Industrial property in Albania has its beginnings as early as 1920. Archival data of the time, show that Albanian traders have been attentive to the preservation of their products by counterfeiters. In this regard, they sought protection for their products through trademark registration. The first trademark certificate was issued to the company "HOBDARI" and dates back to April 16, 1920.
This trademark was used to brand products of the "HOBDARI" company, which opened a soap factory in early 1914. During that time, a large number of foreign trademarks have been protected in Albania. Trademark registration stood in force until 1944. In 1957, the government of that time, decided to recognize the registration of foreign trademarks in the Republic of Albania.
Up until then, the institution responsible for trademark registration was the Trademark Registration Bureau at the Chamber of Commerce, which operated under the Ministry of Foreign Trade. The Bureau completed relevant documentation following the legal provisions in force “Decree no. 2490 dated 22.07.1957, amended by decrees no. 3530 dated 02.07.1962 of No. 4253 dated 11.04.1967 "On Production and Trade Marks".
The decree also provided for the registration of production trademarks by state-owned enterprises criteria. Data shows that no patents for inventions as such, or as a physical document issued following standards (laws) applied in other countries or by specialized international organizations in the field, were issued in the Republic of Albania. Law no. 3029, dated 12.01.1960, granted the inventor the right to use his invention exclusively.
Eventually, this Law was repealed by Decree no. 4548, dated 3.10.1960. The Decree stated that the inventor was granted only the evidence for the invention and not the exclusive right to use it, which would then pass to the state. This led to the cessation of foreign patent registration in Albania. Decree no. 7316, dated 20.7.1989, of the Civil Code of the Republic of Albania, Article 333A that was later added, gave foreign nationals the possibility to register and protect patents for inventions in Albania. Up until 1994 the regulation of the activity in this field (concerning only the registration of foreign patents for inventions) was done in accordance with Decision no. 393 of the Council of Ministers, dated 17.11.1990 “On the method of registration of patents for inventions carried out outside the territory of the Republic of Albania” which was basically just a sub-legal act.
The lack of legislation on patents for inventions or more broadly on the industrial property was a major obstacle for the development of the industrial property system in the country. Likewise, in the Republic of Albania, there was a lack of publications and texts on industrial property and qualified staff was needed to set up the industrial property office in the country, therefore membership in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was deemed necessary, as well as its support and technical assistance.
In such circumstances and due to the fact that Albania, as a new developing country that was just starting to enter the free market economy, representatives of the Albanian Science and Technology Committee presented the "Task Force Meeting in the framework of the UNDP Regional Program for the Fifth Cycle (1992 - 1996)", 30 Sept. - 4 Oct. 1991, Celakovice, Czechoslovakia, with the immediate need to assist the Republic of Albania through a UNDP project for the establishment of institutions in the field of industrial property.
The meeting served to establish the first contacts with representatives of WIPO, who immediately approved the proposed project. Subsequently, the Director of the Committee on Science and Technology, PhD. Engineer Mr. Fatos Dega, conducted a study on "The status of the industrial property system in Albania and some potential future development problems", dated 13/02/1992. In February of the same year, during his visit at WIPO headquarters in Geneva, physicist and Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, Prof. PhD. Petrit Skënde, presented his study to the Director General of WIPO, Mr. Arpad Bogsch.
The proposal and the study submitted by the Albanian delegation were received with great enthusiasm by WIPO, which immediately started the work to prepare the legal basis for the establishment of the Albanian Patent Office, as well as for the membership of the Republic of Albania in WIPO, something that would consequently ensure the support of this organization during the establishment of the industrial property system in Albania. In March 1992 the Albanian Government, filed the Instrument of Accession of the Republic of Albania to the "Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization", which became effective on 30.06.1992. On that day, the Republic of Albania became a member country of WIPO.
With the proposal of the Science and Technology Committee, on March 22, 1993, upon decision of the Council of Ministers, the "Patent Office for Inventions" was established. For many years to come, the office operated near the committee.
Further economic and political developments in the country created the climate for accession to the Paris Convention "On the protection of Industrial Property", adopted in Paris on March 20, 1883. In Albania, the convention took effect on October 4, 1995 and was one of the first treaties within the world of industrial property, that created a unified regulation on the rules and principles for handling industrial property by member states. In the meantime, Albania proceeded to adhere to the majority of other international agreements on international protection of trademarks, industrial designs, and patents for inventions. The administrative and institutional capacities of the Office were gradually improved.
In the year 2000, the official name of the Office was changed to "Directorate of Patents and Trademarks". By decision of the Council of Ministers no. 313, dated 13.06.2000, "On the Functioning of the Directorate of Patents and Trademarks", the Directorate was to operate as a public institution subordinated to the Council of Ministers. With Law no. 9525 dated 25.04.2006, the Directorate of Patents and Trademarks became a public institution controlled by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy.
The activities were determined and regulated by the Law "On Industrial Property" and regulations on objects of Industrial Property. Once again, by Law no. 9947 dated 07.07.2008 "On Industrial Property" as amended, the Directorate of Patents and Trademarks became “General Directorate of Patents and Trademarks” and operated as a public institution, under the Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship. On May 1, 2010, the Republic of Albania acceded to the "Convention on European Patents" and today is a member state of the European Patent Organization.
It is very important mentioning that the cooperation between GDIP and the European Patent Office (EPO) dates back to 1995, when Albania signed the agreement for the extension of European Patents in our country. With the amendments to Law no. 9947 dated 07.07.2008 "On Industrial Property", on March 25, 2017, GDIP enters a new phase of reforms by modernizing the protection system of industrial property objects in the Republic of Albania, following EU standards.
To this day the "General Directorate of Industrial Property" bares the same name, which is intentionally intended to reflect the competence of the directorate as the only institution responsible for the registration of all objects of industrial property and operates as an autonomous agency under the supervision of the minister responsible for the economy.