It took eight years of negotiations, but Croatia will  finally join the  European Community effective  July 1, 2013. This is good news for those who  own or seek trademark and design protection through the European Community system since protection will now be expanded to cover  28 Member States. These member states will now include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.