Intellectual property, very broadly, means the legal rights which result from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. Countries have laws to protect intellectual property for two main reasons. One is to give statutory expression to the moral and economic rights of creators in their creations and the rights of the public in access to those creations. The second is to promote, as a deliberate act of Government policy, creativity and the dissemination and application of its results and to encourage fair trading which would contribute to economic and social development.
Intellectual property is divided into two categories:
Industrial Property includes patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications. Copyright covers literary works (such as novels, poems and plays), films, music, and artistic works (e.g., drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures) and architectural design. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and broadcasters in their radio and television programs.
A trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies certain goods or services produced or provided by an individual or a company.
Trademark protection ensures that the owners of marks have the exclusive right to use them to identify goods or services, or to authorize others to use them in return for payment. The period of protection varies, but a trademark can be renewed indefinitely upon payment of the corresponding fees. Trademark protection is legally enforced by courts that, in most systems, have the authority to stop trademark infringement. Trademark protection also hinders the efforts of unfair competitors, such as counterfeiters, to use similar distinctive signs to market inferior or different products or services.
How is a trademark registered?
First, an application for registration of a trademark must be filed with the appropriate national or regional trademark office. The application must contain a clear reproduction of the sign filed for registration, including any colors, forms or three-dimensional features. It must also contain a list of the goods or services to which the sign would apply. The sign must fulfil certain conditions in order to be protected as a trademark or other type of mark. It must be distinctive, so that consumers should be able to recognise the sign for what it is, for example as an indication of origin. It should distinguish from other companies in the marketplace so that identifying other products, as well as identify a particular product with it. It must neither mislead nor deceive customers nor violate public order or morality. Finally, the rights applied for cannot be the same as, or similar to, rights already granted to another trademark owner. This may be determined through search and examination by national offices, or by the opposition of third parties who claim to have similar or identical rights. The trade mark should not describe the service or goods that you sell.
The Amending Regulation (EU) No 2015/2424 removes the graphical representation requirement. This means that, from 24-09-2017, signs can be represented in any appropriate form using generally available technology, as long as the representation is clear, precise, self-contained, easily accessible, intelligible, durable and objective.
Application for Registration
The Cyprus trademark legislation comprises of the Cyprus Trademark Law, Cap. 268, as amended.
To register a trademark a lawyer licensed to practise law in Cyprus must be appointed to file a full application (in Greek) with the Trademarks Registrar, containing all relevant details, including the name, address and occupation of the applicant, the name and/or picture of the mark and a form signed by the applicant authorizing the lawyer to file the application (power of attorney).
EUIPO is the European Union Intellectual Property Office responsible for managing the EU trade mark and the registered Community design. An application for registration of a trademark can be submitted to the EUIPO. A European Union trade mark (EUTM) grants exclusive rights in all current and future Member States of the European Union through a single registration, filed online.
Cyprus is a member of both the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol, meaning that anyone that has a Registered national trademark in Cyprus can apply for its registration to all country members of the Madrid Union (more than 60 countries).
How extensive is trademark protection?
Almost all countries in the world register and protect trademarks. Each national or regional office maintains a Register of Trademarks containing full application information on all registrations and renewals, which facilitates examination, search and potential opposition by third parties. The effects of the registration are, however, limited to the country (or, in the case of regional registration, countries) concerned. To avoid the need to register separate applications with each national or regional office, WIPO administers an international registration system for trademarks. The system is governed by two treaties: the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks and the Madrid Protocol. Persons with a link (be it through nationality, domicile or establishment) to a country party to one or both of these treaties may, on the basis of a registration or application with the trademark office of that country (or related region), obtain an international registration having effect in some or all of the other countries of the Madrid Union.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought on your specific circumstances. For further information, you may contact Mrs Xenia Kasapi at email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org