The registration of a trademark represents an extremely important process within a company. This is because the registration of any product ensures the company’s security that its image, the respective product, is unique and cannot be copied by anyone. A trademark registered with OSIM – the State Office for Inventions and Trademarks – signifies a secure brand, guaranteeing protection and contributing to the success of a product.
Firstly, we need to clarify the notion of a trademark, which can be defined as a distinctive sign capable of graphic representation and allowing the differentiation of products/services of an individual or legal entity from those belonging to other individuals (Art. 2 of Law 84/1998, amended and supplemented by Law 66/2010).
In the business environment, a trademark is perceived as a means of informing consumers about a company’s products/services, a method of differentiating their products/services, an advertising tool, and a means through which the producer/trader recovers investments made in quality and creativity. Additionally, a company’s trademark can be seen as the business card of the producer/trader.
Secondly, the right obtained through the registration of a trademark with OSIM is the right to prohibit third parties from using the trademark without the owner’s consent, thus protecting the financial efforts made for the production of quality products/services, market exploration, and conquering the market, as well as the profits obtained as a result.
By registering the product or service with OSIM, you will acquire ownership rights, meaning that only you will decide who and under what conditions can use that trademark, and you can prevent any abuses by individuals attempting to appropriate your clientele through counterfeiting the trademark or registering a similar one that may cause confusion.
The protection of a trademark in most states is obtained through registration with the competent State Office for Inventions and Trademarks. The first to file a deposit will be the owner of that trademark from the date of its establishment, of course, with the condition of subsequent registration of the trademark.
For the registration of a national trademark, a registration application is filed with OSIM – the State Office for Inventions and Trademarks, which must include the identification details of the applicant, the type of trademark, its reproduction, the products and services requested for protection according to the Nice Classification, and the registration fees. The minimum fees at OSIM for the registration of a national trademark amount to 540 lei (if the trademark is black and white and protects only one class of products/services).
An important aspect to mention regarding nationally registered trademarks is that after the registration of the trademark with OSIM, its owner or representative needs to periodically monitor appearances in the BOPI – Official Bulletin of Industrial Property, to prevent the registration of a similar or identical trademark. This is because, with the introduction of Law 66/2010, OSIM is no longer obligated to verify relative grounds for invalidity.
In the case of owning a company that conducts commercial relations in multiple countries within the European Union (e.g., exporting products) and you want your trademark to be protected in these countries, it would be more advisable to opt for a community trademark, which provides protection in all 27 member states.
The registration of a community trademark is done with/through the Office in Alicante, Spain (OHIM – Office for the Harmonization of the Internal Market) and has financial advantages since it is a protection system granted at the EU level for which a single, extremely favorable fee is paid compared to the total fees for all 27 states. The fee paid to OHIM for the registration of a community trademark is 900 euros (for up to 3 Nice classes), and for each additional class, an additional 150 euros.
Due to the expansion of social networks, web domains, and the cyber space in general, no business is purely local, no matter how small. In this context, trademark registration has evolved from being a convenience to a necessity for anyone who wants to protect or develop their business. Trademark registration is and should be viewed as a mandatory investment.
Lawyer Țimonea Adina