Patents are acquired for inventions, whereas for trademarks and functional designs protection rights are acquired , and in the case of industrial designs, geographical indications and the topography of integrated circuits registration rights apply.
The Act on Industrial Property defines the conditions which must be met for each of the above categories.
One of the most popular methods of protection is the acquisition of legal protection for a trademark. In accordance with Article 120,”„a trademark may be any marking which can be presented in a visual manner, providing that this marking can be used to distinguish the products of one company from those of another.” This definition means that only markings which meet all of the following conditions can be considered trademarks:
a) they must be apparent to the senses b) they must be uniform c) they must be independent of the product itself d) it must be possible to represent them graphically
Failure to meet any of the above conditions is synonymous with failure to distinguish the product from others, in consequence meaning that the item under consideration cannot be used as a trademark. Other jurisdictions impose similar conditions.
Exclusive rights to a trademark can be acquired either through usage or by registration. In the first case, legal protection is awarded to the entity which first used this marking on the market in order to distinguish its products or services. In the second case, legal protection is awarded to the entity which registers the marking in the appropriate copyright office.
We differentiate three types of trademarks, based on the criteria of the extent of their legal protection; national, intra-EU, and international.