At Norsk Patentbyrå AS
We feature case workers and attorneys with a wide range of experience in the area of industrial property rights. Our current main area of focus is trademarks. We assist private individuals, businesses, and organizations alike in acquiring protection of immaterial assets and rights at home and abroad. We have a significant network of contacts abroad. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at + 47 23 13 90 50.
Industrial property rights is an old common denominator for patent, design, and trademarks. Patent is the exclusive right to (what is usually) a technical solution not previously known (before its invention). Design is the appearance or partial appearance of a product. A trademark is a distinctive mark of a product or a service.
Nowadays, immaterial assets – such as inventions, designs, and trademark – are associated with high financial values. For this reason, it can be very foolish not to protect these assets to every extent possible. Serious companies have realised this. For this reason, being able to use the ® symbol in conjunction with the company’s trademark(s) adds a certain level of business status. Often, protecting one’s immaterial assets is not as costly as one might think.
This area is undergoing rapid development. For example, it is now possible to apply for EU-registration of design and trademarks. Registration provides for protection in all of the 28 countries that are currently members of the European Union. It is also possible to apply for trademark registration for several countries using one application, as long as the countries in question are members of the Madrid Protocol. Give us a call – we will be happy to provide further information in this regards.
All companies have a trademark – i.e., a distinctive mark – for the products or services that they offer. This can be a distinctive mark (name) for the products, or it can be the company name used also as a trademark. Many companies also have a special logo.
The product name, the company name, and logos alike can be registered as trademarks. Registering a trademark entitles the registrant to exclusive rights for a renewable 10-year period, as well as the right to use the ® symbol in conjunction with the brand.
Feel free to call us if you would like advice on what should be protected.
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a distinctive mark for your products and/or services.
A trademark represents your identity on the market. A trademark suggests a certain quality, lifestyle, or reputation, and it can be highly valuable when marketing or profiling your products and services.
The most important trademark types are:
Figurative mark: A single design, such as the Mercedes-Benz «star».
Word mark: One or several words without any visual design.
Combined mark: Both words and figurative.
Figurative marks and combined marks are often referred to as «logos» in everyday usage.
Under certain circumstances, it is also possible to register slogans, sounds, and colours as trademarks.
Registration entitles you to exclusive rights to a trademark. Exclusive rights lead to security, and security leads to competitiveness. The characteristic â symbol can be used in conjunction with the company’s trademark. This provides for added status and value.
Around 14,000 trademark applications are processed in Norway every year, 75% of which are filed by foreign companies. Since exclusive rights are determined on a first-come, first-served basis, there is an actual risk associated with waiting to have one’s mark registered. Hence, such a decision should not be delayed.
For how long?
The registration is valid for ten years and can then be renewed at ten-year intervals.
Provided that the trademark application is approved, protection takes effect on the date the application was submitted. Hence, delaying the filing of a trademark application can involve a certain risk. This is because in the interim, applications may be received that serve as obstacles to your registration.
However, a five-year duty-to-use has been placed in effect. This means that the registration will become null and void if the mark is not used within the five-year time limit.
In accordance with the trademark act, exclusive rights can be obtained through registration. When registering, a registration certificate and a registration number are issued as proof of exclusive rights. With such undisputable documentation of your rights, you avoid unnecessary arguments over the existence of exclusive rights. Protection can also be acquired through implementation, but this merely provides for geographical protection. It may require relatively strict documentation to obtain approval of exclusive rights based on implementation, and such annotations often lead to costly legal processes.
(formerly known as pattern)
Design is the appearance of a product or parts of a product, such as the appearance of a lamp or a lamp stand. Screen images for data (not software), interior design (such as a store interior), and ornaments (such as the decor on a plate) can also be design-registered.
By registering the design pursuant to the Design Protection Act of 14 March 2003, you can obtain the exclusive rights to the appearance of the product for up to a 25-year period.
We ought to point out that technical solutions cannot be protected through design registration – only the appearance is protected.
The advantage of design registration, among other things, is that you get a registration certificate as documentation of your rights. This may be useful in the event of a conflict or when entering into license agreements, etc. It can also contribute to increasing the value of the company’s immaterial assets.
Design Registration Requirements
As a basic rule, the design must be new. This means that the design must have been known on the market for less than 12 months prior to filing the application.
In addition, the design must distinguish itself considerably from other known designs.
EU Design Registration
It is now possible to apply for design registration covering the entire European Union. This carries the advantage of covering 28 countries at a favourable price.
A patent is the exclusive right to an invention that can be exploited commercially. An invention is a technical solution that solves a practical task. Among other things, the solution must be new and be capable of being reproduced. One must be able to explain the invention and show how it is implemented.
To obtain a patent for an invention, the invention must have what is known as inventive step; i.e., the invention is unique and distinguishes itself significantly from previously known solutions to the same problem.
A patent entitles you to the exclusive rights to the invention for a limited period of time; i.e., up to 20 years from the date the patent application is submitted. In some cases, pharmaceuticals can be protected for up to 25 years.
Prior to submitting a patent application, you should research whether someone else has made any similar inventions in the past.
A domain is an electronic mailing address and thus not a trademark. As the amount of case law has increased in this area, it can now be determined that there is no reason for using domains that are intended for violating the established trademark rights of others. This is yet another good reason for protecting one’s trademarks. In Norway, domain names are administered by NORID.
Our attorneys handle most areas of commercial law.
A cost estimate is available upon request.
We have a significant network of contacts abroad, making us well-equipped to also assist with consultancy regarding disputes and legal issues in other countries.
The former term «firm» has been replaced with the term «business name.» «Firm» is the Latin word for name. Hence, the term «name of firm» is actually redundant. The use of business names is regulated by the Business Name Act of 1985.
Business name is the official term for companies organized as corporations, liability companies, shared liability companies, limited partnerships, etc., as well as for sole proprietorships.
A business name that is registered in the business registry (the Brønnøysund Registry Centre) is only protected against identical names. This means that similar business names are registered side by side in the business registry, as long as they are not identical. This further means that although a company name such as FIX has been registered in the business registry, it will be possible for others to register FIKS as a company name.
The best protection is obtained by registering the business name as a trademark.
This is based on Section 2-6 of the Business Name Act, which states that a company name may not be likely to be confused with a trademark that is protected pursuant to the trademark act.