Distinctive Signs

Inventions | Distinctive Signs | Design

1. What is a Trade Mark?
A Trade Mark is a sign that identifies a company’s products or services in the marketplace, and distinguishes them from those of other companies.
2. Which types of Trade Mark exist?

Trade Marks can assume a variety of forms:
- Verbal Trade Marks: these comprise verbal elements only, namely words,
   letters or numbers. They may also include names of persons.

- Pictorial Trade Marks: these are composed of pictorial elements only,
   such as drawings, images or figures.

- Mixed Trade Marks: these are composed of verbal and pictorial elements.

- Sound Trade Marks: these are composed of sounds.

- Three-dimensional Trade Marks: these comprise the shape of the product
   or its packaging.

- Slogans: advertising slogans can be registered, independently of any
   Copyright protection they may have.

3. What cannot be protected?

It is not possible to register Trade Marks that are exclusively, or essentially, composed of terms that describe the product or service (its characteristics, qualities, geographical origin, or other such aspects). Also inadmissible are those consisting of terms that have become customary in business, of certain shapes (a shape resulting from the nature of the product itself, a shape required to obtain a certain technical result, or a shape that gives the product its own substantial value), or of a single colour.
Whenever these elements – that cannot be protected per se - are combined with other distinctive or fanciful elements (words or pictures, for example), the Trade Mark can be registered. However, the descriptive, generic or common parts of the Trade Mark will not be the exclusive property of the holder.

 

It is not possible to register Trade Marks that may mislead the consumer, namely with regard to the nature, qualities, use or origin of the product or service.

 

Trade Marks that are against the law and public order, or that offend morality and proper behaviour.

Trade Marks that contain symbols of State, emblems of government or foreign organizations, coats of arms, medals, names or portraits of people, or signs possessing a high degree of symbolic value (such as religious symbols), amongst others (except with the permission of the relevant parties).

 

Trade Marks that constitute a violation of another person's rights or that might favour acts of unfair competition.
It is not possible to register Trade Marks that that are a reproduction or imitation of previously registered signs (except with the consent of the owner).


4. How long does it take to register a Trade Mark?
A Trade Mark registration is not granted automatically. The application process begins once the application is submitted, and includes an examination in accordance with the rules governing the composition of Trade Marks. The application is published online in the Industrial Property Bulletin, and there then follows an opposition phase. The examination is carried out at the end of this period and after which the final decision is published. Once this process is complete – and if no grounds for refusal are found - the Trade Mark is protected.
5. How long is a Trade Mark registration valid for?

The registration is valid for 10 years, counting from the date of the grant. This period is renewable indefinitely for further periods of equal length.

6. What is a Logotype?

A logotype is the most suitable sign to identify an entity which provides services or commercial products, distinguishing from others, and which could be used in establishments, advertising and correspondence. It is the way by which an entity chooses to be identified.

7. How long is a Logotype registration valid for?
The registration is valid for 10 years, counting from the date of the grant. This period is renewable indefinitely for further periods of equal length.