Industrial and intellectual property

Spanish Intellectual and Industrial Property legislation and Spain’s ratification of the most relevant international treaties in those areas, guarantees that Intellectual an Industrial Property rights are protected both in Spain and in countries where treaties were ratified by Spain. 

While industrial property protection involves trademarks, patents, utility models, and design rights, intellectual property refers to copyrights.

Industrial property rights are proprietary by nature, and can therefore be assigned, charged or transferred by any legal means. A licensing agreement is one of the most common contracts in this area.

Intellectual property deals with economic or “moral” rights. Economic rights can be used by others. 

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of protection

The primary forms of industrial and intellectual property protection in Spain are as follows (each with applicable legislation):

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Industrial property

Trademarks and trade names (distinctive signs): Protect graphics and/or words or any combination thereof by distinguishing them from any other products or services in the market.

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Patents and utility models: Protect inventions of products and processes from being reproduced and/or used by others for industrial purposes. 

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Industrial designs: Protect the outward appearance of goods. 

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Other categories include plant variety which protects a group of plants that are distinguishable from any other group because they have specific features that remain the same after repeated propagation processes and propagate without changing. Topographies of semiconductor product rights protect the layout-design of an integrated circuit.

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Intellectual property

Copyright: Protects the author’s creative work.

The copyright is always owned by the author of the work, unless the work was created during a business activity, is a collective work or the rights are assigned to a third party. Copyright protection is granted for 70 years from the death of the author, if the author is a natural person.

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Spanish legislation

is governed by the following principles:

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Principle of registration

Rights are protected using the first to file system: the first to apply for registration has priority.

Intellectual Property is born when it is created and does not have to be registered. However, while automatic protection is implied, the created work can be recorded in the Intellectual Property Register for added protection against third parties.

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Principle of territoriality

Protected in whichever country it is registered.


of registering intellectual property

Currently, the intangible value of companies accounts for over 50% of enterprise value, 52% according to “Global Intangible Finance Tracker (GIFT™) 2018”. That percentage increases exponentially in industries like advertising, technology and pharmaceuticals, where it amounts to as much as 85%.

Protecting industrial and intellectual property has often become an integral part of corporate strategy, since profits from product sales, inward investment, the company’s sales potential and value in the market, as well as possible tax incentive benefits relies on them (CTA: Patent Box).  

Therefore, industrial and intellectual property protection is essential

should it become necessary to take legal action against third party infringements.

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Content developed in collaboration with the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTO).