Step 6: Other intellectual property rights
This chapter concerns exclusive rights to company names, plant varieties and topographies - some less well-known intellectual property rights.
There are also other types of intellectual property rights. This chapter concerns exclusive rights to company names, plant varieties and topographies. However, this list is also not exhaustive.
6.1 Company names
A company name is a name under which an entrepreneur runs their business. The Swedish Company Name Act is very similar to trademark law (see Chapter 2). The collective name for what the rights cover is trade names. Trade names can consist of a company name, subsidiary companies and, secondarily, symbols. In legal contexts, the words “company name” do not refer to an enterprise, as many people believe.
Trade names can be protected by exclusive rights through registration or establishment. You should note that the holder of a trade name will automatically also have exclusive rights to the symbol as a product symbol. The holder of a product symbol has the corresponding exclusive rights to the symbol as a trade name (see section 2.2). The registration of trade names is handled by the Swedish Companies Registration Office. Depending on the type of company form which is registered, the protection will either apply throughout the country or in certain parts of the country only. The protection applies until it is terminated or ceases to be established. Passivity can lead to loss of the right.
It can sometimes be difficult to decide whether a case concerns the infringement of a trade name or a product symbol, which is something to be aware of. However, the protection is similar to trademark rights as regards usufruct (although it does concern trade names), similarity assessments, restrictions and sanctions.
6.2 Plant breeder’s rights
Plant breeder’s rights are very similar to patent rights, among other rights, in many ways. The Plant Breeder’s Right Act states that anyone who creates a novel plant variety can obtain exclusive rights to it. The protection arises through registration with the Swedish Board of Agriculture. The protection applies for 25-30 years depending on the type of plant variety and assuming that annual fees are paid.
The requirements for exclusive rights to a plant variety include that it must be considered to be novel, distinct, uniform and stable.
The protection means that other actors may not use plant varieties which are identical, derived or do not differ from the registered plant variety sufficiently. The uses that can be prohibited include certain forms of propagation, processing, storage, sale, importing or exporting of the plant variety.
Excepted from the protection are use for private and non-commercial purposes, experiments and use in the production of new plant varieties.
The recourses open to right holders in the event of infringement are essentially those specified in Chapter 5.
It is also possible to register plant varieties within the EU.
There is a law which protects what are known as "topographies for semiconductor products". Anyone who creates a topography obtains protection directly through the creation. However, in order to obtain protection, the topography must be a distinctive intellectual creation and the topography must not previously have been prevalent within the semiconductor industry. The protection applies for 10-11 years after the first commercial use, but ceases fifteen years after the creation of the topography if it has not yet been used commercially by then.
Topography rights entail the exclusive right to produce examples of the topography, to import examples of the topography for commercial purposes and to make examples of the topography available to the public.
The protection is restricted in teaching situations, for individual examples produced for private use and in connection with the resale of examples of the topography which have already been sold once within the EEA with the consent of the right holder.
For possible recourses in the event of infringement, see Chapter 5.