As trademarks are used to distinguish the goods and services of a company-trader, and generally to promote, bring goodwill and add value to the owner’s business, it is a must to register a trademark in order to protect it against possible future infringements.
A registered trademark grants the owner the exclusive right to use it for the goods and services registered, and also the option to benefit financially by selling, licensing or franchising it. It also makes the filing of an action easier, in case of an infringement.
First step – Pre Examination
Before filing the application for registration to the Ministry of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping (Register of Trademarks), it is recommended to examine the availability of the trademark to be registered and also it’s potential for registration.
As regards availability, it shall be checked by a lawyer whether an identical or similar trademark is already registered for the same products or services by another person or company.
As regards to the potential for registration, the trademark shall be distinctive and lawful. It shall not be common, descriptive or indicative of the kind, nature, geographical origin or other characteristics of the goods/services.
The pre-examination of the above is important to avoid any possible collisions and/or complications in the further procedure for registration.
Filing of the application - Documentation
The application for registration of the trademark shall be filed in the Register of Trademarks accompanied by the following:
1. Application of specific type, found at www.gge.gr, in six (6) copies, all signed and stamped by the attorney-at-law. The application must contain the trademark registration form, details of the business and list of the products or services that the trademark will identify (distinguish).
2. Administrative filing fee of €120.00 for the first class plus €30.00 for each additional class, in case there are more than one, stamps of €7.80 and other legal expenses of around €50.00.
3. Specific power of attorney, designed for trademarks, signed by the company’s lawful representative and stamped with the company’s stamp.
4. If the owner of the trademark is a General Unlimited Partnership (G.P.) or a Limited Partnership (L.P.), the company’s articles of association should be also submitted. If the owner is a Limited Liability Company (LTD) or a Societe Anonyme (SA), what is submitted is the Official Government Gazette Issue or any other relevant document, which evidences the lawful representation of the signatory of the power of attorney.
5. In case of a foreign trademark, namely when the domicile or seat of the trademark’s owner is abroad, the special power of attorney shall also contain a declaration/statement of the owner that he is subject to the jurisdiction of the Courts of Athens, in case a dispute regarding the registration of the trademark arises.
Upon filing of the trademark application, the Register of Trademarks sets a hearing date, which usually takes place within 6-8 months after the date of filing. A week before the hearing date, the lawyer shall check whether there are any objections to the application by the competent officer of the Register. In practice, the competent officer searches for any potential conflicting trademarks and informs the owner of the trademark to be registered (or his attorney-at-law) upon request.
If there are no objections, the appearance at the hearing is usually not necessary; in the opposite case, the attorney appears at the hearing and requests time to file his submissions supporting the initial application within a specific date. The Administrative Trademark Committee is the competent authority to examine the application, the submissions of the lawyer and decide on the final approval or rejection of the application.
In case the Committee decides to approve the application, summary of the Decision is published at the Industrial Property Bulletin. This date is important, as the 16th day of the next month constitutes the beginning of the 4-month time limit for instituting a third-party opposition (“tritanakopi”) against the acceptance by anyone who has a legitimate interest.
In case the Committee decides to reject the application, the owner is entitled to appeal to the Administrative Court of First Instance within sixty (60) days after the date of service of the decision.
A registered trademark is valid for an initial period of 10 years from the date of the application and may be renewed every 10 years upon a typical application.
Community - International Trademarks
Community trademarks can be registered throughout the EU territory. They are valid for 10 years and renewable indefinitely. They have to be filed with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM).
If you are interested in registering your trademark in several countries throughout the world, you can obtain protection by filing one single application through the Madrid System, directed by the Madrid Agreement and Protocol and administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Our Law Firm provides legal assistance and guidance through all stages of the procedure and can handle all legal formalities and complications which may arise.
Our services include, inter alia:
- Legal advice on the potential for registration and availability of the trademark you want to register
- Pre-control of any conflicting trademarks
- Collecting the necessary documentation and filing the application for registration
- Checking of any objections raised, appearing at the hearing and preparation of our submissions, if necessary
- Dealing with any complications arising from a possible third-party opposition
- Filing an appeal before the Administrative Court of First Instance, in case of a rejection
- Renewal or transfer of your trademark.
The information contained herein is provided for general guidance and is intended to offer the user general information of interest. The application and impact of the laws in Greece can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. This information is provided on the understanding that the authors and publishers are not herein engaged in rendering professional advice or services. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professionals. While we have made every effort to ensure that the information contained is correct, we do not accept liability for any errors or omissions.
Author: Mr George Gaganas – Partner and Advocate