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 37,000) 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 were 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.
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 on the general market. 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 the competent authority within the state administration system for the 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 started working on 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. Montenegro is not listed in the Notorious Markets List. 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 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.