A trademark may be a sign, a symbol, a word, a logo or an emblem that is legally registered or established to represent a company or a product, distinguishing it from its’ competitors.
In the Republic of Cyprus, trademark registration is governed by the the Trade Marks Law and protected by a registration with the Official Cyprus Registry.
A trademark could be registered and protected domestically as well as within the European Union. ; The latter could be undertaken by submitting a direct application to the Central European Union Office (Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, OHIM), via the EU Trademark, which protects the trademark in all 28 countries at once. The former option is the trademark registration locally with the official Cyprus Registry.
According to the EU legislation, a trademark can be accepted for registration once it is distinctive in its’ domain and can be clearly differentiated from other signs that offer similar goods or services and Cypriot Law clearly states that such registration is not acceptable in the following cases:
1. If the product is illegal and/or promoting illegal goods and/or services
2. If it is offensive to the general public
3. If it is already established as customary within the trade market
4. If it contains a descriptive character, describing the service or goods or any of its’ characteristics
5. If it’s deceptive
Once the characteristics of the potential trademark are established , the application process begins. At this stage, it is important to follow the above listed steps, in order to succeed with registration:
1. Verification of the trademarks availability within the Republic of Cyprus
2. Classification of the trademark. This step is quite crucial, as it links the service or product to a specific class category. For the verification, the Nice Classification System is used. It is important to remember that although EU trademark application covers up to 3 classes, though in Cyprus, each application covers one class only.
3. Determination of the owner of the trademark. The trademark may belong to a natural person or a legal entity, regardless of the nationality.
4. Registration of the trademark locally, in the Republic of Cyprus, in the EU or internationally.
If an applicant chooses to proceed with an EU Trademark registration directly, previously called the CTM, the application must be sent directly to the Central EU Office . This process offers protection within all 28 EU Member States with one single application. This means though that if the trademark is unavailable in one or more EU country, then the trademark cannot be granted for the entire territory and the applicant will have to apply only in certain territories, via individual applications, which certainly is more time consuming, as well as costly.
The EU Trademark can be renewed indefinitely every 10 years and the entire application and registration process can take anywhere from 7 to 14 months in total. The Trademark protection and ownership of its’ rights begins on the date of submission of the application.
As for the domestic registration in Cyprus, the application and registration process is finalized in approximately 7 to 9 months. Please note that for the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, in the case of solely domestic registration, in order for a registered trademark to stay in force, it is mandatory to renew it 7 years after the first registration date. Thereafter it may be renewed every 14 years.
At the end of each process, a Certificate is Registration is issued and the registration is deemed to have taken place from the date of submission. The trademark is then published in the Official Gazette is the Republic of Cyprus, in case of a domestic registration, or in the Official Journal of the EU, in case the owner has opted for the EU registration.
Please note that all applications must be filed through a licensed attorney. For the registration in the Republic of Cyprus, the application as well as the description of the product or service must be in Greek language, while for the EU registration procedure, the language of choice can be any of the 3 official EU languages, which are English, French or German.
The present article does not in any way constitute legal advice. For further information and a personal evaluation of your case, please contact our legal consultants at Arsen Theofanidis LLC.
By N. Kalifatidou
Advocate – Legal Consultant
Arsen Theofanidis LLC