Until a few years ago, the narrative within legal practices, as in most service industries, focused mainly on austerity, small growth numbers, and the crises. Most legal practitioners feared an uncertain future and all the risks it held, including evolving client expectations, financial pressure, and the long-term impact of the global economic crisis.
As Serbia is gearing up for EU accession, harmonizing with EU legislation and business practices becomes not only mandatory, but also a market necessity. Although there are discrepancies between business practices in Serbia and in the EU, one thing seems to be unanimous: local businesses, just like their international counterparts, think ahead when it comes to securing their assets. This applies to every type of business, but it is prevailingly visible in local medium-sized to large businesses which predominantly handle and/or deal with IP portfolios. Nowadays, in the ever-evolving digital world, where almost information is at the reach of one’s hand – even to those located in remote corners of the world – attention and focus are being switched to ensuring the adequate protection of trade secrets. This process is happening in Serbia as well.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is, according to the EU-hosted GDPR website, “the most important change in data privacy regulation in the past 20 years.” The Act, which was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016 and will become fully effective on May 25, 2018, was designed “to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy, and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”
Implementation of large-scale real estate development projects almost always requires the simultaneous development of new or upgrades to existing public infrastructure necessary for the unimpeded use of the main project. Back in the old days, real estate development projects suffered, from time to time, from slow public infrastructure development since the relevant public authorities either had no interest in or had no available funds to develop the missing infrastructure.
The winners of the 2017 CEE Deal of the Year Awards were announced at the first ever CEE Legal Matters Deal of the Year Awards Banquet last night in Prague. The biggest smiles in the joyous and music-filled celebration of CEE lawyering, perhaps, were on the faces of Partners from Avellum and Sayenko Kharenko, which, along with White & Case and Latham & Watkins, won the award both for Ukrainian Deal of the Year and CEE Deal of the Year for their work on the 2017 Ukraine Eurobond Issue (a story initially reported by CEE Legal Matters on October 2, 2017).
Patricia Gannon is a founder and Senior Partner at Karanovic & Nikolic, where she focuses primarily on the management, business development, strategy, and expansion of the firm. Gannon qualified as a Solicitor in Ireland and after a short period working at the European Commission in Brussels she moved to Serbia and founded the firm. She is a committed advocate of corporate philanthropy, and was amongst the founding members of the Serbian Charity Forum, an umbrella forum of leading foundations in the country.
The Serbian Minister for Mining and Energy recently stated that Serbia will manage to fulfill its obligation and reach the target of 27% of total energy consumption from renewables by 2020. The statement followed a stream of positive news in relation to development of several large-scale wind power projects in Serbia, such as Cibuk I, Kovacica, and Alibunar.
In this era of digitalization, where legal frameworks around the world are rapidly changing to cope with revolutionary developments in the IT sector, the Serbian Government is following a similar path. Serbia is in the EU accession process and is thus obliged to harmonize its legislation with EU laws. One such law is EU Regulation No. 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (the “Relevant EU Regulation”).
The steady growth of the digital products market and an increasing demand for digital products required an adjustment to the Serbian VAT rules applicable to the supply of electronically supplied services (ESS), and that adjustment finally occurred in 2017. Combined with new rules on the VAT registrations of foreign suppliers, VAT obligations related to ESS became more straightforward.
On Thursday, November 30th, leading legal practitioners from across Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Prague to help CEE Legal Matters celebrate its fourth successful year as the leading chronicle of the legal industry in the region, participating in an expert Round Table conversation about the year just concluded and enjoying an evening of dinner, drinks, and bonhomie.
The digital era brought us new ways of distribution of media content, one of them being the performance of services of online media platforms. Since this is a relatively new kind of business activity, it is necessary to analyze the way it fits within the provisions of Serbian legal system. The major question in this respect pertains to potential copyright and related rights infringement.
Intellectual property infringement through the circulation and sale of counterfeit goods is still very much both a global and a local issue. As modern day counterfeiting is now acquiring more sophisticated forms involving a plethora of new and usually unsuspected goods (for example, pharmaceuticals) and with the intent of not only existing on the black markets but infiltrating into the legal market flows as well, we are faced with the need for a more aggressive approach requiring first and foremost improved legislation and subsequently more efficient enforcement activities.