New Spanish Trademark Law comes into force


New trademark legislation has come into force in Spain, replacing the Trademark Law of 1988. The new law takes into account various international agreements and EU trademark regulations - most notably the Community Trademark Directive - and reinforces the protection conferred to well-known marks.

The most important aspects of the new Trademark Law are the following:

  • 'Well-known' trademarks are defined as those generally known and recognized by the specific sector of the public for which the products or services related to the marks are destined. 'Reputed' marks are defined as those known and recognized by the public in general.

  • The owners of unregistered well-known or reputed trademarks have the right to bring not only an action for invalidation, but also administrative oppositions against new applications for confusingly similar or identical marks.

  • The definition of 'trademark' has been expanded to include sounds.

  • A new multi-class trademark is available, eliminating the previous law's onerous requirement of filing registration applications for each type of product or service to which the mark applies.

  • If a court finds that a trademark has been infringed, the trademark holder must be compensated for damages arising from the infringement, without the need to demonstrate actual damage. The amount of compensation for damages must take into account, among other factors, the fame and prestige of the infringed mark.

  • If a legal entity based outside of Spain owns a trademark and can prove that the mark is either used or well known in Spain, then it has the right to oppose the registration, or claim the invalidation, of any subsequent mark registered in Spain if confusion is likely to occur.

Cristina Duch, Mullerat, Barcelona

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