What is a and a Service mark?
A mark is a word, symbol, drawing, or combination of several words, phrases, symbols or drawings, which identify and distinguish the source of goods of one party from those of the other party.
Trademarks can be owned by individuals or companies and should be registered in the Trademarks Register. In case a trademark is used in connection with services, it is sometimes referred to as a “service mark”.
What are the signs that make up a trademark?
- Words, combinations of words, being and personal names
- Letters, numbers, abbreviations
- Figurative signs, including drawings
- Two or three-dimensional forms, being the format of goods and their packaging
- Colours, colour combinations, light signals if they are presented graphically
- Combination of the signs mentioned above.
Trademarks are registered only if they can be represented graphically. This relates to specific types of brands, such as sound and light signals.
What are the signs that do not make up a trademark?
- The trademark is contrary to the rules of public morality.
- The trademark consists of state or system emblems, flags or religious symbols.
- Trademarks consist of the names of well-known persons by the public, their portraits or nicknames, without their personal authorization.
What are the key features of a trademark?
The trademark must have a distinctive character. A brand can be distinctive when by its very nature it is able to distinguish the goods and services of one entity from the goods and services of another. A trademark is not distinctive if it is descriptive. It is descriptive if it describes the nature or identity of the goods or services for which they are used.
For example, the word “Apple” is a special trademark for a computer because it has nothing to do with them. However, it would not be distinctive for apples in general. In other words, someone who grows and sells them cannot register the word ‘apple’ as a trademark and protect it, because his competitors must be able to use the word to describe their goods.
The trademark must not have a deceptive character. A deceptive trademark would be to say that the goods for which it is used have certain qualities when in reality they do not.
How is trademark protection performed?
Recognizing and adhering to a trademark requires considerable investment and a sufficient period of time. Therefore, it is in the interest of everyone seeking to use a trademark to ensure that it is protected as a valuable piece of intellectual property. Registration of a trademark in the Trademark Register is a condition of its protection. Upon registration, its owner has the right to prohibit others from using it.
Registration is not the only way to protect a trademark. An unregistered trademark is not protected until it gains sufficient features and reputation in the market, which can take a long time after its initial launch.
Legal basis: Law No. 9947, dated 7.7.2008, On Industrial Property, as amended.