This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to intellectual property law in Sweden.
It will cover intellectual property rights, licensing, enforcement, establishing infringement or liability, and challenges to intellectual property.
This Q&A is part of the global guide to Intellectual Property. For a full list of jurisdictional Q&As visit http://www.inhouselawyer.co.uk/index.php/practice-areas/intellectual-property/
What different types of intellectual property rights exist to protect: (a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how); (b) Brands (e.g. trade marks, cause of action in passing off, rights to prevent unfair competition, association marks, certification marks, hallmarks, designations of origin, geographical indications, traditional speciality guarantees); (c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how).
(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);
The following protective rights can apply to inventions in Sweden:
Inventions can be protected by patent rights in accordance with the Swedish Patents Act (SFS 1967:837) (the ‘Patent Act’) (supplemented by the Patent Decree (SFS 1967:838)). In accordance herewith, any person who has made an invention which may have industrial application, or his or her successor in interest, may, following an application therefor, be granted a patent for the invention in Sweden and thereby acquire an exclusive right to exploit the patent in his or her profession. If exclusively a scientific discovery, artistic creation, business method or suchlike cannot be deemed an invention.
Further, a patent may only be granted for an invention which is new in relation to what was known prior to the date of the patent application and shall differ significantly therefrom. The scope of the patent protection is determined based on the claims put forward in the application. Patent protection is subject to annual fees to be submitted to the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (the ‘PRO’).
(ii) Supplementary Protection Certificate
In the events of patents for medicinal products and plant protection products, the term of a patent can be extended. This extension of the terms is based on two EC regulations (regulations (EC) No 469/2009 and (EC) 1610/96) and is called a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC). A SPC can be granted by the PRO under the conditions that
- the product is protected by a basic patent in force,
- a valid authorisation to place the product on the market as a medicinal product or a plant protection product has been granted and this authorisation was the first to place the product on the market, and
- the product has not already been the subject of a SPC.
The extension of the term can be granted for a period of five years. Furthermore, an SPC can be extended by another six months if the product is a medicinal product and the patent owner has tested the product’s suitability for children.
(iii) Right to Inventions of Employees
The Right to the Inventions of Employees Act (SFS 1949:345) (the Employees’ Invention Act’) applies to patentable inventions by employees in public and private employment (with a few exceptions) and stipulates that employees shall be entitled to the same rights to their inventions as other inventors unless otherwise is provided by the act.
The details of employees’ right to their inventions are often regulated in employment agreements. The employees’ right to reasonable compensation should the employer succeed an employee in relation to an invention is however obligatory.
(iv) Protection of Trade Secrets
Information concerning a business or operational circumstances of a business or research institution which is not, as a body or in the precise configuration and assembly of its components, generally known among or readily accessible to persons within the circles that normally deal with the kind of information in question, and the business proprietor, by taking reasonable measures, keeps secret due to the risk of damage should the information be disclosed (hereinafter ‘Trade Secrets’) are not intellectual property in a strict legal, Swedish sense but are closely related thereto and protected under the Trade Secrets Act (SFS 2018:558) (the ‘Trade Secrets Act’), which entered into force 1 July 2018 (repealing the old trade secrets act, SFS 1990:409). Under the Trade Secrets Act, unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure of a Trade Secret constitutes an attack on Trade Secrets, which can result in liability for damages and prohibitory injunctions against the attacker.. Regarding employees, the prohibit of unlawful dealing with Trade Secrets is in general only enforceable during the term of the employment. Where the attack took place after the termination of employment, the employee shall be liable for damages only where exceptional reasons exist. Unlawful disposal of or gaining of access to a Trade Secret are criminalised and lead to imprisonment not to exceed six or four years respectively.
(b) Brands (e.g. trade marks, cause of action in passing off, rights to prevent unfair competition, association marks, certification marks, hallmarks, designations of origin, geographical indications, traditional speciality guarantees);
(i) Right to Trademarks and Neighbouring Rights
The Trademark Act (SFS 2010:1877) (the ‘Trademark Act’) supplemented by the Trademark Regulation (SFS 2011:594) regulates the protection of trademarks and other marks for goods or services which are provided in trade and to which anyone can acquire an exclusive right, and of special designations for agricultural products and foodstuffs which are protected in the European Union.
The Trademark Act also covers exclusive rights to members’ use of collective trademarks which can be acquired by companies and suchlike, as well as the right of authorities, companies, associations etc. Furthermore, the Trademark Act covers rights such as guarantee marks, certification marks. The Act also contains provisions on special indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs which are protected within the European Union. A collective trademark refers to a trademark used by a number of different legal bodies who are members in an association. A guarantee or certification mark which can be acquired by companies and authorities verifies for example that a certain product meets requirements and provisions. Special indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs refer to marks which verify how or where a product has been manufactured.
In accordance with Section 4 of the Trademark Act, a trademark may consist of ‘all symbols capable of being represented graphically, particularly words, including personal names, as well as devices, letters, numerals, and the design or ornamental aspects of a product or its packaging, provided that such symbols have distinctive character’ (‘Trademark’). In order to have ‘distinctive character’, the trademark must be able to differentiate goods or services which are provided by one trader from those which are provided by another trader. In the determination hereof, consideration may be taken of the fact that it may acquire such character through use.
An exclusive right to a Trademark may be acquired by means of registration (in accordance with Chapter 2 or 5 of the Trademark Act depending on whether the application aims at a national or international registration) or establishment on the market, and entails that no party other than the proprietor, unless permission has been granted by the proprietor, may use in its commercial activities a symbol which is identical or similar to the Trademark of the proprietor in three main cases:
- a symbol identical to the mark or the proprietor for goods or services of the same type;
- identical or similar to the mark for goods or services of the same or a similar type, where there is a risk of confusion, including the risk that use of the symbol will lead to the belief that there is a connection between the party using the symbol and the proprietor of the mark; or
- a symbol identical or similar to a mark which is known within Sweden by a significant portion of the relevant public, where the use pertains to goods or services and involves improper exploitation of or, without good cause damages, the distinctive character or reputation of the mark.
Such prohibited use includes for example affixing the symbol to goods or their packaging, using the symbol in commercial activities, importing or exporting goods under the symbol or offering goods or services for sale under such symbol.
Protection through establishment demands a widespread recognition (known to a significant portion of those to whom it is addressed, the so called ‘relevant public’) as a designation for the goods or services provided under such mark. It is a form of protection that can be just as strong as a registered protection but comes with a degree of uncertainty.
Proprietors of right in Trademarks may freely sell or license the trademark.
(ii) Right to Trade Names
The name under which a business proprietor conducts its business is generally considered as its trade name. Under the Trade Names Act (SFS 1974:156) (the ‘Trade Names Act’), the right to a trade name includes protection of a company name, secondary company name, as well as secondary marks (together ‘Trade Names’). Exclusive rights to company names and secondary company cames are acquired either by means of establishment of a Trade Name (see above under Right to trademarks) or registration of a Trade Name with the Swedish Companies Registration Office (the ‘SCRO’). Exclusive rights to secondary marks are only acquired by means of establishment of a Trade Name (or registration as a trademark in accordance with the Trademark Act). Trade Names of a limited company must contain the word “aktiebolag” or the abbreviation “AB”. The proprietor of an exclusive right to a Trade Name is also entitled to a corresponding exclusive right to a trademark, and vice versa. Depending on the corporate form, the protection is enforceable in either parts of, or the entirety of, the country. Exclusive rights to Trade Names and Secondary Marks give rise to disposal rights resembling those of trademarks; without the proprietor’s consent other parties are prohibited from, in their commercial activities, using:
- a symbol identical to the Trade Name of the proprietor when conducting activities within the same area of business as the proprietor;
- a symbol identical, or similar, to the Trade Name of the proprietor when conducting activities within the same or similar area of business as the proprietor where there is a risk of confusion, including the risk that use of the symbol will lead to the belief that there is a connection between the party using the symbol and the proprietor of the mark; and
- a symbol identical, or similar, to a Trade Name of the proprietor which is known to a significant portion of the relevant public, if the use thereof involves improper exploitation of or, without good cause damages, the distinctive character or reputation of the trade name.
However, in accordance with Section 3 of the Trade Name Act an exclusive right to a registered Trade Name does not prohibit the use of a symbol of the kind referred to above, within that symbols area of exclusivity by other parties, when it is demonstrable that such use cannot cause damage to the registered Trade Name.
(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how).
(i) Copyright and Rights Neighbouring to Copyright
Creative works, including but not limited to music, lyrics, film, theatre, computer software, architecture and applied art, of different intellectual achievements may be protected by means of copyright under the Act on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works (SFS 1960:729) (the ‘Copyright Act’), supplemented by the Copyright Regulation (SFS 1993:1212) and the International Copyright Regulation (SFS 1994:193). Copyright arises automatically and does not require registration. In order for an expression to be considered, and thus protected as, a work in a legal sense, it must be sufficiently original and independent. Therefore, expressions which are entirely mechanically created are not considered works under the Copyright Act as they do not meet the level of originality required.
Furthermore, the Copyright Act includes neighbouring rights to copyright. These are the rights of performing artists, producers of recordings of sound and images, sound radio and television organisations, producers of catalogues and photographers. But for a few exceptions, the holders of the rights stated in this paragraph are entitled to the same rights as the holders of copyrights.
In accordance with Chapter 1, Section 2 of the Copyright Act, the effect of copyright is that the holder thereof is entitled to an exclusive right to exploit and make the work available to the public in any technical manner. Exploitation includes any direct and indirect, temporary or permanent reproduction of the work, irrespective of the form. A work can be made available to the public by means of:
- communication (via radio, television, internet etc.);
- public performance (live performances with or without the use of a technical device);
- public exhibition (availability without the use of a technical device); or
- distribution to the public (offering copies of the work for sale, lent etc.).
Copyright also have moral rights. The moral rights imply that the author must be mentioned when someone uses the work and others may not amend the work in a derogatory manner or use the work in an offensive context.
(ii) Design Protection
A design is under Section 1 of the Design Protection Act (SFS 1970:485) (the ‘Design Protection Act’) defined as the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the characteristics of the product details or of the details of the products ornamentation (a ‘Design’). Appearance details which are dictated solely by the technical function of the product or which must necessarily be reproduced in their exact form and dimensions in order to permit the product in question to be mechanically connected to or placed in, around or against another product so that both products can perform their functions are not included herein.
Any person who has created a Design (the ‘Designer’) or the Designer’s successor, may obtain an exclusive right to the Design in accordance with Section 1 a of the Design Protection Act, provided that the Design is considered to be new and having an individual character. These requirements are considered met only if no identical Design has been made available to the public before the date of the filing of the application for registration (‘Application Date’) and if the overall impression it produces differs from the overall impression given by any other design which has been made available to the public before the Application Date. Exclusive right to a Design is in general acquired through registration, but may also be done by means of establishment, in accordance with the Council Regulation (EC) No 6/2001 of 12 December 20011 on Community designs.
Under Section 7 of the Design Protection Act, exclusive right means that no third party may use the design without consent by the holder of the exclusive right, with a few exceptions, applicable for example when a design is done for non-commercial purposes.
(iii) Protection of Topographies for Semiconductor Products
Protection for topographies is regulated in the Act on the Protection of Topographies for Semiconductor Products (SFS 1992:1685) (the ‘Protection of Topographies Act’) and may be acquired directly through the creation. To be eligible for protection under the Protection of Topographies Act, the topography must be the result of its creator’s own intellectual effort and the topography must not consist of elements that are commonplace in the semiconductor industry. In accordance with Section 2 of the Protection of Topographies Act, the right in a topography of a semiconductor product includes an exclusive right for the rights proprietor to:
i. make reproductions of the topography;
ii. import reproductions of the typography, for commercial purpose; and
iii. make the typography available to the public by offering reproductions of the topography for sale, retail, lending or other public distribution.
Limitations on the protection apply for reproductions of the typography when made solely for teaching or analysing purposes, as well as for reproductions of a topography which have been distributed to the public within the European Economic Area (or mentioned in the regulation referred to in the above) by or with the consent of rights proprietor. The rights may also be limited with regards to the Freedom of Press Act (SFS 1949:105) in the event a reproduction of a topography constitutes part of a public document.
(iv) Plant Variety Rights
Gene technological procedures related to a plant or a plant variety may be protected in accordance with the Act on the Protection of Plant Variety Rights (SFS 1997:306) (the ‘Plant Variety Act’) (supplemented by the Protection of Plant Variety Rights Regulation (SFS 1997:383)). Unlike patent protection which aims to protect technical applications not limited to one or several varieties specifically, plant variety rights serves to protect certain varieties. Consequently, a genetically modified plant may be subject to both patent rights and plant variety rights.
(v) Marketing Practice
The Marketing Practices Act (SFS 2008:486) (the ‘Marketing Act’) aims at prohibiting unfair marketing practice. The Marketing Act applies when a business proprietor within its business markets or requests a product and the marketing or request is directed to Swedish consumers. Hence, the Marketing Act is not primarily protecting intellectual property as such. However it serves a purpose of safeguarding the protection guaranteed under other intellectual property legislation, e.g. by under Section 10 prohibiting among other things marketing practice that includes copies of other proprietors’ work and therefor is misleading, regardless of whether such copying is considered unlawful infringement under other legislation or not. In this way, the Marketing Act supports intellectual property rights holders’ interests. Misleading marketing also includes marketing which by exploitation of someone’s trademark or built up goodwill arouses associations to the holders’ right of that goodwill. Further, Section 10 of the Marketing Act aims at protecting geographical indications from unlawful use by means of misleading marketing. Product design is protected under Section 13 which prohibits plagiarising of original products which have a distinctive character.
(vi) Trade Secrets
Please see our answer to question 1 A (iv) above.
What is the duration of each of these intellectual property rights? What procedures exist to extend the life of registered rights in appropriate circumstances?
A granted patent may be in force for 20 years from when the application was filed at the PRO. As mentioned above, PRO may under certain circumstances grant pharmaceutical an extended patent protection, SPC, please see question A 1 (ii).
(b) Right to Inventions of Employees
An employer and an employee may agree on a limitation for the employee‘s right to exploit his or her inventions. Such limitation is however void if it exceeds to any inventions which are made more than one year after the employment has been terminated.
(c) Protection of Topographies for Semiconductor Products
The protection is in force for 10-11 years after the first commercial use of the topography. In the event it has not yet been commercially exploited, the right ceases fifteen years following the expiry of the year in which the topography was created.
(d) Right to Trademarks
A registered Trademark may be in force for 10 years and can be prolonged as many times as desired by the proprietor, provided that the registration fee is duly submitted to the PRO. The exclusive right to Trademarks acquired by establishment is in force for a period corresponding to the period of which the Trademark is established, or in other words, known by the relevant public. No registration is required.
(e) Right to Trade Names
Exclusive right to a Trade Name is perpetual, remaining in force until the registration of the Trade Name is revoked or the Trade Name ceases to be considered established.
Copyright in a Work subsists until the end of the 70th year after the year of death of the author or, in the case of a Work created by several authors, after the year of death of the last surviving author.
(g) Design Protection
The registration of a Design is valid for one or more five-year periods, calculated from the date of filing the application for registration at the PRO. A registration which is valid for less than twenty-five years may be renewed, upon application at the PRO, for additional five-year periods up to a total term of 25 years. Each such period shall be calculated from the expiry of the preceding period. Regarding Designs for parts intended for the repair of complex products so that they regain their original appearance, the registration is never valid for more than three five-year periods.
(h) Plant Variety Rights
A plant variety right is valid from the date when the application for registration was granted by the Swedish Board of Agriculture and may be maintained for 25 (or 30 for certain varieties) years calculated from 1 January of the year following the year when the decision about the registration became final.
(i) Trade Secrets
The protection of trade secrets is not limited in time.
Who is the first owner of each of these intellectual property rights and is this different for rights created in the course of employment or under a commission?
There is a presumption of the employee’s right to his or her invention. A few exceptions, where such right automatically vests with the employer, are however stipulated in the Employees’ Invention Act. In accordance herewith, an employer shall be entitled to succeed the employee’s interest in relation to a “Research Invention” which has arisen primarily as a result of the employee’s primary work duties. The employer shall be entitled to acquire a right to use an invention without pediment if the use of such invention, which has arisen in an employment context other than within the employee’s primary work duties, falls within the employer’s scope of business activity. The employer further has a right of priority over other parties to acquire the desired right to the invention through an agreement with the employee, has the invention arisen outside the context of employment but the use thereof falls within the employer’s scope of business.
(b) Protection of Topographies for Semiconductor Products
The owner of an exclusive right to a topography is the natural person who created the topography, provided that he or she is a national of, or has his habitual residence in, a state included in the European Economic Area (or a state mentioned under the Regulation (1993:1434) on the application in relation to other states of the act on the protection of circuit patterns for semiconductor products). If however the creator is an employee and the typography was created in the course of the employment and otherwise have not been agreed, a right to a typography shall vest with the employer.
(c) Right to Trademarks
Exclusive right to a Trademark vests with the natural or legal person whom have established or had the Trademark registered at the PRO.
(d) Right to Trade Names
Exclusive right to a Trade Name vests with the proprietor of the company to which the Trade Name belongs.
Copyright to a Work automatically vests with the author. Where a Work has two or more authors, whose contributions do not constitute independent works, the Copyright is owned by the authors jointly.
Copyright of employees is unregulated. However, a general rule is that a copyright arisen during an employment which valid for an indefinite term, does not automatically transfer to the employer to an extent beyond what can be considered necessary at the time of the creation with regards to the company’s normal course of business.
(f) Design Protection
Exclusive right to a Design vests with the person who has created the Design, or the Designer’s successor.
(g) Plant Variety Rights
See above under (a) Patent.
(h) Trade Secrets
Pursuant to the definition of a Trade Secret, it is the business operators’ or research facility’s proprietary information and the right to such information is thus owned by them.
Which of the intellectual property rights described above are registered rights?
- Trade Name
- Design right
- Plant Variety Right
Who can apply for registration of these intellectual property rights and, briefly, what is the procedure for registration?
The inventor, or the person(s) to whom the inventor’s rights have succeeded is/are entitled to apply for a patent registration. Legal entities may not be inventors but can indeed apply for patent regarding an invention to which it has acquired the rights. In accordance with the Patent Decree (SFS 1967:838), Swedish patent applications shall be filed at the PRO. International patent applications designating Sweden shall be filed with the public authority or international organisation authorised as a receiving office according to the Patent Cooperation Treaty and its regulations. Application forms are provided electronically at the PRO’s website. An application shall be made in writing and may be submitted electronically or physically. The application shall include information about the applicant(s), the inventor(s), a factual designation of the invention applied for etc.
Where an application is complete and there are no obstacles to grant a patent, the patent authority shall notify the applicant that a patent can be granted. Within two months of the date of notification, the applicant shall pay a fixed grant fee and, if the patent claims are written in English, shall submit a Swedish translation of the patent claims. In the event this does not occur, the application shall be dismissed. When the applicant has fulfilled its duties in accordance herewith, and there is still no obstacle to the patent, the patent authority shall grant the application. The decision shall be published and the patent is granted. A granted patent shall be recorded in the patent register maintained by the patent authority and patent letters shall be issued. Once the patent has been granted, the claims may not be amended so as to expand the scope of the patent protection.
(b) Right to Trademarks
Both natural and legal persons may apply for a registration of a Trademark. The applicant shall further provide a list showing the class(es) to which the goods and/or services belong. This classification provides the basis for and defines the scope of an exclusive right. The applicant shall also, where deemed necessary by the PRO, describe the mark in writing and state its distinguishing characteristics. Further, where an application for registration refers to the form or design of a product or its packaging, the applicant shall, when deemed necessary by the PRO, submit a sample of the product or packaging for storage at the PRO’s office.
The application shall contain: information regarding the applicant’s name or company name and address; information regarding any representative’s name and address; a clear reproduction of the trademark; and a list of the goods or services to which the trademark pertains and the classes to which they belong. An application for registration of a collective mark, confirmation mark, or certification mark shall also contain information regarding the prerequisites which apply to permissible use of the trademark.
Application forms are provided electronically at the PRO’s website.
(c) Right to Trade Names
The Trade Name is registered in connection with registration of the company at the SCRO. The application, which needs submitted in original to the SCRO shall be signed by a company representative authorised to sign on behalf of the company. Subject to an additional fee of approximately SEK 1,400 the applicant may have the proposed Trade Name(s) preliminary reviewed by the SCRO.
Application forms are provided electronically at the SCRO’s website.
(d) Design Protection
The Designer or the Designer’s successor may apply for a registered Design. The application shall be made in writing and submitted at the PRO. The application shall contain information regarding who created the design and about the product or products to which the design is intended to be applied or in which it is intended to be incorporated, and pictorial material showing the design. If registration is sought by a person other than the designer, the applicant shall prove his or her right to the design. If the application documents are complete and the PRO has not found any obstacle to the registration after examination the Design protection shall be granted and a notice to that effect be published.
Application forms are provided electronically at the PRO’s website.
(e) Plant Variety Rights
Any person or representative for a person who has produced or discovered a plant variety or that person’s successor may acquire an exclusive right to the variety through registration of the plant variety at the Swedish Board of Agriculture (the ‘SBAC’). Approval of the registration means that the variety should be admitted to the Swedish list of varieties or admitted to the EC common catalogues of varieties of agricultural plants or vegetable plants or fruit plants. For a variety to be approved and admitted to the Swedish national list of varieties, it must be technically examined for at least two years in cultivation, evaluating the variety’s distinctness, uniformity and stability (the ‘DUS-test’). A variety of an agricultural species then has its value for cultivation and use tested for at least 2 years in the cultivation and use test (VCU test) executed by the Swedish College for Agriculture. The uniqueness of a denomination or name for the variety is checked in the Swedish Community Plant Variety Office’s database of variety denominations.
Application forms are provided electronically at the SBAC’s website.
How long does the registration procedure usually take?
The processing times have been specified below under the assumption that the application is complete when first submitted. Days shall mean business days.
Between one and two years.
(b) Trademark Rights
Between 10 – 11 weeks.
(c) Trade Name Rights
Four days if registering a new limited company. 10 days for change of Trade Name.
(d) Design Protection
(e) Plant Variety Rights
Do third parties have the right to take part in or comment on the registration process?
No, however anyone can object to the registered patent within nine months from the date when the patent was granted. After nine months, third parties may only object to a granted patent through bringing proceedings before the Patent and Market Court.
(b) Trademark Rights
No. However, anyone can object to the Trade Mark within three months after registration. After three months, a third party can apply for an administrative revocation at the PRO.
(c) Trade Name Rights
(d) Design Protection
No. However, third parties can object to the Trade Mark within three months after registration.
(e) Plant Variety Rights
When an application has been submitted at the SBAC it is publicly announced for a period of two months during which third parties are entitled to object to the registration of the variety in question.
What (if any) steps can the applicant take if registration is refused?
(a) Patent (national)
The application may be reinstated if the applicant within four months from the expiration of the ordered time takes measures to rectify the shortcomings of the application, and pays the prescribed reinstatement fee within such time. Where the applicant fails to pay the annual fee, the application shall be dismissed without a preceding order and cannot be reinstated.
(b) Trademark Rights
The applicant is entitled to respond to the notice of refusal issued by the PRO. If the PRO still refuses registration, the applicant may appeal to the Patent and Market Court within two months from the date of the decision.
(c) Trade Name Rights
Should the SCRO fins the proposed Trade Name(s) to be invalid or unavailable, it shall issue an injunction to the applicant, who thereafter may alter the proposals or propose a new Trade Name. The altered or new proposed Trade Name is reviewed within one week.
What are the current application and renewal fees for each of these intellectual property rights?
All prices in SEK. Additional fees may apply.
(a) Patent (national)
Application fee: 3,000 (for a maximum of 10 patent claims)
Publication fee: 1,400
Annual fee: 300 first year and is raised annually (fee of the 20th year is 6,000)
SPC: application fee 5,000, annual fee 10,000
(b) Trademark Rights
Application fee: 1,800 (first classification included)
(c) Trade Name Rights
Application fee: included in application fee for registration of the company.
Change of Trade Name: 1,200
Application for Secondary Trade Name: 1,200
(d) Design Protection (national)
Application fee: 1,900
Renewal fee: 2,500 for each five-year period
(e) Plant Variety Rights
Application fee: 3,000 (DUS-test not included)
Annual fee: 2,000
What are the consequences of a failure to pay any renewal fees and what (if any) steps can be taken to remedy a failure to pay renewal fees?
(a) Trademark Rights
A reminder is issued when the registration has expired, after which the Trademark proprietor must pay the renewal fee within six months in order to have the registration renewed. The registration will otherwise cease.
(b) Design Protection
A reminder is issued when the registration has expired, after which the Trademark proprietor must pay the renewal fee within six months in order to have the registration renewed. The registration will otherwise cease.
What are the requirements to assign ownership of each of the intellectual property rights described above?
(a) Patents, trademarks, trade names, designs, plant variety rights
As described under B above, patents, trademarks, trade names, designs and plant variety rights are registered rights. and may be assigned. This may be done by way of any agreement valid under Swedish law. If an entity is sold, the rights owned by the entity will also be transferred to the purchaser along with the entity. The registers for each right may be update to reflect licensing of a right, however this is not a requirement.
Trade names may not be assigned under Swedish law other than through acquisition of shares of a company, where the trade name will be automatically transferred.
(b) Copyright, topographies for semiconductor products
As Swedish copyright is not registered there are no requirements to register assignment of copyright. Copyright is assigned through common agreement.
Topographies for semiconductor products are assigned through any agreement valid under Swedish law.
Is there a requirement to register an assignment of any of these intellectual property rights and, if so, what is the consequence of failing to register?
See answer to 11 above. There is no sanction or other consequence for failing to register an assignment.
What are the requirements to licence a third party to use each of the intellectual property rights described above?
(a) Patents, trademarks, trade names, designs, plant variety rights
As described under B above, patents, trademarks, trade names, designs and plant variety rights are registered rights and may be licensed. This may be done by way of any agreement valid under Swedish law. The registers for each right may be update to reflect licensing of a right, however this is not a requirement.
Trade names may not be licensed under Swedish law.
(b) Copyright and topographies for semiconductor products
Copyright and topographies for semiconductor products may be licensed. This may be done by way of any agreement valid under Swedish law. As there is not registration for these rights no update may be performed.
Is there a requirement to register a licence of any of these intellectual property rights and, if so, what is the consequence of failing to register?
See answer to 13 above. There is no sanction or other consequence for failing to register a license.
Are exclusive and non-exclusive licensees given different rights in respect of the enforcement of the licensed IP, and if so, how do those rights differ?
No, exclusive and non-exclusive licensees may enforce the licensed IP as long as the parties have not agreed otherwise.
Are there criminal sanctions for infringement of any intellectual property rights, and if so, what are they and how are they invoked?
(a) Criminal sanctions
In accordance with applicable regulations, anyone who wilfully or with gross negligence infringes a patent, a trademark, a design, a tradename, a typography for semiconductor producs, a copy right or a plant breeders’ right, or attempts to do so, shall be sentenced to fines or imprisonment for not more than two years.
(b) How to invoke
Regarding patents, trademarks, designs, tradenames and typographies for semiconductor products, actions for infringement may be brought by the public prosecutor only if the injured party files a complaint and a prosecution is called for in the public interest.
Actions due to infringements regarding copyrights and plant breeders’ rights may be brought by the public prosecutor if the injured party files a complaint or a prosecution is called for in the public interest.
(c) Protection of trade secrets
If anyone wilfully or without authorisation accesses a trade secret, or attempts to do so, he or she shall be sentenced for trade espionage to fines or imprisonment for not more than two years. If the offense is grave the punishment shall be no more than six years.
Furthermore, anyone who obtains a trade secret knowing that the person who makes available the secret, or anyone before him, has accesses it through trade espionage shall be sentenced for unauthorised tempering with trade secret to fines or imprisonment for not more than two years. Is the offence grave, the punishment shall be not more than four years.
What other enforcement options are available for each of the intellectual property rights described above? For example, civil court proceedings, intellectual property office proceedings, administrative proceedings, alternative dispute resolution.
(a) Civil Court Proceedings
Civil court proceedings are available for each of the intellectual property rights mentioned above. In addition to damages other ways of proceeding are available, as will be described below.
(i) Infringement Proceedings
Regarding patents, trademarks, designs, tradenames, plant breeders’ rights, copyrights and typographies of semiconductor products, infringement claims can be brought as civil proceedings at the Patent and Market Court.
(ii) Revocation Proceedings
Concerning patents, trademarks, designs, trade names and plant breeders’ rights, it is possible to bring revocation proceedings. However, if an alleged infringer wants to raise invalidity as a defence during infringement proceedings the alleged infringes has to make a cross-action regarding the invalidity of the intellectual property.
(iii) Declaratory Proceedings
In regard of the intellectual properties as stated in the paragraph above, declaratory proceedings are available to confirm infringement. However, regarding patents, designs and plant breeders’ rights, the claimant can bring an action for declaratory judgment only if there is uncertainty whether the claimant enjoys protection against another party on the basis of the patent and this is prejudicial to the claimant.
(iv) Declaratory Non-infringement Proceedings
For patents, trademarks, designs, tradenames and plant breeders’ rights, declarations of non-infringement are available. Regarding patents, designs and plant breeders’ rights, there are three requirements for bringing a lawsuit to obtain a declaratory judgment on non-infringement. The lawsuit must be brought by a person that carries on a business or is planning to do so, there is an uncertainty regarding whether it is allowed to carry on the business because of the intellectual property and this uncertainty is prejudicial to that person.
At civil court proceedings, injunctions, both preliminary and final, are available and the court can issue an injunction under the penalty of a fine in proceedings regarding to patents, trademarks, designs, tradenames, plant breeders’ rights, copyrights, typographies on semiconductor products and trade secrets.
(vi) Entitlement to priority
Regarding patents, trademarks, designs, trade names and plant breeders’ rights it is possible to claim entitlement to priority of the intellectual property.
(b) Intellectual Property Office Proceedings
Third parties can oppose the grant by the Patent office of patents, trademarks and designs within a certain amount of time (nine months regarding patents, three months regarding trademarks and two months regarding designs). The PRO then tries if the intellectual right shall be revoked.
(c) Administrative proceedings
Regarding trademarks and tradenames a third party who wishes to initiate a procedure to revoke a registration can apply for revocation before the authority designated by the government (administrative revocation). However, if the proprietor contests the application, the applicant must request that the claim shall be transferred to the Court if he or she wishes to maintain the claim. Therefore, an administrative revocation is only possible if the proprietor either does not contest the application or stays passive.
The parties can agree to submit an infringement dispute to arbitration. An arbitration award can have effects in relation to damages. However, the issue of validity of for example a patent cannot be decided through arbitration, as this falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Patent and Market Court.
(e) Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
Except for patent disputes relating to contracts (such as contracts concerning licences, research and development and so on), the use of ADR methods is fairly limited under Swedish law. The most common ADR methods available include mediation and negotiations between the parties to reach a settlement. However, in domain name cases ADRs are normal and frequent.
What is the length and cost of such procedures?
Length and costs varies between the different rights and within specific rights depending on the complexity of the case. A straightforward trademark case can be decided within 12 months for less than SEK 200,000, whereas complex patent cases can take several years to decide and cost several million SEK.
Where court action is available, please provide details of which court(s) have jurisdiction, how to start proceedings, the basics of the procedure, the time to trial, the format of the trial, the time to judgment and award of relief and whether any appeal is available.
The proceedings start when an action is filed with the Patent and Market Court, which has exclusive jurisdiction for proceedings regarding intellectual property rights. After this, exchange of documents follows where the arguments and evidence are first presented in writing and later at the hearing, orally. Decisions rendered by the Patent and market Court can be appealed to the Patent and Market Court of Appeal at second instance and to the Supreme Court at third instance. From the date of trial it takes about six weeks for the judgment to be made available.
An action brought due to a breach of the Act on Protecting of Trade Secrets is tried before a general court since the Patent and Market court does not have jurisdiction in these matters.
What customs procedures are available to stop the import and/or export of infringing goods?
An owner of an intellectual property right may file an application for action with the Customs Authority. If the Custom Service identifies products suspected of infringing an exclusive right, the custom service notifies the applicant who may then chose to take action against the importer of the infringing products.
Are any non-court enforcement options or dispute resolution mechanisms mandatory in respect of intellectual property disputes in any circumstances? If so, please provide details.
No, there are no mandatory non-court enforcement options or dispute resolutions in Sweden.
What options are available to settle intellectual property disputes?
Apart from confirmation of settlement during litigation, a settlement can be reached through mediation and negotiations between the parties. A dispute can also be settled through arbitration proceedings (in this regard, see question 17).
What is required to establish infringement of each of the intellectual property rights described above? What evidence is necessary in this context?
Firstly, it should be noted that regarding all infringement claims under Swedish IP law the plaintiff has the burden of proof to show that an infringement constituting action has been made by the defendant.
However, this is not to confuse with specific assessment that the court has to make regarding if the actual IP-right has been infringed. Under Swedish law, such assessments are considered as legal questions rather than evidential issues. Hence, establishing infringement in this regard is not dependent on a production of evidence by the plaintiff. On the contrary, the court assesses the infringement assertion independently with regard to the scope of protection of the intellectual property right. However, and as described in detail below, it is not uncommon that the parties invoke a substantial amount of indirect evidence even in this regard.
Since copyright is an unregistered right the court must first find that the plaintiff’s work is protected under the Copyright Act in order to grant a claim for infringement. Regarding the criteria for a work to be protected by copyright, please see question 1. Secondly, and in order to establish infringement it must be found that the infringing product shows a substantial amount of similarities so that it must be considered as within the scope of protection of the plaintiff’s work. The extent of the scope of protection is determined with regard to the originality of the work.
Useful evidence in order to convince the court that the work should be entitled to copyright is expert opinions from Svensk Forms Opinionsnämnd or expert opinions written by a reputable professor.
(c) Trademarks and trade names
Since trademarks and tradenames provides a mutual protection for each other (also known as “the cross-protection”), and are assessed under similar infringement criteria they are described jointly under this section.
In order to establish trademark infringement the court must find that there is a likelihood of confusion between the plaintiff’s trademark and the mark used by the defendant. This is the case if the infringer’s use of the mark leads to the belief that there is a connection between the party using the mark and the proprietor of the mark.
Well known trademarks have a greater protection which also includes a prohibition against use of reputation and measures by other traders that negatively affects the trademark’s distinctiveness or reputation.
Common evidence in infringement cases regarding trademarks are market surveys. Such market surveys are specifically used to show that a trademark is well known within the relevant public in order to entail the greater protection entitled to well-known trademarks. According to established case law the plaintiff must prove that at least one third of the relevant public has knowledge of the mark in order for it to be considered as well known. Aside from market surveys, expert opinions by reputable professors within the field are also common evidence.
(d) Marketing law
Even though the Marketing Act is not primarily legislation that protects intellectual property there are several grounds that can be invoked in order to target other trader’s infringing actions. The most common claims relating to intellectual property are the prohibitions against misleading about commercial origin and misleading use of another trader’s known and distinct product design. In addition to these specific grounds there is also a general prohibition against unfair marketing.
In respect of the general prohibition, marketing can be considered unfair if the marketing makes undue use of the reputation of another party, its products, services, trademarks etc. This applies even if the use of product features, names etc. would not be misleading in the sense that it could cause confusion about the commercial origin of the products or services concerned.
In all cases under the Marketing Act the plaintiff must show that the marketing affects or is likely to affect the consumer’s ability to make a well-founded business decision – the so-called transaction test. The burden of proof under these grounds means that it is sufficient to show that the marketing leads the consumer to make a decision that he/she would not otherwise have made. As regards confusingly similar products the assessment is very similar to the one made in trademark infringement cases. Generally, if the court finds that there is a likelihood of confusion it should suffice to be considered to affect the consumers’ ability to make a well-founded business decision.
Common evidence in cases based on the Marketing Act is market surveys that are mainly invoked to show the consumers knowledge and appreciation of the plaintiff’s products. Even though recent case law within this field has shown that such evidence in terms of market surveys are usually given a limited value due to leading questions, or lack of representativeness etc. they are still beneficial if used correctly.
According to Swedish case law the court may apply the doctrine of equivalence in order to asses an alleged infringement. In summary, the court must find the following in order to find that an infringement of a patent has occurred: (i) the inventive idea has been used; (ii) the problem underlying the solution is the same as in the patent; (iii) the result of the solution is similar; and (iv) the functional result is the same.
In addition, there are a number of indicators that the court consider suggest that the doctrine is not applicable: (i) a simple construction solution; (ii) the missing feature is particularly important in respect of the invention; (iii) the skilled person would not be able to think of replacing the missing feature by the feature according to the contested embodiment; (iv) the patent claim would cover prior art; and (v) it is clear from the application file that the disputed feature was introduced during the prosecution to limit the scope of the invention.
There are a few aspects of infringement and invalidity which are subject to specific rules on burden of proof. For example, if the patent concerns a method for production of a new substance the alleged infringer has the primary burden of proof to show that the substance has been produced with an alternative, non-infringing method. In respect of invalidity proceedings the burden of proof to show the invention possesses the patented technical effect switches to the patentee if the plaintiff makes it probable that such effect is lacking. If the invalidity attack is based on lack of novelty due to prior public use of the claimed invention, such use must be proven ‘up to the hilt’ involving a stricter burden of proof.
(f) Unlawful use or disclosure of trade secrets
The Trade Secrets Act presents three main grounds that can be used against an infringing exploitation of intellectual property. All grounds have in common that it must be shown that the defendant has used or disclosed the trade secret intentionally or with negligence.
The trade secret itself could have been learned by the defendant either through (i) an employment, (ii) in confidence in conjunction with a business relationship, or (iii) from a person that has attained the trade secret in violation of (i) or (ii).
Further, and order to establish an unlawful use or reveal of the trade secret, the plaintiff must first show that the information in fact is a trade secret, see question 1 on which kind of data is covered by the act. Useful evidence in this regard could be confidentiality agreements and confidentially policies used by the entity.
As regards trade secrets that are given under the course of an employment it must be showed that the person knew or should have known that he was not permitted to disclose such secret.
As regards trade secrets which are learned in confidence in conjunction with a business relationship there is no requisite for the plaintiff to show that the person knew or should have known that he was not permitted to disclose the secret. This follows from the fact that the trade secret was learned in confidence.
Moreover, it is also prohibited to intentionally or by negligence disclose or use a trade secret which, pursuant to what he or she knew or should have known, was disclosed in contravention of the Freedom of Information and Official Secrets Act
In order to show that an infringement has been made in a registered design the court must find that the alleged infringing design does not produce, on the informed user, a different overall impression than that of the registered design. In assessing the scope of protection it is explicitly set out in the Design Protection Act that the degree of freedom of the designer in developing the design shall be considered.
(h) Registered plants varieties
In order to show that an infringement has been made in a registered plant, aside from direct imitations, the court must find that the alleged infringing plant is in breach with one of the following requisites: (i) the plant is not clearly distinguishable from the variety which has been registered, (ii) the plant is essentially derived from the registered variety, where the registered variety is not, in itself, an essentially derived variety; or (iii) the plant can only be produced through repeated use of the protected variety.
A plant variety shall be deemed to be essentially derived where it is predominantly derived from the original variety, or from a variety that in itself is
- predominantly derived from the original variety, while retaining the expression of the essential characteristics that result from the genotype or combination of genotypes of the original variety,
- is clearly distinguishable from the original variety; and
- except for the differences which result from the act of derivation, conforms with the original variety in the expression of the essential characteristics that result from the genotype or combination of genotypes of the original variety.
(i) Topographies for Semiconductor Products
In order to show that an infringement has been made in a right to topography of a semiconductor product the court must find that the infringer has made reproductions of the topography, imported reproductions of the topography for commercial purposes or made the topography available to the public by offering reproductions of the topography for sale, rental, lending or other public distribution.
The relevant statute in the act prescribes that “reproduction of a topography” also includes a semiconductor product which has been manufactured using the topography.
The right to topographies for semiconductor products shows essential similarities to copyright. Hence, the right does not protect the idea but the pattern itself. Thus, the court will not assess whether the alleged infringing product functions in the same way as the plaintiff’s right but instead whether the same pattern has been used.
How does the court acquire any necessary information (fact or technical) and in what circumstances does it do so? In particular a) Is there a technical judge, a judge with technical experience, a court appointed expert, an expert agreed by the parties, and/or parties’ expert witness evidence? b) What mechanisms are available for compelling the obtaining and protecting of evidence? Is disclosure or discovery available?
(a) Is there a technical judge, a judge with technical experience, a court appointed expert, an expert agreed by the parties, and/or parties' expert witness evidence?
Patent cases tried at first instance by the Patent and Market Court are normally decided by a panel of two legally qualified judges and two technical judges. The technical judges are specialist judges who are required to have technical or other relevant education as well as experience of the current intellectual property. Before the Court of Appeal, patent cases are normally heard and decided by three legally qualified judges and two technical judges. Patent cases before the Supreme Court are decided solely by legally qualified judges. Other IP cases are tried in first instance by one or three judges in the Patent and Market Court.
Experts are permitted under Swedish law and can be appointed both by the court and by the parties. In practice, court-appointed experts are rarely used whereas party appointed experts are very common in patent litigation and fairly common in other IP cases. An expert must provide a written expert opinion before trial stating the reasoning and circumstances on which his opinion is founded.
(b) What mechanisms are available for compelling the obtaining and protecting of evidence? Is disclosure or discovery available?
Under the Code of Judicial Procedure, a party can obtain a court order for the production of specific documents or other items of property that have relevance as evidence. Witness examination is allowed to identify documents and property that can be relevant.
In addition, the regulations regarding intellectual properties described in question 1 (except for the right to inventions of employees and the Marketing Act) enables a proprietor to request the Patent and Market Court to issue an order for a search of the infringer's premises to secure for evidence of infringement. The court can also issue a specific order for information against the infringer or third parties that have been involved in the infringement or have handled infringing goods.
How is information and evidence submitted to the court scrutinised? For example, is cross-examination available and if so, how frequently is it employed in practice?
The court must decide the case based on all the facts of the matter, in accordance with the principle of free evaluation of evidence. Generally, the court applies the balance of probability test. In principle, the owner of the rights bears the primary burden of proof to establish infringement.
The most common form of evidence used in infringement proceedings is documentary evidence. Witness evidence is also commonly used and the principle that witnesses must be heard in person before the court is central in Swedish procedural law. Witnesses are heard at trial and are subjects to cross-examination by the parties.
What defences to infringement are available?
Due to the fact that copyright is not a registered right in Sweden a common defense is to claim that the plaintiff’s work is not protected under the Copyright Act. Further, a useful objection is to focus on narrowing the scope of protection due to lack of originality of the work.
In this regard, useful evidence is to invoke similar prior art in order to show the lack of originality of the work. Since a lack of originality affects both the possibility for a work to obtain copyright as well as it scope of protection this is can be an effect full defense strategy.
(b) Trademarks and trade names
A common defense strategy is to attack the validity of the plaintiff’s trademark. Invalidity proceedings are also filed with the Patent and Market Court and are usually handled jointly with infringement cases. Depending on the handling of the infringement case, the court can decide that there should be a stay in the proceedings in the infringement case awaiting the outcome of the invalidity case.
(c) Marketing law
This is largely dependent on the claims brought by the plaintiff. In cases regarding misleading of commercial origin and/or misleading use of another trader’s known and distinct product design, common objections are that there is no likelihood of confusion within the relevant public (which may include arguments regarding the definition of the relevant public, where the plaintiff will often argue that the relevant public is more narrow and thus has a higher degree of knowledge and attention, whereas the defendant often argues that it should be defined as the general public). In the latter cases, another common defense is to argue that the plaintiff’s design is not distinctive or known.
In cases regarding misleading marketing statements, the defendant has the burden of proof that the marketing statements used are truthful. The defense strategy is thus to provide sufficient evidence in this regard.
In addition to a denial of infringement, the defendant can argue that the patent in question does not meet the requirements for a valid patent. In such case, the defendant has to file a claim for revocation of the patent with the court.
(e) Unlawful use or disclosure of trade secrets
defense strategy other than a denial of the use or disclosure of the trade secret is to claim that the information should not be considered as a trade secret. Useful evidence in this regard is to invoke documentation or correspondence that shows that the information was not held secret in a way that could categorise it as a trade secret.
A defense strategy in infringement cases, besides the objection that the scope of protection does not cover the infringing product, is to file a claim that the registration should be revoked. Useful evidence in this regard is similar prior art that can be used both to show the lack of novelty, which is a criteria for registration, or to argue that the scope of protection should in practice be limited to imitations due to the lack of freedom to variation within the field.
(g) Registered plants varieties
A defense strategy other than to claim that the plant does not infringe in the registered right under the grounds set out above is to commence revocation proceedings against the registration.
(h) Topographies for Semiconductor Products
Since the right to topographies for semiconductor products is an unregistered right, a defense strategy is to claim that the plaintiff’s product should not be protected under the Topographies for Semiconductor Products Act. Based on the criteria for protection, such objection should focus on the assertion that the plaintiff’s product is not based on an intellectual effort and that the topography consists of elements that are commonplace in the semiconductor industry. Useful evidence in this regard is therefore to invoke other topographies that support this argument along with an expert opinion.
Are there any other methods to remove or limit the effect of any of the intellectual property rights described above, for example, declaratory relief or licences of right?
As several of the intellectual property rights are not registered under Swedish law these cannot be challenged other than as an objection in an ongoing infringement proceeding or a proceeding on non-infringement. This section will therefore only discuss challenges to registered intellectual property rights.
Trademarks and trade names
Regarding trademarks and trade names it is possible to challenge them both during the registration process as well as during its subsistence. As mentioned in question 23, the same criteria to challenge applies for both trademarks and trade names but in the following focus has been put on trademarks.
Anyone can challenge a trademark registration. Firstly, it is possible to object against an application to register a trademark. This could only be done within six months from when the application was filed with the patent and registrations office.
If the objection period has passed and the application is granted one who wishes to challenge the trademark must file an action to revoke the registration. In summary, the grounds for revocation of a trademark are (i) the mark has been registered in violation of the Trademark Act and the registration continues to violate the Act (ii) as a result of the proprietor’s acts or passivity, the trademark has become generic for the goods or services to which the registration pertains (iii) the trademark has come to violate a law or other statutory instrument, standard practice, or the public order, (iv) the trademark has been intended to mislead the general public in respect of the nature, quality, geographic origin of the goods or service, or other circumstance in respect of the goods or service, and this is a result of the use made of the trademark for the registered goods or services by the proprietor or any person acting with his or her consent, (v) the proprietor has not made actual use of the mark in Sweden for the goods or services for which it is registered for a period of five years from the date on which the question of registration was conclusively resolved, or within a period of five consecutive years.
An application to revoke a registration should be filed with the patent and registrations office. If the holder of the registration does not object to the claim the authority will revoke it. If the owner of the registration objects to the claim the applicant will be given the opportunity to choose whether to proceed with the claim. If the applicant chooses to maintain his claim the case will be forwarded to the patent and market court where the proceedings will continue.
Patents can be challenged both during the registration process as well as after a grant. Both challenges are available to anyone.
During the registration process objections can be made towards a patent once the patent and registrations office has considered that an application meets the formal criteria. This is followed by a notice to grant the patent from the authority. Once the notice to grant the patent has been made public, a period of nine months follows where others than the applicant are given the opportunity the objection.
A patent can also be challenged once the objection period has ended. In such case, an action to declare the patent invalid must be filed with the patent and market court.
In order to succeed with an invalidity claim the court must find that (i) the patent does not meet the requirements for grant, (ii) insufficient disclosure of the invention, (iii) lack of support in the application as filed or (iv) expansion of the scope after it was granted.
The court could also partially invalidate a patent but cannot transform it into a utility model since the concept of utility models is not available in Sweden.
As with other registered intellectual property rights it is possible to challenge a registered design both during the initial application procedure and when it has been registered.
If the patent and registrations office does not find any obstacle to an application, the design shall be entered into the register and a notice to that effect be published. Once the notice is published an objection can be made within two months from the publication date.
The right to object to an application to register a design is rather detailed but can be briefly summarized as follows. An objection may be filed only by (i) any person who considers himself or herself entitled to the design, (ii) any person who applies for or is the holder of the right, if the objection is based on an obstacle to the design right pursuant to section or (iii) anyone who is affected by the right.
An action to declare a registration invalid must be filed with the patent and market court within one year from the time when the claimant learned of the registration and the other circumstances on which the action is based. Where the design holder was in good faith when the design was registered or when the design right was transferred to him or her, an action may not be brought more than three years from the registration. An action to declare the registration invalid can be made by anyone that meets the criteria to object to an application.
A claim for revocation could be based on the ground that the application did not meet the required criteria at the time of the registration. Such claim could include an argument that the design is (i) dictated solely by the technical function of that product; or (ii) must necessarily be reproduced in their exact form and dimensions in order to permit the product to which the design is applied to be mechanically connected to or placed in, around or against another product so that both products can perform their functions.
Registered plant varieties
A challenge to a registered plant variety could be made both during the registration process and once an application has been granted.
If the application documents are complete and there is no impediment to the registration, the Swedish Board of Agriculture which is the authority that handles such applications will publish a notice of the application in order to give the public an opportunity to object to the application. An objection to an application must be made within two months from the authority’s notice.
An action to revoke a granted registration should be filed with the patent and market court. Such action can be based on the grounds that the plant variety did not meet the criteria for registration at the time it was registered. In brief the requisites for registration are novelty, distinctiveness, uniformity with respect to its essential characteristics and stability.