The safest way to protect the name of a brand is to register it as a trademark

  • 2009-10-07
  • By Renata Tatol
Since Lithuania became a member of the European Union, the country seems to be an interesting and attractive location for foreign investors and a leading center for product sourcing in the region. Its highly-skilled specialists and low cost alternative to production in the West, along with its strong production springboard to the huge markets to the East, a stable currency, all combine to make Lithuania a very attractive location for foreigners.

Over the past few years not only strong brands, but also new established ones are coming to Lithuania and usually, during the process of establishing a new business, the question of protection of the name of the brand or some other marks and signs appears. Usually, the proprietor of such a brand (mark) has no right to an exclusive use of such mark in the trade, e.g. the name of the brand usually has no legal protection in Lithuania unless it is the same as the name of the company owning the brand, or it is registered as a trademark, with the exception of trademarks which are commonly or generally known in the trade as distinguishing the goods or services of its owner from those of others.

A certificate of registration of a mark upon the Lithuanian Trademark Register is prima facie evidence of the validity of the registered mark and of the registration of the mark. The fastest and truest way to protect the owner's interests is to register the name of the brand or mark as a trademark. It is clear for most people that a mark may be any word, personal surname, name, artistic pseudonym, name of firm, slogan, letters, numerals, drawing, emblem, three-dimensional form, color or combination of colors, their compositions, sound or any other sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of other persons, and capable of being represented graphically.

However, a lot of difficulties during the process of registration sometimes appear and the legal representative is the first person to present qualified and reasonable advice in such situation. It seems that the most difficult for the owner of the concrete mark is to decide for which part of the brand and for which goods and/or services to register the mark. This is because the trademark, after registration, is usually protected only for concrete goods and services which are indicated in the application. Of course, the more goods and services to be indicated in the application, the more money to be paid for the registration, so the problem of choice sooner or later appears. Another problem is to decide clearly whether a chosen mark may be registered as a trademark at all. It shall be stressed that marks that are immoral, deceptive or scandalous, marks that are disparaging or that falsely suggest a connection, marks that suggest a false geographical indication, marks that are descriptive and opposed marks, shall not be possible for registration within the Lithuanian State Patent Bureau.

An applicant who wishes to register a mark must file an application with the State Patent Bureau of the Republic of Lithuania. An application may be filled by the owner of the mark 's a natural or legal person or a group of persons in whose name the application for the registration of marks is filed - or even by the legal representative of the owner. After the registration of the trademark the owner of a registered mark shall have the exclusive right to prevent all third persons not having his consent from using, in the course of trade, any sign which is identical or similar to the registered mark. And, it shall also be stressed that the protection of the trademark shall be declared as valid from the day of filling the application.

Renata Tatol is an Associate lawyer and Ecovis Miškinis, Kvainauskas ir partneriai advokatų kontora