Guide to business in Spain Guía de negocios en España


2. Trademarks


2.1. What is a trademark?

A trademark is an exclusive right in a distinctive sign the main function of which is to distinguish the goods and services of one undertaking from those of its competitors. It also plays an important role in advertising and goodwill consolidation.

2.2. What factors need to be borne in mind to register a trademark in Spain?

  1. That it is free to be used.
  2. That it is free to be registered.
  3. That it has no negative connotations, i.e. it is commercially suitable.

Before marketing goods or services, it is advisable to verify that no identical or similar mark has been registered previously for identical or similar goods or services, since this could prevent the use of the sign in the relevant territory.

After confirming that no prior third-party rights are being infringed, one of the various procedures for obtaining registration should be chosen in order to secure exclusive rights and prevent the mark from being used by other companies. Obtaining registration also involves assessing that the mark is not generic, deceptive, descriptive or contrary to public policy or accepted principles of morality.

2.3. What are the ways of registering a mark in Spain?

2.4. How do you obtain a Spanish trademark?

By filing an application at the Spanish Patents and Trademarks Office (OEPM).

The application process takes approximately between 8 and 15 months.

Spanish trademarks may consist of words, names or surnames, signatures, numbers and number combinations, slogans, drawings, sounds, colors and three-dimensional shapes, including packaging.

2.5. What checks does the OEPM mark when it receives the application?

The OEPM only examines ex officio whether the trademark falls within absolute grounds for refusal (mainly, that the mark is not generic, misleading, descriptive or contrary to public policy), but does not carry out an examination of relative grounds for refusal, that is, the existence of identical or similar earlier marks registered for identical or similar goods, likely to be confused with the new trademark. Relative grounds for refusal are only examined where the owners of prior marks file an opposition against the trademark application.

Guide to business in Spain

Intellectual property law


ICEX - Gobierno de España - Ministerio de Economía y competitividad
Elaborado por Garrigues - Abogados y Asesores Tributarios
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