What is a TRADEMARK?

A trademark is a designation that distinguishes the goods or services of one entrepreneur from the goods or services of another entrepreneur.

What designations may be trademarks?

Any designation that is capable of being represented graphically and has the so-called distinctive character may be a trademark. The following, in particular, may be trademarks: words, graphic signs, combinations of colours, three-dimensional forms, melodies and acoustic signals.

How can you protect a trademark?

Protection of a trademark is obtained by its registration.

The right in registration of a trademark is particularly important in the process of brand building.

What features must a trademark have to be registered?

The basic condition determining registration of a trademark is whether it is sufficiently distinctive in respect of the goods or services that will be designated by that trademark.

Who can apply for a registration of a trademark?

A trademark may be registered in favour of both natural and legal persons. The applicant may be represented by an attorney who will conduct the process of registration on his or her behalf.

How long does trademark protection last?

A trademark is protected for 10 years from the date of its filing with Polish Patent Office. This term may be extended for subsequent 10-year periods.

Are there any obstacles to the registration of trademarks?

Yes, there are. The law provides for a number of restrictions on the registration of trademarks. These can be divided into the so-called absolute grounds for refusal (e.g. descriptive character of a trademark) and relative grounds for refusal (e.g. earlier rights of third parties – already registered trademarks).

What is the priority date?

It is the date according to which trademark registrability is assessed. The priority date is usually the date of first filing of a trademark application with a respective patent and trademark office.

What privileges are granted by trademark registration?

The entity in whose favour a trademark is protected has the exclusive right to use this mark in the course of trade. In particular, such entity has the right to place the trademark on goods covered by the trademark registration, their packaging and on documents used when putting these goods on the market; the trademark may also be used for advertising purposes.

How can you verify whether or not an identical or similar trademark has already been applied for or registered?

Trademark searches to assess registrability of trademarks may be conducted by a trademark attorney.