TRADEMARK PROTECTION

1. What is a 'trademark'/service mark?

Any sign capable of being represented graphically which distinguishes goods and services of one undertaking from those of another can be defined as a trademark. Such trademark may be comprised of words (including personal names), figurative elements, letters, numerals or the shape of goods or their packaging (get  up).

2. Rights acquired by registering a trademark

When a proprietor registers his trademark, he acquires acquires exclusive property rights on the trademark.  The law provides specific rights in cases of trademark infringement such as the following:

the use in Malta in the course of trade of a sign identical or similar to the trademark in relation to goods or services which are identical or similar to those for which it is registered; and there is the likelihood of confusion on the part of the public, including the likelihood of association with the trademark;

the use in Malta in the course of trade of a sign which is identical with or similar to a trademark in relation to goods or services which are not similar to those for which the trademark is registered, but the trademark has a reputation in Malta and such use takes unfair advantage of or is detrimental to the distinctive character or the repute of the trademark.

3. Classification

Multiclass applications are not admitted and applications for the registration of a trademark in respect of different goods and services must be made in a different application for each category.

Goods and services are classified by the office according to the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks under the Nice Agreement.

Classes of Goods & Services

4. Priority Claims

Under the new Trademarks Act, a person who has filed an application for protection of a trademark in a country, which is a member of the World Trade Organisation or a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, he or his successor in title, has the right to claim priority in registering the same trademark for any or all of the same goods or services for which the application has been filed. Such claim to priority is applicable for a period of six months from the date of filing of the first application.

Priority Documentation Required: the standard original certified priority documentation from the Comptroller of Industrial Property of the country where the application was made.

Prior to Filing: A certificate letter from the Assistant Trademark Commissioner is sufficient. These documents must be translated into English.

5. Use

The new Trademarks Act has amended the application form for the registration of trademarks and/or service marks. A section has been introduced which stipulates that the trademark or service mark applied for is being used by the applicant or with his/her consent, in relation to the goods or services stated in the respective application, or that there is a bona fide intention that the mark will be used.

6. Amendment of an application

An application may be amended at a fee at the request of the applicant only by correcting: -

the name or address of applicant

errors of wording or of copying, or

obvious mistakes

and only where the corrections do not substantially affect the identity of the trademark or extend the goods or services covered by the application.

7. Collective marks and certification marks

Besides trademarks the industrial property office also receives applications for collective and certification marks.

A collective mark is a mark distinguishing the goods or services of members of an association from those of other undertakings.

A certification mark is a mark indicating that the goods or services in connection with which it is used are certified by the proprietor of the mark in respect of origin, material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics.

Classes of Goods & Services

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