Areas of Activity
Trademarks

A) PORTUGUESE NATIONAL TRADEMARKS

A trademark may consist of a sign or a combination of signs capable of being represented graphically, particularly words, designs, letters, numerals and sounds, provided that they are capable of distinguishing the goods and/or services of one company from those of other companies. Therefore, on the one hand, the trademark must have sufficient distinctive character to enable it to distinguish the goods and/or services that it designates and, on the other hand, it cannot consist exclusively of generic or descriptive elements, i.e. signs which may serve to designate the kind, quality, quantity or geographical origin of the goods and/or services.

It is extremely advantageous to protect a trademark, because by doing so, the proprietor will enjoy ownership of the trademark and exclusive rights therein, and will thus be able to oppose the illegitimate use of the trademark by third parties and also the use and registration of confusingly similar marks. In most countries, as is the case in Portugal, these ownership and exclusive rights are only acquired if the trademark is registered, which will enable the proprietor to enforce his rights against third parties.

Requirements for filing an application for registration of a Portuguese national trademark:
a) graphic representation of the trademark, indicating the colours used if they are to be claimed;
b) the applicant’s name, trade name or company name, nationality and domicile or head office;
c) the goods and/or services designated by the trademark, grouped in accordance with the classes of the Nice International Classification;
d) power of attorney signed by the applicant or his legal representatives.

B) INTERNATIONAL TRADEMARK REGISTRATIONS

The system for the international registration of trademarks allows the proprietor or applicant of a national registration to obtain protection of his mark in other countries under the Madrid Agreement or Protocol, by filing a single application and paying a single fee.

An international application can be filed by anyone who is a national of a Member State of the Madrid Agreement or Protocol, or who is domiciled or has an establishment in any of the respective countries.

The examination of the application for the purpose of grant or refusal of the respective registration is carried out by the national industrial property office of each country.

The duration of an international registration is 10 years counted from the date of grant and it can be renewed indefinitely for identical periods.

C) COMMUNITY TRADEMARKS

Applications for registration of a Community trademark are filed at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, which is located in Alicante, Spain.

A Community trademark registration covers all the Member States of the European Union and since it is a unitary registration, it is either granted for all the countries or totally refused. This means that registration can be refused simply on the basis of a single ground, for example on the grounds of a Portuguese distinctive sign, in order to be automatically refused in all the countries.

In this case, however, the applicant would be able to convert his Community trademark application into national applications in all the other countries except Portugal.

The great advantage of the Community trademark registration system is that through a single application it is possible to obtain protection in 27 countries, which makes the registration procedure and subsequent maintenance of the registration much less costly.

Requirements for filing an application for registration of a Community trademark:
a) graphic representation of the trademark, indicating the colours used if they are to be claimed;
b) the applicant’s name, trade name or company name, nationality and domicile or head office;
c) the goods and/or services designated by the trademark, grouped in accordance with the classes of the Nice International Classification;
d) power of attorney signed by the applicant or his legal representatives;
e) when priority or seniority is claimed, a certified copy of the relevant document.

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