Understanding the process
Trade marks come in a variety of forms. They may be verbal (words, a slogan, numerals, letters, etc.), figurative (a logo, graphic design, etc.), or a combination of the two (graphic design and name or name integrated within a graphic design or logo).
They provide a true visual showcase, enabling companies to increase their visibility and stand out from their competition. The primary role of a trade mark in a company’s economic and commercial growth policy makes it a critical tool which should be protected.
Registering a trade mark with the Intellectual Property Division of the Business Development Agency will give 10 years of national protection, which can be renewed. Protection involves granting the trade mark owner a monopoly on its use so that they can capitalise on the mark and take action to prevent any unauthorised use.
Once it is registered, the trade mark is protected in Monaco for a period of 10 years, renewable indefinitely. This protection gives the trade mark’s owner an exclusive right to exploitation since the latter has the right to prohibit third parties from using the filed and duly registered sign.
Registering a trade mark is, however, subject to certain conditions of issue which are set by the Intellectual Property Division. The following cannot be registered as trade marks:
- It is contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality
- It is protected by the Article 6ter of the Paris Convention, the list of which is available on the WIPO website
- It expressly designates the products and/or services for which registration is sought
- It contains details likely to mislead the public
- It expressly describes the type, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, place of origin or period of production of the products and/or services for which registration is sought
Finally, the mark chosen must be available. Please note: it is not the responsibility of the Intellectual Property Division to check whether a trade mark is available. It is therefore highly recommended that you conduct a prior rights search (for more information, see paragraph 2 below).