Trademarks

A trademark is a symbol for a company, product or service. It can consist of words, figures, letters, digits, personal names, slogans, sounds or combinations of these.

It can also be a specific formulation for the product itself. Regardless of which symbol you opt for, it must still be reproducible graphically in order for it to be possible to register it. The Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV) is the competent authority for trademark protection. In order to register a trademark, the trademark must not be confusable with existing registered or established trademarks. The trademark must have distinctive character, i.e. it must distinguish an entrepreneur’s products from other similar products or services from other entrepreneurs. Among other things, this means that it is not possible to claim exclusive rights to works which describe a product or words which everyone who sells the same type of products must have access to. For example, it is not possible to obtain trademark protection for a soft drink called “soft drink”. Trademark protection applies for a period of ten years from the date of registration and can then be extended indefinitely by ten years at a time. 

The term ‘product symbol’ is a somewhat broader concept which in practice means virtually the same thing as a trademark. (However, trade symbols need not be reproducible graphically.) Exclusive rights to product symbols will be triggered if they become established. This means that the product symbol has become sufficiently well-known in the trademark’s customer base.

A trademark is an intangible asset, which for example can be sold or licensed out.

A degenerated trademark is a trademark which has become synonymous amongst the general public with the product itself and lost its status as a separate trademark. Some examples of degenerated trademarks are thermos, dynamite and parquet. 

Find out more about trademarks 
Find out more about trademarks at the PRV School

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