What is a Trademark?
A Trademark is type of Intellectual Property Right that consists of a recognisable symbol, logo, name or design used to distinguish a company’s product or services from those of this competitor. It serves as an asset to a business, as it legally protects the company’s reputation and brand image. With a registered trademark, a company gains exclusive rights to use the mark and prevent others from using it without permission.
Legal Framework of Trademarks in Cyprus
The legal framework for trademark in Cyprus is governed by the Trademark Law (Cap268) and the EU Directive 2015/2436. Trademarks are also protected on an international level by organisations such as the Paris Convention, WIPO, the Madrid Agreement, the Madrid Protocol, the Trademark Law Treaty, and other regulatory bodies of which Cyprus is Member. This allows trademarks to be registered nationally, within the European Union and internationally.
Under the law, a person may be infringing on the rights of a trademark if they use a sign that is identical to the trademark and provide seminal goods or services, if the sign is similar to the trademark and they provide identical goods or services, or if there is a likelihood of confusion between the two trademarks.
What is the difference between Registered and Unregistered Trademarks?
A trademark can be registered or unregistered, but when it is registered, it becomes a matter of public record and there is no need to prove goodwill. The benefits of a registered trademark are numerous, including the protection of the business’s reputation and goodwill, the value of the brand investment, the motivation to enhance the quality of goods or services, the reinforcement of business ethnics, the safeguarding of consumers from deception and more. Under Cypriot Law, a person is not infringing on intellectual property rights if they copy an unregistered trademark. However, the proprietor retains the right to take legal action against passing off and claim damages.
Registration of Trademark in Cyprus
In Cyprus the Law stipulates that only a licensed practicing lawyer can register a trademark. This registration can be done either electronically or by filing the appropriate forms along a Power of Attorney to the Department of Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property.
It is advisable to conduct a trademark search before applying to avoid any similarities with existing registered trademarks. Although not compulsory, this process is highly recommended and typically takes three weeks to complete.
Upon receiving the application, the Registrar publishes the trademark in Official Gazette of Cyprus for a duration of two months. This period allows individuals with reasonable grounds to object to the registration of the trademark. When no objection is filed, the trademark is successfully registered, and the Registrar issues a certificate of registration along with a copy of trademark.
However, if an objection is raised, the process may take longer and usually involves a court hearing or arbitration between the opposing parties.
Trademarks in Cyprus are registered for 7 years from the date of the first application; however, their renewal lasts for 14 years, and they can be renewed indefinitely.