Industrial property is set to be one of the most important assets to a company. It is therefore vital before entering into a new market, to ensure its proper protection. In Spain, with rare exceptions, the principal registry governs these types of assets, which has come to mean that there is no right to an invention or distinct insignia if it has not been previously registered. In our country, unlike for example the United States, a system of first-to-file is in effect: priority rights are given to the first who files with the registry, ie, use does not give, except in the situations of well-known brands, the right to bring action against third parties.
The registration system, as referred to above, is governed by the principle of territoriality, which provides that protection is achieved only in countries where the patent or trademark has been registered. Elsewhere, in principle, these patents could be used freely by others. The registration of the trademark or patent in the country of origin, however, does not automatically grant protection in other countries, and it is therefore necessary to register your industrial property to ensure their protection.
It is worth noting that industrial property rights are proprietary in nature and therefore, it may be treated as a commodity, where it may be subject to acts of assignment or encumbrance, or can be transferable by any legally permitted means. One of the most commonly used contracts for this commodity is a license which authorizes a third party to be able to use these rights granted to them by registry in exchange for a fee.
Spain has ratified the most important international agreements in this area, which, except in rare cases, enable people without Spanish citizenship to obtain due protection of their rights, in addition to enabling Spanish nationals to receive protection in most of the other countries.
Spain’s membership in the European Union has also forced the Spanish legislature to follow the guidelines set out by EU directives on industrial property and require that our laws align themselves with the rest of Europe.
This article is not considered as legal advice