Industrial Property Law and its Protected Rights in Spain
Filomena Milano: LLM Student (US Law program) at Fordham University, School of Law. Spanish IP Attorney
In Spain, the Industrial Property Law protects all creations that are related to the industry, including patents and utility models, trademarks and designs. Thanks to the Industrial Property Law, exclusive rights on certain intangible creations that are protected as real property rights are obtained.
Under Spanish Law, there are several types of industrial property rights:
– Industrial Designs: Industrial Designs are the appearance or ornamentation of a product or part of it, which makes it different from other visually without taking into account any of its technical or functional features . The definition of product is very broad and includes both industrial and artisan products.
– Trademarks, Trade Names and Company Names: Trademarks and trade names are distinctive signs that are protected by certificates issued by the State and which give the holder the exclusive right to use them in trade, and deny others the use of protected or other distinctive signs identical or similar applied to identical or similar goods or services.
A trademark is a sign that allows employers to distinguish their products or services from the goods or services of competitors.
A trade name is the sign or designation identifying a company in the trade and used to identify, individualize and distinguish it from other companies carrying out identical or similar activities.
A company name is the name that identifies a legal person in the trade as a subject of legal relations and, therefore, capable of rights and obligations.
– Patents and utility models: A patent is a title that recognizes the exclusive right to exploit the patented invention, preventing others from manufacturing, selling or using it without the consent of the owner. The right granted by a patent is not the manufacturing, the offering in the market and the use of the object of the patent, which always has and can exercise the holder, but more specifically “the right to exclude others” from the manufacture, use or introduction of the patented product or procedure in trade. The patent can refer to a new process, a new device, a new product or to developing or improving them. The patent is granted for twenty years from the filing date of the application. To keep it in force, it is necessary to pay annual fees from its concession. The utility model protects inventions that are less inventive than those protected by patents, for example, consisting in giving an object a configuration or structure from which some use or practical advantage is derived. The device, instrument or tool protectable by the utility model is characterized by its “utility” and “practicality” and not its “aesthetics” as in industrial design.
The scope of protection of a utility model is similar to that conferred by the patent. The utility model is granted for ten years from the filing date of the application. Payment of annual fees is required in order to maintain the right.
– Semiconductor Topographies: The titles of protection of topographies of semiconductor products are the type of industrial property of recent appearance, and relate to electronic integrated circuits. Its purpose is to protect the layout of the different layers and elements of the integrated circuit, the three-dimensional arrangement and their interconnections, which ultimately constitutes its “topography”. The duration of protection is ten years from the end of the year in which it is exploited for the first time in the world or the topography is registered.