A trade mark is a sign, or a set of signs capable of graphic representation, which distinguishes and protects the products and/or services commercialized by a company from those of its competitors.
The registration of a trade mark grants the holder of the registration the exclusive right to use, exploit and own a certain sign used to protect a delimited group of products or services. As such, after a trade mark registration is granted, its owner may prohibit and restrict its use, or the use of confusingly similar trade marks.
1 – It identifies and associates, for the consumer, a certain product or service with its producer or supplier, distinguishing it from its competitors.
2 – The exclusive use of that sign for the products or services it designates.
3 – It protects the use of the distinctive sign, preventing third parties from taking unlawful advantage of its reputation.
There are three ways to register a trade mark in Europe:
The process for the registration of a National trademark takes place at a local Office of Industrial Property and only covers the National territory.
The European Union trade mark registration process is carried out at the EUIPO – European Union Intellectual Property Office – and covers the entire territory of the 27 Member States of the European Union.
The international registration process is carried out at WIPO – World Intellectual Property Organization. This registration may cover all the countries belonging to the Madrid International Convention. The application for international registration requires the existence of a previous application for registration of a National trade mark or a European Union trade mark as a base.
In Portugal the process of granting a National Trademark takes approximately 4 months from the filing of the application at the National Institute of Property and then it lasts for 10 years from the date of filing. The registration of a trade mark is perpetually renewable.
A new Fund from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Commission was launched in January to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in obtaining Industrial Property rights. This fund provides: