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TRADE MARKS / COMMUNITY TRADE MARKS

Trade mark makes an “invisible” company “recognisable”, it creates an intangible asset of key importance for the business. Basically, a company without a trade mark means nothing today.

Trade mark is the fundamental tool used to secure and distinguish a company's products and services. It is an effective instrument used to gain market advantage.

TRADE MARK

It is any sign that may be presented graphically and is suitable for labelling goods/services of an entrepreneur to distinguish them from competitive goods/services.

Trade marks help solve the problem with:

  • unauthorised use of a company name or product/services brands by third parties, falsification or counterfeiting,
  • protection against allegations of breaching third party rights to company names or product/service brands,
  • damaging the image of a mark by marketing goods/service of lower value/worse properties under an identical/similar name,
  • theft of an original idea for a name/sign for goods/services,
  • inflow of cheaper goods of lower quality under a similar name;
  • a competitor entering the market and having much broader capacities;
  • need to prove, every time, the rights to the company name or brand of goods/services,
  • very lengthy judicial proceedings and high costs incurred to prove the rights to the company name or brand of goods/services.

Additional opportunities provided by trade marks:

  • foundation for marketing operations and building brand image,
  • trade mark rights may be inherited and disposed of (sale, donation, exchange, pledge, collateral),
  • as business assets they boost goodwill and may be the subject of contribution, basis for additional funding, collateral of liabilities (e.g. credits),
  • source of additional revenue - licence, franchising
  • source of reduced tax charges: lease, contribution in kind,
  • if the mark becomes reputable, its protection is considerably more extensive.

Trade marks are registered to label specific goods/services that are classified into classes in line with the International (Nice) Classification of Goods and Services. There may be goods of the same name available on the market, but with different purpose (e.g. there is no conflict between identical/similar marks designating ice cream and tanks). Only in the case of reputable trade marks can the protection extend over goods/services not covered by the registration (e.g. Nivea, Pampers, Coca Cola, Mercedes, Philips, Nike, Reebok etc.).

Trade marks may be registered following a number of procedures:

  • national procedure – on the territory of the specific state:
    • the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland (PPO),
    • national offices in individual countries
  • regional procedure – on the territory of the specific region
    • Office for Harmonisation of the Internal Market in the EU (OHIM),
    • Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP)
    • Africa Regional Industrial Property Organisation (ARIPO)
    • Africa  Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI)
  • international procedure - in states specified in the application:
    • World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)

The trade mark registration process takes approximately:

  • 1.5 years under the national procedure;
  • 1 year under the regional procedure;
  • 1-1.5 years under the international procedure.

The trade mark is protected in the states specified in the application, the protection starts as the application is received by the competent Patent Office and is “perpetual”, provided requests for extension of protection are submitted within specified time limits and fees are duly paid for said extension.

We offer solutions tailored to the needs of Customers and the market:

  • legal and patent-related advice for entrepreneurs in terms of trade marks (selection, protection, infringement and defence);
  • trademark searching and clearance: in Poland, EU and other countries;
  • drawing up application documents and handling the registration process necessary to obtain the final decision of the competent Patent Office (directly before PPO, OHIM, WIPO or through local agents in specific states)
  • handling the conversion of community trade marks into national trade marks;
  • drawing up and providing replies to preliminary refusals to register trade marks in procedures following the Madrid Agreement and Protocol (directly before the URPR or through local agents in specific states)
  • supervision over time limits of maintaining protection rights for trade marks (national, regional and international),
  • monitoring of registers held by the national/regional Offices with regard to cases of infringement of trade mark rights,
  • trade mark and company value appraisal,
  • transfer and licensing of trade marks, including rights to works developed by an employee under an employment relationship,
  • representing the Customers in cases of trade mark infringement and exercising the rights under trade marks before:
    • the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland (PPO),
    • Provincial Administrative Courts (WSA),
    • Supreme Administrative Court (NSA),
    • common courts, including the Supreme Court,
    • Court for the Community Trade Marks and Community Designs in Warsaw (Sąd Wspólnotowych Znaków Towarowych i Wzorów Przemysłowych)
    • Office for Harmonisation of the Internal Market (OHIM),
    • European Court of Justice (ECJ),
    • World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
  • handling civil and criminal proceedings pertaining to trade mark infringements and unfair competition

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