Trademark (in everyday business use, also brand) is a sign of a product and/or service which both natural as well as legal persons use in business activity for distinguishing the goods or services of a person from other similar types of goods or services of other persons.
In order to be granted legal protection for a trademark, an application for the registration along with the image or name of the trademark and the list of goods and/or services have to be filed with the Patent Office. Registration of a trademark guarantees the owner of the trademark exclusive rights for the use of the registered sign in the spheres it has been registered for (in some cases legal protection is also guaranteed for well-known but not registered trademarks on the condition that the trademark is proven to be well-known).
Signs protected as trademarks must be capable of being represented graphically (a word or words, images, three-dimensional forms, combinations of words and images, combinations of letters, combinations of numerals and letters). A trademark may not be lacking distinctive character, be descriptive (contain only signs indicating the kind, quantity, purpose and other characteristics of goods or services). Neither can it be misleading to the kind, quantity, purpose and other characteristics of the goods or services.
In order to grant legal protection for a trademark application, the Patent Office shall carry out an examination, based on which it will be decided whether the trademark infringes the interests/rights of previous trademark owners or not and whether it is in contradiction with other grounds for refusing registration stipulated in the trademark act or not. The examination process at the Patent Office takes from 15 to 18 months.
The right to a trademark enters into force on the filing date of an application for the registration of a trademark until the expiry 10 yearsfrom the date of making the registration. The validity of a trademark can be extended repeatedly for another period of 10 years. ® or TM shall be used as a warning for registered trademarks.
The Trade Marks Act came to effect in the Republic of Estonia in 1992.
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