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How to register a trademark in Spain

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The development of high technology has created many business opportunities in all countries all over the world. Spain has also picked up this trend and now boasts many industries in which research and development play an important role. When new industries appear, they tend to attract evolution in other fields and the most recent one is intellectual property.

But what exactly does that mean? Intellectual property means ownership over a creation of one’s mind. One of the most powerful intellectual properties is the trademark which designates a sign, a letter, a number, a colour or a combination of any of them through which a unique logo, or better said, a distinguished feature, which makes a company or item or program, easily recognisable is created. In order to obtain that recognition, the trademark must be registered with the Patent and Trademark Office in Spain (OEPM). Trademark registration can be asked by natural or legal persons in Spain.

The uniqueness of the trademark in Spain

We mentioned earlier that the trademark must be unique. This is why Spain has adhered to international norms related to the creation of trademarks. In order to make sure one has created a singular trademark which leaves no room for doubts, the OEPM has enabled a classification of signs which can be used to designate services or products. At this point, one should know that there are 45 classes of trademarks, so attention must be paid upon choosing the right one. If an applicant is not sure about the singularity of the trademark, he or she has the possibility of verifying if other similar trademarks have been registered.

In the case of companies, it should be noted that the trade name is not the same with the trademark of the company. The trade name represents the name under which a company carries out its commercial activities, while the trademark designates the services or products offered to the general public.

Types of trademarks

The Spanish Patent Office allows for the registration of several types of trademarks:

  • graphic marks;

  • 3-D marks;

  • sound marks;

  • word marks;

  • descriptive marks;

  • shape marks;

  • mixed marks.

Those who want to register a trademark in Spain can also choose between the EU trademarks and international trademarks. This means that a trademark can benefit from extended protection on the EU or international market.

What are the documents related to registering a trademark?

Upon the registration of a trademark in Spain, the applicant must prepare several documents. These depend on who registers the trademark. The documentation must contain an application form in which the applicant requests the registration of the trademark, identification papers of physical persons or company registration numbers in the case of companies, a description and a graphic representation of the mark and a list with the products or services the mark will be used for. When a representative of the applicant will file the petition, a power of attorney is necessary. The documents must be accompanied by the receipt showing the payment of the registration fee.

The registration process of the trademark

Once the OEPM receives the documents, its representatives will examine them and publish the registration application in the Official Gazette. Following that, there will be a two-months period in which the trademark can be opposed by third parties who consider the mark cannot be registered. However, the opposition must be backed by specific evidence. If no opposition is filed, the OEPM has 12 months to complete the registration procedure. The duration is extended to 20 months if the OEPM considers the application is incomplete.

Trademark protection is available for ten years in Spain, the Canary and the Balearic Islands and the Ceuta and Melilla regions.

Even if the registration process may seem a hard and lengthy process, if all the steps are followed according to the guidelines provided by the OEPM, no problems will appear.