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Trade marks

WHAT IS A TRADE MARK?

A trade mark is any sign, capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one company from those of another.

The trade mark may be consisted of any signs, in particular of words, including the name of persons, or of designs, letters, numbers, colours, the shape of the good or the packaging of the good, or of sounds. The above signs must be capable of being represented in the trade marks’ register, in a manner that allows the competent authorities and the public to determine  with clarity and precision the subject – matter of protection afforded to its proprietor.

WHY SHOULD SOMEONE REGISTER A TRADEMARK?

Trade marks are protected by intellectual property and in particular by industrial property law, while it constitutes a significant intangible asset of its right holder.

The registration of a trade mark confers upon its right holder the right to exclusive use thereof in its goods, its packaging, its printed and other material that is used for the sale or promotion of its goods or/and services.

In addition, the registration of a trade mark entails and ensures the increase of the value of the business of right holder, the protection against the risk of counterfeiting and fraud, the safeguarding against competing trade marks, as well as the protection of the rights of the right holder in a legally enforceable manner, meaning  by recourse to courts.

WHAT CONSTITUTES EXCLUSIVE TRADE MARK USE?

The trade mark’s registration confers on the proprietor the exclusive right to use it, simultaneously prohibiting the use of that trade mark for the same goods or services by any third party.

In particular, it grants proprietor the right to affix it to its goods or services, which intends to distinguish, to affix it to the wrapping and packaging of its commodities, to any kind of advertising of its goods or services, to any printed material, as well as to use it in electronic or audiovisual media. The right to exclusive use of a trade mark type is referring retroactively to the filing date of its registration statement.

WHEN A TRADE MARK IS NOT PROTECTED?

When there is an identical or a similar trade mark, which has previously been registered in the trade mark register and distinguishes identical or similar goods or services. This risk is avoided by conducting a legal preliminary validation research to the European  TMView database, in order to determine the availability of the trade mark.

In the case where the sign of the trade mark is consisted of words or symbols that are purely descriptive in nature, meaning that they describe the good or service to be distinguished or it contains words denoting the quality, quantity, origin or value of the good/service offered.

In the case where the sign of the trade mark is contrary to accepted principles of morality or public policy.

When it has a misleading character, for instance in relation to the place of origin, the quality, the quantity or the nature of the good/service offered.

WHERE IS THE NATIONAL TRADE MARKS REGISTER KEPT?

The Register is maintained by the Hellenic Industrial Property Organisation (O.B.I.) which constitutes a supervised by the Ministry of Development and Investments entity, while it is the sole competent authority for the registration of trade marks in Greece and in particular to the Trade Marks Register that is kept to the premises of O.B.I. in Athens (area of Gyzi) at 21, Varvaki str. & Momferatou str., 114 74.

For more information you may either visit O.B.I.’s official website: www.obi.gr or contact the O.B.I.’s “One – Stop Service”, on a daily basis , from 09.00 am until 2.00 p.m. by calling (+30) 211-1097901-3, 80011-08108, 210-6183580 to -582, or by email at the following address: info@obi.gr.