In many countries the registration of a trademark occurs after an examination phase carried out by the competent national Trademark Office. It is only after the successful conclusion of any opposition proceedings that the trademark holders get recording of the same.
A trademark is a "sign" used to distinguish goods or services from a competitor.
The main function of a trademark is to enable consumers to identify a good or a service of a particular company, in order to distinguish it from similar or identical products supplied by competitors.
Trademarks may be:
• words (including personal names)
• product shapes or of their packaging;
• combinations or color tones.
Italian law requires that a sign may be validly registered as a trademark where it is:
- new as it is not confusing others prior distinctive signs (trademarks, domain names, trade names);
- distinctive, as it is able to distinguish a product or service from that of other;
- lawful as it is not contrary to the law, public order or against the moral and, above all, it is not misleading as to the geographical origin, characteristics and the quality of its products and services.
Before submitting an application for a trademark it is appropriate that certain rules are observed:
- the trademark is in compliance with legal requirements;
- the trademark does not have any negative connotation in Italy and abroad, especially if potential export markets;
- the corresponding domain name is still free;
- the trademark is easy to read, write, memorize and easy to advertise on all types of media;
- a trademark search has been performed in order to check that it is not identical or similar to existing trademarks;
- identify the classes of products and services for which you intend to obtain registration of the trademark. It is essential that the trademark is registered in all classes in which you intend to use it.
- National trademark - the legal protection of the registered trademark at national level is limited to the Italian territory.
- Community trademark - the legal protection of the Community trade mark is valid for all European Union member countries.
- International trademarks - the holders of a national trademarks can extend the protection in European and non-European countries participating in two international agreements (the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol) filing an application for international brand. Thanks to a unique procedure will acquire the ownership of a single registered trademark valid for all EU countries, with this single procedure, the holder obtained with a single application a bundle of national trademarks, each valid for a designated country.