolutions in the sphere of copyright and neighbouring rights, policy making, co-ordinating the activities of governmental institutions and non-
- Ministry of Interior is responsible for inland activities regarding enforcement and Economic Police Bureau is responsible for actions which should be taken to enforce intellectual property rights.
- Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia (under supervision of the Ministry of Justice) shall admit and examine applications for the legal protections of inventions, industrial designs and trademarks, grant patents and certificates of trademark registration. The Patent Office shall adopt regulations, advise legal entities and natural persons, compile and publish its official publication and cooperate with foreign and international organizations involved in the legal protection of industrial property. The Patent Office keeps the State Registers of Patents, Industrial Designs and Trademarks and Licence contracts, performs examination and keeps the Register of Professional Patent Attorneys. Patent Office database (in Latvian !).
- State Plant Protection Service is a state institution supervised by Ministry of Agriculture. The objectives of the Service are: timely detection of harmful organisms and estimation of their development; making provisions for plant quarantine measures in specific cases and on particular sites; promotion of performance of plant protection measures with an aim to exclude or limit the spread of harmful organisms or mitigate the adverse impact laid by them; provide for the placing on the market of high quality seeds and planting material; provide for the protection of plant variety rights; maintain the Latvian Protected Varieties’ Register; maintain the Latvian Plant Variety Catalogue; carry out value for cultivation and use testing of plant varieties; surveillance and control over circulation of fertilisers and growing media within the country; monitoring the use of fertilisers in highly vulnerable zones; maintain the Latvian Database of Agrochemical Research of Soil.
- Copyright and Communication Consultations Agency/ Latvian Copyright Agency (AKKA/LAA) (in Latvian!) is the largest collecting society in Latvia and represents more than 2000 Latvian authors, as well as the authors of foreign organizations mentioned above.
- Inventions and Inventors of Latvia - Internet page about the most important inventions created in Latvia, the most outstanding inventors and about the patent system of Latvia;