A trade mark is a sign which distinguishes the goods and services of one undertaking or company from those of another. As indicators of origin, trade marks can be words, logos, devices or other distinctive features, or a combination of any or all of these. Through the use of trade marks, business can be identified, and retain customer loyalty and, create value and growth. Trade mark registration is one of the most effective ways to build and defend a trade marks right.
Examples of familiar Irish trade marks are: Cadburys Dairy Milk, Brennans Bread and Dairygold.
Trade marks are territorial rights. The Irish Patents Office is responsible for the registration of Irish national applications. Once the trade mark is registered it lasts for a 10 year period. This period can be extended indefinitely on payment of a renewal fee every 10 years.
European and international application systems also exist. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), (trademarks and designs), which is based in Spain, offers a unitary trade mark right granting protection across the 28 countries of the European Union. The system is based on filing one trade mark application and the payment of one set of fees. This system is a cost-effective system for businesses that trade across the EU.
International trade mark applications can be made through the “Madrid System”, which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Switzerland. This provides a mechanism for registering a trade mark in several countries by means of a single application, filed in one language, with one set of fees. A single international application replaces the need for an applicant to file a series of applications with different national Offices in which it wishes to obtain trade mark protection.
The official State emblems of Ireland are the Harp and the Shamrock. The use of the State emblem of the Harp is reserved for official use by Government Departments and State agencies. Authorisation to use the shamrock is restricted to goods or services of Irish origin.
Any queries regarding the use of a State emblem or permission to use the Emblems must be directed to the Intellectual Property Unit of this Department. Application for Ministerial consent to use a State emblem may be made to the Intellectual Property Unit.
A Certification Trade Mark is a mark that "certifies" goods or services as being of a certain standard or possessing certain qualities such as of origin, material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics. A certification mark can only be registered in the name of the proprietors if they themselves do not produce or provide the goods or services to which the mark is applied.
An application for a Certification is made to the Controller of Patents Trade Marks and Designs.
On 27 March 2013, the European Commission presented a package of proposals for the review of the Trade Mark Directive Directive 2008/95/EC and the Community Trade Mark Regulations (EC) No 207/2009 on the Community trade mark. The objective for this package is to foster innovation and economic growth by making trade mark registration systems all over the EU more accessible and efficient for business in terms of lower costs and complexity, increased speed, greater predictability and legal security.
The agreed final text was published in December 2015.
European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)