The trademark is any one mark that can be graphically represented and is suitable for distinguishing products or services of one enterprise from those of others.
The registration lasts ten years starting from the application filing date and upon expiry can be renewed each time for an additional ten year period.
A mark that one intends to register as a trademark must have the following protection requirements:
- distinctive capacity or originality: it must have distinctive character. Marks cannot be registered composed of generic denominations of a product or service. In same manner, the descriptions or marks that indicate intrinsic qualities of the product or service cannot be registered as trademarks. The function of the Trademark is indeed that of distinguishing a product or service offered by an entrepreneur or company from that of other products or services offered by other entrepreneurs or companies. It is therefore forbidden to register as a trademark a form necessary for attaining a technical result, a form imposed by the product’s very nature or which gives substantial value to the product.
- graphical representation: the mark must be able to be graphically represented, so that it is precisely identified by the consumer; nevertheless, registration is now also admitted of color tones, of sound (sound trademarks) or of fragrance (smell trademarks).
- extrinsic novelty: it must not have been used as a trademark, company name or insignia in the past for products or services identical or similar to those for which registration is requested.
- legality: it must not be against the law, public policy or public decency.
The registered trademark is a legally protected trademark.
According to the territory in which they are protected, the following registered trademark
types are distinguished:
The legal protection of the national trademark is limited to the single territory where it was filed.
With a single legal action, the legal protection of the Community trademark is valid for all the member Countries of the European Union.
The owners of a national trademark can extend the protection to European and other Countries which adhere to two international agreements (the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol) by filing an international trademark application.
While with the (supranational) Community trademark, one obtains with a single procedure a single registered trademark valid for all the Countries of the European Union, with the international trademark one obtains a number of registered national trademarks, each valid for the Country indicated in the application.