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).

Intellectual Property (2nd edition)

Russia Small Flag Russia

Under the Russian Civil Code the intellectual property rights for industrial property are structurally divided into two subgroups: patent rights (inventions, utility models, industrial designs) and "means of individualization" of goods, works, services and enterprises of a legal entity or a person, i.e. an individual entrepreneur (company names, trademarks, appellations of origin, trade names). Some intellectual property rights, such as industrial designs, which are somewhere between inventions and trademarks are only subdivided into certain categories formally. Nevertheless they traditionally belong to patent rights in Russian law. Other rights, such as breeding achievements, although certified by a patent, are not related to patent rights in the Civil Code and stand separately. Other rights for technology, trade secrets, copyright and neighbouring rights also stand alone.

Patent Rights
Patent rights emerge for results of intellectual activity in the scientific and technical area (inventions and utility models) and in the area of artistic design (industrial designs):

  • Inventions. Inventions are technical solutions in any area related to a product or a method. Inventions are protectable by a patent providing that they are new and have an inventive step and industrial application.
  • Supplementary Protection Certificates may be granted for inventions related to medication, a pesticide, or an agrochemical, the use of which requires duly granted permission. An SPC is granted if more than five years have passed between the invention patent application filing date and the date of granting such permission. In this case, the term of validity of the invention patent may be extended for a period not exceeding five years.
  • Utility Models. Utility models are technical solutions related to a device. Utility models are protectable if they are new and have industrial application.
  • Industrial Designs. Industrial designs are artistic and design presentations of an article, manufactured industrially or by artisans, that defines its outward appearance. Industrial designs are granted protection if their essential features are new and original.

Means of Individualization

  • Company Name. A company name is the name of a commercial organization defined by its charter documents and included into the Uniform State Register of Legal Entities (an equivalent of a commercial/company register). A company name contains an indication of the organizational and legal forms and the actual name of the organization and cannot be composed solely of words referring to a type of commercial activity.
  • Trademarks and Service Marks. A trademark (service mark) (including collective marks and well-known marks) must be sufficient to distinguish (individualize) goods (services) of legal entities or individual entrepreneurs. A person who is not registered as an individual entrepreneur cannot be a trademark owner. Words, figurative signs, three-dimensional signs, other signs or combinations thereof may be registered as trademarks. A trademark may be registered in any colour or colour combination.
  • Appellation of Origin. An appellation of origin of goods represents or contains a name of any geographical object (a country, region, or locality) or a derivative of such a name which has become known to consumers as a result of long-standing use to designate a product originating there, the quality or characteristics of which are due exclusively or essentially to the geographic environment, including natural and human factors. The same applies to a sign which, though it does not contain the name of a geographical area, is still an indication to consumers that the goods bearing such a sign originate from the territory of a certain geographic area as set forth above.
  • Trade Name. As opposed to a company name, it is not obligatory to include a trade name in the charter documents or the Uniform State Register of Legal Entities. A trade name may be used by commercial and non-commercial organizations and individual entrepreneurs to designate a trade, industrial and other enterprise (or several enterprises) belonging to them. A trade name is protected under the condition that it is sufficiently distinctive and well known within a certain territory. At the same time, an exclusive right to a trade name is terminated if the right holder does not use it continuously for one year.

Other creations, technology and proprietary interests
Copyright and Neighbouring Rights. Scientific, literary and artistic works are subject to protection by copyright. Such works include but are not limited to literary, dramatic, musical and audiovisual works, paintings, sculptures, graphic design, works of architecture, photographic works and other works.

Computer programs (including operational systems and software complexes) are protected as literary works.

Copyright extends to published and non-published works expressed in any objective form and does not require registration or observation of any formalities. Voluntarily registration is possible in respect of computer programs and databases.

Copyright does not extend to ideas, concepts, principles, methods, processes, systems, manners or the resolution of technical, organizational or other problems, inventions, facts, programming languages and to geological information on subsoil.

The neighbouring rights to copyright are intellectual rights to performances, sound recordings, broadcast or cable-transmitted radio and TV programmes (the services of broadcasting and cable services organizations), to the contents of databases, and also to scientific, literary and artistic works published for the first time after they have passed into the public domain. Neighbouring rights are recognized and effective regardless of whether the copyright in respect of such works is available and effective or not.

Right to Technology. A unified technology is a complex object that includes a combination of inventions, utility models, industrial designs, computer programs or other IP rights (protectable and non-protectable) and may serve as a technological foundation for a practical activity in the civil or military field. The exclusive right to a unified technology applies to a technology of civil, military, special, or dual purpose, created in whole or in part at the expense of the state (at federal or local level).

Breeding Achievements. The intellectual rights to breeding achievements expands to plant varieties and animal breeds registered in the State Register of Protected Breeding Achievements providing they meet the criteria of novelty, distinctness, uniformity and stability.

Topologies of Integrated Microcircuits. Legal protection is granted to topologies of integrated microcircuits that are original and unknown in this field as of the creation date (the same applies to topologies that are composed of previously known elements but the spatio-geometric layout of the entirety of such elements and links between them meets the originality requirement). A topology of integrated microcircuits is deemed original unless otherwise proven.

Trade Secrets (Know-How). A trade secret (know-how) is information about intellectual activities in the area of science and technology and about the methods of carrying out professional activities. To be eligible for protection as a trade secret such information must have real or potential commercial value due to its not being known to third persons, and not freely accessible to third persons on legal grounds. Furthermore, the holder of such information must take reasonable measures aimed at keeping it confidential, in particular by way of introducing a special commercial secrecy regime or reasonable confidentiality measures.

China Small Flag China

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);
Invention patents, utility model patents, rights in confidential information and know-how as trade secrets.

(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);
Trademarks and certain brand-related actions pursuant to the Anti-Unfair Competition Law.

(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).
Copyright, design patents, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, geographical indications, and rights in confidential information and know-how as trade secrets.

France Small Flag France

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);
Under French law, inventions are protected by patents, supplementary protection certificates and utility certificates (Article L.611-1 and L.611-2 of the French Intellectual Property Code “IPC”).

Patent rights are granted for inventions of either products or processes in any fields of technology provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are susceptible of industrial application. In addition, the development at stake should not be excluded from patentable subject matter (Article L.611-10 of the IPC).

Trade secret is defined as any information that is not generally known or easily available, that is of commercial value because it is secret and that is subject to reasonable safeguards to keep it secret.

Until now, there was no specific set of rules provided by French law to protect confidential information. Disclosure of confidential information could however be sanctioned through an action in unfair competition (extra-contractual liability), breach of a non-disclosure agreement and/or confidentiality clause (contractual liability) or in disclosure of manufacturing secrets by a director or employee (criminal liability).

Following the EU Directive 2016/943 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure (Trade Secret Directive), French law had to adopted new sets of rules transposing the directive was therefore voted by the National Assembly on June 14, 2018 and by the Senat on June 21.

The bill confirms that, in general, trade secret protection falls within Tort law and that the misappropriation of trade secret triggers the civil liability of the infringer. The new set of rules will, however, co-exist with existing French legislation protecting manufacturing secrets, defined by case-law as "any manufacturing process offering a practical or commercial interest, implemented by a manufacturer and kept secret to its competitors" protected by the IPC (Article L.621-1) and the Labor Code (Article L.1227-1) which criminally sanction the actual or threatened disclosure of a manufacturing secret by any director or employee. Equally, existing criminal offences set out in the French Criminal Code will be maintained, such as theft, robbery and handling stolen goods (relevant in circumstances where documents containing the information have been stolen), fraud and breach of professional duties of secrecy.

(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. Trademarks
Pursuant to French Law, any sign capable of being graphically represented and distinguishing the goods or services of an undertaking from those of another can be registered as a trademark. Article L.711-1 of the IPC).

As a result, such a sign may be constituted by:

  • denomination in all forms, such as: words, combinations of words, surnames and geographical names, pseudonyms, letters, numerals, abbreviations;
  • Audible signs such as: sounds, musical phrases;
  • Figurative signs such as: devices, labels, logos, shapes, combinations or shades of colour.

It should be noted that the EU trademark directive 2015/2436 and regulation 2017/1001 waved the requirement of graphical representation and confirmed that different kind of sign such as taste, smell or motion could be registered as trademarks.

ii. Unfair competition or passing off
Unfair competition or passing off offers protection against the unauthorized used of other related rights identifying an undertaking such as unregistered trademark, company names, domain names etc. (Article 1240 of the French Civil Code).

iii. Collective and certification trademarks
Both collective and certification marks are recognized by French law. Pursuant to Article L.715-1 of the IPC:

  • A collective mark is a trademark which “may be used by any person who complies with regulations for use issued by the owner of the registration”
  • A collective certification mark “shall be affixed to goods or services that display, in particular, with regard to their nature, properties or qualities, the characteristics detailed in the respective regulations”.

iv. Geographical indications
Geographical indications protect the denomination of a region and designate products originating from it, their quality or characteristics being attributable to natural and human factors specific to the said location (Article L.721-2 of the IPC).

(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
Copyright protects original works of the mind, regardless of their kind, form of expression, merit or purpose, from the mere act of creation (Article L.111-1 and L.112-1 of the ICP). No registration is therefore required.

Copyright covers many different categories such as litrerary writings, dramatic, musical, artistic, choreographic, graphical and photographic work but also lectures, pleading, software etc. provided that there are original and concretely formed. In this respect, ideas and concepts are not granted any protection by copyright.

ii. Neighbouring rights
Neighboring rights protect:

  • performers (Article L.212-1 of the IPC);
  • phonogram producers (Article L213-1 of the IPC);
  • videogram producers (Article L.215-1 of the IPC);
  • audiovisual communication companies (Article L.216-1 of the IPC).

iii. Databases
Databases are defined as collections of works and data arranged in a methodical way and individually accessible. They can be protected either through copyright or through a sui generis right. Qualification for sui generis protection requires substantial investments in the constitution, verification or presentation of the database (Article L.341-1 of the IPC).

iv. Design rights
Design rights protect the appearance of the whole or part of an industrial or handcraft product, resulting from its features, colours, shape, texture or materials provided that it is new and has individual character (Article L.511-1 and L.511-2 of the IPC). Functional forms and designs contrary to public policy or morality are excluded from protection.

In France, design can be protected through national or European registration, it being specified that European law also provides with unregistered design rights.

v. Confidential information, know-how and trade secrets
Until now, there was no specific set of rules provided by French law to protect confidential information. Disclosure of confidential information could however be sanctioned through an action in unfair competition (extra-contractual liability), breach of a non-disclosure agreement and/or confidentiality clause (contractual liability) or in disclosure of manufacturing secrets by a director or employee (criminal liability).

Trade secret is defined as any information that is not generally known or easily available, that is of commercial value because it is secret and that is subject to reasonable safeguards to keep it secret.

vi. Semiconductor right
Semiconductor rights protect uncommon topographies reflecting an intellectual effort (Article L.622-1 of the IPC). Such uncommon topographies shall neither have been commercially exploited anywhere more than two years before its filing, nor fixed or encoded when it was not been exploited more than fifteen years before it has been fixed or encoded.

vii. Plant variety rights
Plant variety right protect new, distinct, stable and sufficiently uniform plant breeding (ArticleL623-1 of the IPC).

In this respect a new plant variety may be subjet of a tittle called “new plant variety certificate”, which shall confer on its owner an exclusive right to produce, reproduce, package for their reproduction or vegetative propagation, offer, sell or commercialize in any form, export, import or used for any of these pruposes reproduction or vegetative propagation material. (Article L623-4 of the IPC).

Switzerland Small Flag Switzerland

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);
An invention can be protected by patent if it is new, inventive and applicable in industry.
Supplementary protection certificates can be granted in relation to active ingredients or combination of active ingredients of medicinal products, provided that the product as such is protected by a patent and an official authorisation has been granted for placing the product on the Swiss market as medicinal product.

Inventions may also qualify as trade or business secrets. Even though trade or business secrets are not considered as intellectual property rights, there are protected to some extent under the Swiss Criminal Code, the Unfair Competition Act and the Swiss Code of Obligations.

(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);
Brands are primarily protected by trademarks, which are governed by the Trade Mark Protection Act ("TmPA"). Guarantee marks are also available to provide a guarantee that goods and service possess specific characteristics. Associations (not individuals) can file collective marks to protect a brand representing the goods or services of an association of manufacturing, trading or service companies.

Geographical indications ("PGI") and designations of origin ("PAO") are also protected under Swiss law.

Under certain conditions, brands can also be protected by the Unfair Competition Act, which provides rights to prevent passing-off and unfair competition.

(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 literary or artistic intellectual creation with an individual character, which somehow requires a certain degree of originality, can be protected by copyright (Art. 2 of the Federal Act on Copyright and Related Rights, "CopA"). The CopA also protects related rights, i.e. rights of performers, phonogram and audio-visual fixation producers and broadcasting organisations.

A design, whether two - or three-dimensional, can be protected if it is new and has individual character, i.e. if its overall impression differs sufficiently from existing designs.

Three-dimensional structures in the field of semiconductors can be protected as topographies under the Topographies Act.

Plant varieties and their designations are protected by the Federal Law on the Protection of New Plant Varieties.

Other creations, technology and proprietary interests may also qualify as trade or business secrets, which are protected to some extent under the Swiss Criminal Code, the Unfair Competition Act and the Swiss Code of Obligations.

Poland Small Flag Poland

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);

  • Patents
  • Supplementary protection rights (SPC - for medicinal products and plant protection products)
  • Utility models
  • Trade secrets (know-how protected under unfair competition law)
  • Improvement proposals (limited right to compensate inventors of solutions which are not eligible for protection as patentable inventions, utility models, designs, or semiconductor topographies)

(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);

  • Trade marks (including collective trade marks and collective guarantee trade marks – similar to certification and association marks, respectively, under Polish national patent laws), association marks and certification marks (protected under EU-wide regulations)
  • Business names (firm names – names of businesses which have limited protection)
  • Designations of origin
  • Geographical indications
  • Traditional specialities

(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).

  • Copyrights
  • Copyright-related rights: performers' rights, phonogram (sound recording) and videogram (first fixation of a sequence of moving images, such as a film) producers' rights, broadcasters' rights, first publication rights (publishers' rights to a first publication of a previously unpublished work where the copyright protection had expired), rights to critical and scientific publications (publishers' rights to critical and/or scientific editions of works where the copyright protection had expired)
  • Designs (registered and unregistered)
  • Semiconductor topographies
  • Plant varieties
  • Databases
  • Trade secrets

Italy Small Flag Italy

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);
Inventions can be protected under Italian law through:

Patents: provided that inventions (i) are new; (ii) imply an inventive activity; and (iii) are suitable for industrial application;

Supplementary protection certificates: if time elapsed during the period between the date of application for the patent and the market authorization and therefore the patent holder could not exploit his economic rights. Supplementary protection certificates grant an additional period to the duration of the patent of up to 5 years;

Utility models: for new models apt to provide particular efficacy or convenience of application or use for machines, or parts thereof, instruments, tools or functional objects in general;

Confidential information: as long as such information (i) is confidential; (ii) has an economic value; and (iii) is subject to measures to be considered reasonably adequate to keep it confidential.

(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);
Any sign capable of being represented graphically and, in particular, words, including personal names, designs, letters, numerals, sounds, the shape of goods or of their packaging, the color combinations or tones, provided that such sign is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings, may be protected as a trademark.

Unregistered trademarks are more often enforced though unfair completion claims.
Persons whose function is to guarantee the origin, nature or quality of specific goods or services, may obtain the registration for specific trademarks as collective marks and may grant the use of the marks to producers or traders. In Italy, therefore, collective marks and guarantee or certification marks converge in the one and only category of collective marks.

Protection is granted to geographical indications and designations of origin identifying a country, region or locality, when adopted to designate a product originating from that place and whose qualities, reputation or characteristics are due exclusively or essentially to the geographical environment of its origin, including natural and human factors and traditions.

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semi-conductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how).
Copyright protects works of the mind having a creative character and belonging to literature, music, figurative arts, architecture, theatre or cinematography, whatever their mode or form of expression. Computer programs shall also be protected as work as defined by the Italian Copyright Law ("ICL").

Registrations as designs and models may be granted to the appearance of the whole or a part of the product, resulting in particular from the features of the lines, contours, colors, shape, texture or materials of the product or its ornamentation, provided that the same are new and have an individual character.

Irrespective of the eligibility of that database for protection by copyright or by other rights and without prejudice to its contents or part of its contents, the maker of a data base shall have the right to prohibit any act of extraction or re-utilisation of all or of a substantial part of it.

The right to a new plant variety may consist of a group of plants in a botanical taxon of the lowest grade known that, whether it is or is not entirely consistent with the conditions set for the granting of the breeder's right, can be: (i) defined based on characteristics resulting from a given genotype or a given combination of genotypes; (ii) distinguished from any other group of plants based on the expression of at least one of said characteristics; and (iii) considered as a unit with regard to its suitability to be reproduced unchanged.

Exclusive rights may be granted for topographies if they are the result of the creative intellectual efforts of their author that are not common or familiar within the semi-conductor product industry. Exclusive rights may also be granted for topographies resulting from the combination of common or familiar elements, provided that as a whole they meet the requirements of creative intellectual efforts of their author that are not common or familiar to the industry.

Protection is granted to business information and technical-industrial experience, including commercial information and experience, subject to the legitimate control of the owner, as long as that information: (i) is confidential, in the sense that as a whole or in its precise configuration and combination of its elements it is not generally known or easily accessible for experts and operators in the field; (ii) has an economic value inasmuch as it is confidential; (iii) is subject, by the persons to whose legitimate control it is subject, to measures to be considered reasonably adequate to keep it confidential.

Protection shall also be granted to data relating to tests or other confidential data, whose processing entails a considerable effort and whose presentation is conditional upon the marketing authorization of chemical, pharmaceutical or agricultural products implying the use of new chemical substances.

Cyprus Small Flag Cyprus

Patents, Supplementary protection certificates, Rights in trade secrets and confidential information, Trade marks, Trade names, Cause of action in passing off, Rights to prevent unfair competition, Certification marks, Designations of origin, Geographical indications, Semiconductor topography rights, Plant varieties, Copyrights, Industrial Designs and Domain names.

Patents
A patent is the legal instrument provided nationally, on a European level or on international level for the protection of inventions. An invention can be registered as a patent in Cyprus if it is novel (new), it involves an inventive step and it is industrially applicable. Although an invention may occur in any field, the patent law restricts the areas in which patents can be granted. Discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods, aesthetic creations, schemes, rules and methods of preforming mental acts, playing games or doing business, computer programs, presentation of information and animal varieties are excluded from patentability. Moreover, inventions whose exploitation is considered as contrary to public order or morality cannot be registered. The protection of utility models in not possible in Cyprus.

Supplementary protection certificates
Supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) can be issued for inventions registered as patents and having marketing authorisation as pharmaceutical products to extend the term of patent protection for an invention related to pharmaceutical products by up to five years in qualifying circumstances. The SPC confers the same rights as the basic patent.

Trade secrets and confidential information
There is no specific legislation governing the protection of trade secrets and confidential information but there are several different laws that mention them. Trade secrets and confidential information can be protected under the contract law.

Trade marks
A trade mark must be able to be represented graphically and distinguish goods and/or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings. Except from the requirement to have distinctive character, a trade mark must not be similar to any other already registered trade mark and must not confuse the public. Words (including personal names), logos, symbols, letters, numerals, designs, images, shape of goods or their packaging, non-conventional marks (namely colours, sounds and smells) or any combination thereof can be registered as trade marks.

Trade names
A trade name (or business name or trading name) can be registered under the provisions of the Partnerships and Business Names Law, Cap 116.

Passing off
The owner of registered or not registered trade marks is entitled to file an action against someone who uses his trade mark without his permission, using the common law of passing off.

Unfair competition
Legislation is established for the protection of competition and unfair competition practices are forbidden by the law.

Certification marks
Signs or indications which designate the geographical origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy or other characteristics of goods and/or services can be registered but a certification mark may not be registered if the public may be misled with regard to the character or significance of a mark, in particular if it is likely to be taken to be something other than a certification mark, and for that reason the Registrar may require the mark to indicate that it is a certification mark.

Designations of origin, Geographical indications and Plant varieties
Designations of origin and Geographical indications are protected under the Appellation of Origin and Geographical Indications for Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs Act 2006 and plant varieties are protected by the Protection of New Varieties of Plants Act 2004.

Semiconductors
Semiconductor products are not patentable in Cyprus but can be protected under the Legal Protection of Topographies of Semiconductor Products Law No. 5(I)/2002 which follows the Council Directive 87/54/EEC of 16 December 1986 on the legal protection of topographies of semiconductor products.

Copyrights
A copyright is the statutory right to stop others from copying or exploiting in any other way original work without permission from the owner of such right. Scientific works, literary works, musical works, artistic works, cinematography, databases, sound recordings, radio and television broadcasts and publishing of previously unpublished works can be protected by copyrights.

Industrial designs
Patterns for the manufacture of industrial products, shapes of articles applied to other articles and in general work of craftmanship that is appealing to the eye in terms of aesthetics and can be used or sold in industry can be registered as industrial designs. An industrial design can be registered in Cyprus if it is novel and has individual character. Protection of a design may be obtained by the registration of a national industrial design or a Community design extending at once to all countries of the European Union.

Domain names
The following top level domain names can be registered in Cyprus by the authorized administrator of the CY Top Level Locator (URL), the University of Cyprus: “com.cy”, “gov.cy”, “info.cy”, “ac.cy”, “net.cy”, gov.cy, “org.cy”, “biz.cy”, “pro.cy”, “name.cy”, “ekloges.cy”, “tm.cy”, “ltd.cy”, “press.cy” and “parliament.cy”.

Israel Small Flag Israel

Those mentioned above.

Chile Small Flag Chile

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);
The Chilean legislation contemplates the protection of patents of invention, divisional applications for those inventions not analyzed in the original application, utility models and industrial secrets.

The use of divisional applications also applies, as pertinent, to utility models.

(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);
Chilean legislation considers the protection of word, combined, figurative, sound and certification mark trademarks. Likewise, the law grants the protection of a trademark to propaganda phrases, and commercial and industrial establishments.

The law also protects the appellations of origin and geographical indications.

(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).
Chilean legislation also considers the protection of copyrights, database rights, industrial drawings and design rights, layout designs (topographies) of integrated circuits rights and plant varieties.

The use of divisional applications also applies, as pertinent, to industrial drawings and designs, and to layout designs (topographies) of integrated circuits.

The protection of confidential information and know-how is achieved through the use of contracts.

Greece Small Flag Greece

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);
Protection of inventions that are new, involve an inventive step and are susceptible to industrial application can be obtained via patents. Inventions concerning novel and industrially applicable three-dimensional objects with a definite shape and form, such as tools, instruments, devices, apparatuses, or parts thereof, which are proposed as novel and industrially applicable and capable of giving a solution to a technical problem can be protected as utility models. In the case of patents for medicinal and plant protection products the duration of the patents can be extended for a period of (maximum) 5 years via Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs). The law also provides protection of unregistered rights in confidential information, trade secrets and know-how. Inventions can also be protected under unfair competition law.

(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);
Trademark rights are primarily obtained through registration. Three types of registration are available: national, EU and international. Use of a sign in the course of trade may result in a non-registered sign, protected under the law of unfair competition.

Cooperatives, associations of manufacturers, producers, suppliers of services, or traders with legal capacity, as well as legal persons governed by public law rules, can file applications for collective marks in order to distinguish the origin of goods or services of their members or the geographical origin, the kind, the quality or properties of such goods or services.

Designations of origin and protected geographical indications are considered as quasi- intellectual property rights, not creating individual rights.

(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).
Copyright and related rights enjoy specific legislative protection and do not need registration to be protected. Software and databases are protected under copyright law, whereas databases are also protected by a sui generis right in case they do not qualify for copyright protection.

Topographies of semiconductor products are protected by specific legislation whereas types of IP rights not protected by specific legislation (e.g. trade secrets, business methods, know- how (not patentable), business names etc) are protected under the law of unfair competition.

According to the leading opinion, the protection offered by unfair competition law is concurrent with protection under any specific legislation.

Regulation (EC) 2100/1994 with respect to plant variety rights is directly applicable in Greece. However, national plant variety registration is not possible since the presidential decree that would have implemented Greek plant varieties law 1564/1985 has yet to be published.

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

Rights identified below as "EU" or "Community" rights have geographical scope covering the EU. The other rights and causes of action are confined in geographical scope to the UK.

Patents
Patents are available for inventions that are new (novel), involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application. Patents grant the inventor a period of exclusivity in return for the inventor disclosing the invention. There is a requirement that the invention be disclosed sufficiently clearly and completely for this to occur.

Some categories of development, for instance discoveries, business methods and computer programs, are not considered to be inventions and are not patentable unless they offer a technical contribution. There are also categories of invention which are excluded from patentability, for example if the invention is contrary to public policy or morality or falls within another exclusion.

In basic terms, there are two systems pursuant to which a patent may be granted covering the UK: the national system and the European Patent Convention (EPC) system. Either system may be preceded by, or may act as the receiving office for, an application under the international system through the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO). Whichever system is employed, the patent that is granted is national in scope; European patents are, at present, filed as a single European application, but granted by the European Patent Office as a bundle of national designations.

As it can take some years after the patent has been filed in order to obtain regulatory approval for a pharmaceutical or plant protection product, supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) are available to extend the term of patent protection by up to five years in qualifying circumstances.

Trade secrets
In the UK, the law against misuse of confidential information has evolved in the tradition of the common law, to protect information that has the necessary quality of confidence and is subject to an obligation of confidence. In the UK, the tort of breach of confidence may assist in protecting against its unauthorised use. On 9 June 2018, the UK Trade Secrets (Enforcement etc.) Regulations 2018 came into force, to give effect to the EU Trade Secrets Directive, which broadly harmonises the law in this area in the EU. The Directive requires EU Member States to provide protection for trade secrets, which are defined (broadly) as information which (a) is secret, in the sense that it is not generally known or accessible in the circles that normally deal with the kind of information in question, (b) has commercial value because it is secret, and (c) has been subject to reasonable steps to keep it secret. In practice, the new legislation is not expected to lead to a significant change to the legal protection available for trade secrets in the UK.

The status of information as secret or confidential may be protected by an obligation of confidentiality arising under the common law or because of specific contractual terms (for example in employment contracts and non-disclosure agreements).

Registered trade marks
A mark or sign may be registered as a UK trade mark or a European Union trade mark if it is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of another, and of being represented on the register. It must also not be devoid of distinctive character or exclusively indicate the kind, quality, quantity or other characteristics of the goods or services. A mark which does not immediately appear to have distinctive character can acquire distinctiveness through use.

Registered trade marks can include a variety of forms such as words, domain names, colours and the shape of goods or packaging. There can also be non-traditional trade marks such as scents and sounds, but in practice, registration of non-traditional marks is difficult to obtain.

Marks such as certification, collective and hallmarks do not have the same function as ordinary trade marks but instead exist to provide an indication of standards or quality. Goods marked with a certification mark provide a guarantee that the goods or services bearing the mark meet a certain standard or possess a particular characteristic, whereas collective marks are an indication that the goods or services bearing the mark originate from members of a trade association. In contrast, hallmarks are a certification of a product's purity content in relation to precious metals including gold, silver and palladium.

Passing off
The tort of passing off can protect goodwill attached to goods or services in the UK. Passing off applies where there is a misrepresentation leading or likely to lead the public to believe the goods or services of a third party are those of the claimant or that some other authorised link (such a licence or endorsement agreement) exists between the claimant and the goods or services, and where the claimant suffers damage as a result. The tort can be used as a way of protecting unregistered trade marks, names, logos or get-up from being mis-used.

Registered designs
Designs that are new and have individual character can be registered as UK or "Community" (EU) designs. A design registration may be used to protect the appearance of the whole, or part, of a product, and may be a three-dimensional or two-dimensional design. It is not possible to register features of an article that perform a technical function or that interconnect with another part so as to perform a function, designs that are contrary to public policy or computer programs.

Unregistered designs
UK unregistered design right (UDR) protects any aspect of the shape and configuration of the whole or part of an article (whether external or internal) that is original, recorded in a design document or the subject of an article made to the design, and created by a qualifying person. UDR does not subsist in a method or principle of construction, the shape of an article that "must fit" another, or the appearance of an article that "must match" another. UDR does not protect two-dimensional designs such as ornamentation or surface decoration (which may be protected by copyright).

EU "Community" unregistered design right has a slightly broader scope of protection than UDR and protects both three-dimensional and two-dimensional designs.

Both UDR and Community unregistered design right arise automatically in qualifying circumstances. Infringement depends upon copying of the protected work (assessed qualitatively).

Copyright
Copyright may subsist in original works in any of the protected categories: literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcasts and typographical arrangements of published editions, provided the work qualifies by its author’s nationality or domicile or by the place of first publication of the work. Protection arises automatically when works are recorded in writing or some other form. Infringement depends upon copying the whole, or a substantial part, of the protected work (assessed qualitatively).

Database rights
Databases can be protected in two ways: by copyright and by the standalone database right. The standalone database right requires a substantial investment in obtaining, verifying or presenting the contents of a database.

Plant varieties
Plant variety rights are available, by registration, for new, distinct, uniform and stable plant varieties, and entitle the right owner to prevent others from reproducing or conditioning for propagation the relevant plant variety, or offering for sale, selling, exporting, importing or stocking for those purposes. Protection is available for the UK or throughout the EU.

Semiconductor topography rights
Semiconductor topography rights protect topographies in a pattern fixed on, or intended to be fixed on, a layer of a semiconductor product or a material used to make that semiconductor, or an arrangement of patterns fixed on the layers of a semiconductor. The protection arises automatically. Most original, integrated circuits are protected, provided the circuit has at least two layers, and one is made of a semiconducting material, with a pattern fixed to it for the purpose of performing an electronic function.

Pakistan Small Flag Pakistan

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);

  • Patents: In Pakistan, inventions can only be protected by patents, which are governed by the Pakistan Patents Ordinance, 2000.
  • There is no legislation available for the protection of supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how in Pakistan.

(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);

  • Trade marks, hallmarks
  • Cause of action in passing off
  • Right to prevent unfair competition (under competition laws)
  • Collective marks
  • Certification marks
  • geographical indications (limited protection)

(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).

  • Copyright
  • Designs
  • Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits
  • Plant varieties (through Plants Breeders’ Rights Act 2016)

Ecuador Small Flag Ecuador

As a precedent, it is important to point out that Ecuador, as a member of the World Trade Organization, is a member of the Agreement on Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, TRIPS, to the WIPO Copyright Treaty. It is also a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Rome Convention on the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and the Organizations of Broadcasting, the WIPO Treaty on the Interpretation or Execution of Phonograms and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).

Based on the rights enshrined in the aforementioned Agreements, Ecuador, as a member country of the Andean Community, acceded to the Common Industrial Property Regime, Common Regime on Copyright and Related Rights, Common Regime for the Protection of the Rights of Consumers of the Vegetable Varieties.

At the national level, Intellectual Property rights are governed by the Organic Code of the Social Economy of Knowledge and Innovation based on the aforementioned Agreements with certain limitations.

With the detailed background, the analysis of the protection of intellectual rights, which will be specified below are based on national and Andean legislation.

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);
The Ecuadorian and Andean rules protect as inventions the patents od product and procedure.

On the other hand, the legislation protects the rights on trade secrets and confidential information, which is not necessarily considered an invention.

For a better understanding, a concept of each right is detailed below:

Patent of invention: It is a means of protecting the exclusive rights on a product or a process with novelty character, industrial application and inventive level granted in favour of the inventor, so that him can exploit it commercially in a period.

Business secrets: It is undisclosed information that a natural or legal person legitimately possesses, it can be used in any productive, industrial or commercial activity, and liable of being transmitted to a third party, to the extent that said information is secret, has commercial value and that has been subject to reasonable measures to keep it secret.

(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);
The national and Andean legislation protect the trademark rights, such as trademarks, commercial slogans, commercial names, certification marks, collective marks and country brand.

This also protects other ways to identify a product that is not necessarily a brand, distinctive appearances, geographical indications, specifically denominations of origin and traditional specialties guaranteed.

On the other hand, the legislation protects the traditional knowledge as ancestral and local knowledge of traditional cultural expressions.

Finally, all rights are protected against any act of unfair competition.

(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).
National and Andean legislation protects copyright, plant varieties, industrial designs, layout designs of semiconductor circuits, topographies, utility models and traditional knowledge.

Confidential information and / or know-how is protected in all cases.

United States Small Flag United States

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);
1) Utility patents for new and useful aspects of a process, a machine, a manufacture, and a composition of matter; 2) design patents for the ornamental and non-functional aspects of a design; and 3) plant patents for asexually reproducible plants.

Patent rights are distinct from rights in confidential information and/or know-how which are governed by trade secret laws.

(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);
Rights in trademarks, including service marks and trade dress (non-functional aspects of a product or its packaging) are provided for under U.S. common law and in the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. Chapter 22. Trademark rights arise in the U.S. based upon actual use of the mark in interstate or international commerce, not registration.

Subchapter III of the Lanham Act, included in §§ 1111-1127, sets forth the causes of action and remedies for trademark infringement as well as importation of infringing goods, false designations of origin, false descriptions and dilution of trademarks.

Subchapter IV of the Lanham Act, included in §§ 1141-1141n, sets forth the U.S. requirements for applications under the Madrid Protocol, which provides for international registration of trademarks.

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).
Copyrights protect original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible medium. The Copyright Act of 1976, title 17 of the United States Code.

Databases that are an original work of authorship are generally protectable as compilations under the Copyright Act. The underlying data is not protectable merely because the collection of data within the database is protectable.

Semiconductor topography rights in the U.S. are governed by the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act (SCPA). Such rights are acquired by filing with the U.S. Copyright Office an application for a “mask work” registration under the SCPA.

Trade secrets are protectable. A trade secret, generally, may be all forms and types of financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information, including patterns, plans, compilations, program devices, formulas, designs, prototypes, methods, techniques, processes, procedures, programs, or codes, whether tangible or intangible, and whether or how stored, compiled, or memorialized physically, electronically, graphically, photographically, or in writing, that is not generally known, and that derives independent economic value for its owner.

Malaysia Small Flag Malaysia

Intellectual property rights exist in our jurisdiction to protect:

(a) Inventions: patents and confidential information

(b) Brands: trade marks, passing off, geographical indication

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests: copyright (which includes literary works; musical works; artistic works such as graphic work, photograph, sculpture or collage, works of architecture and works of artistic craftsmanship; films; sound recordings; broadcasts; published editions of works; derivative works), plant varieties and industrial design.

Philippines Small Flag Philippines

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);
The intellectual property rights available to protect inventions include patents and utility models.

Patentable inventions involve any technical solution of a problem in any field of human activity which is new, involves an inventive step, and is industrially applicable.

A utility model is similar to a patent in that the technical solution must be new and industrially applicable, but need not involve an inventive step.

(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);
The intellectual property rights available to protect brands include trademarks, service marks and geographical indications.

A trademark is any visible sign capable of distinguishing goods while a service mark is any such mark capable of distinguishing services.

Brands, once registered as trademarks, may give rise to a cause of action for trademark infringement. Goodwill over brands, whether registered as a trademark or not, may be protected by filing a case for unfair competition.

Internationally well-known marks, whether registered as trademarks in the Philippines or not, are also entitled to protection.

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).
Other intellectual property rights include copyright, industrial design, and layout-designs of integrated circuits.

A copyright is the protection given to a creator of original works and derivative works. Original works include literary and artistic works. Derivative works include dramatizations, translations, adaptations, abridgments, arrangements, other alterations of literary or artistic works, collections of literary, scholarly or artistic works, and compilations of data and other materials which are original by reason of their selection or content arrangement.

An industrial design is any composition of lines or colors or any three-dimensional form, such that it gives a special appearance to and can serve as a pattern for an industrial product or handicraft.

A layout design of an integrated circuit is the three-dimensional disposition of the elements, at least one of which is an active element, and of some or all of the interconnections of an integrated circuit, or such three-dimensional disposition prepared for an integrated circuit intended for manufacture. An integrated circuit is a product in its final or intermediate form in which at least one of its elements is an active element, and some or all of the interconnections are integrally formed in and/or on a piece of material, and which is intended to perform an electronic function.

Undisclosed information or trade secrets may be protected under different Philippine laws and through confidentiality agreements between parties.

Japan Small Flag Japan

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);
Inventions: Highly advanced creation of technical ideas utilizing the laws of nature are protected under the Patent Act.

Devices: Creation of technical ideas utilizing the laws of nature relating to the shape or structure of an article or combination of articles (minor inventions, so to speak), are protected by the Utility Model Act.

Trade secrets: Technical or operational information useful for business activities that is controlled as a secret and is not publicly known is protected by the Unfair Competition Prevention Act.

(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);
Registered Trademarks: Any character, figure, sign or three-dimensional shape, or any combination thereof, or sounds, motions, holograms, colours, or positions that are used in connection with goods or services are registrable and protectable under the Trademark Act.

Unregistered Marks: Even if an indication of origin of goods or services is not registered as a trademark, it still can be protected under the Unfair Competition Prevention Act if the indication has acquired well-known or famous status.

Trade Names: No person may use, with a wrongful purpose, any name or trade name which makes it likely that the person may be mistaken for the other business entity under the Companies Act and the Commercial Code.

Geographical Indications: Name of agricultural products from which a specific geographical origin and established characteristics such as the quality that are linked to that origin are identified are registerable and protectable under the Act on Protection of the Name of Specific Agricultural, Forestry and Fisher Products and Foodstuffs.

(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).
Copyrights: Literary, academic, artistic or musical productions in which thoughts or sentiments are creatively express can be protected automatically upon creation under the Copyright Act.

Registered Designs: The shape, patterns or colours, or any combination thereof, of an article (including a part of an article) of aesthetic nature is registrable and protectable under the Design Act.

Unregistered Designs: Configurations of goods (shape of goods and their associated patterns, colour, gloss, and texture) are protected against substantially identical imitations within three years from the day on which the original goods were first sold in Japan.

Layout-Designs of Semiconductor Integrated Circuits: Layouts of circuitry elements in semiconductor integrated circuits and the lead wires connecting such elements are registrable and protectable under the Act on the Circuit Layout of a Semiconductor Integrated Circuits.

Plant Varieties: Any plant groupings which can be distinguished from any other plant grouping by the expression of at least one of the important characteristics and which can be propagated while maintaining all its expressions of characteristics without change are registrable and protectable under the Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act.

UAE Small Flag UAE

UAE laws recognise different types of intellectual property rights to protect

  • inventions:
    • Patents and utility certificates (where the invention lacks a sufficient degree of innovative activity). However, utility certificates do not grant exclusive rights. The UAE is a member of the PCT system, and so the UAE can be designated in PCT filings. Patent protection can also be obtained through GCC Patents.
  • brands:
    • Trademarks
  • other creations:
    • Copyrights, neighbouring rights granted to performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organizations, industrial design rights, plant varieties and plant breeders rights.

Mexico Small Flag Mexico

See Q2.

India Small Flag India

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);

  • Patents: In India, inventions can only be protected by Patents, which are governed by the Indian Patent Act, 1970.
  • Rights in confidential information and trade secrets (know-how): There is no separate legislation for the protection of confidential information and trade secrets in India, and the same is protected and governed under the contract law.
  • Supplementary protection certificates are not available in India

(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);

  • Trade marks
  • Cause of action in passing off
  • Right to prevent unfair competition (under competition laws)
  • Collective marks
  • Certification marks
  • Hallmarks
  • Geographical indications
  • Domain Name

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).

  • Copyrights
  • Designs
  • Semiconductors and integrated circuits
  • Plant varieties
  • Database rights

Sweden Small Flag Sweden

(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:

(i) Patent
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.

Latvia Small Flag Latvia

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in confidential information and/or know-how);

Patents - An invention shall be protected by a patent in any field of technology if the invention is new, it has an inventive step and it is susceptible of industrial application.

Supplementary protection certificates - In the case of patents for medicinal and plant protection products the duration of the patents can be extended via Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs).

Confidential information and confidential know-how - protection of trade and company secrets is provided through competition law as unfair competition.

(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);

Trade marks, including certification marks, as well as geographical indications or more precisely indications of geographical origin. There are no such concepts as association marks, hallmarks, designation of origin and traditional speciality guarantees. Our law also provides for protection against unfair competition.

Trade marks - signs used to distinguish the goods of one undertaking from those of other undertakings. According to the Law on Trade Marks and Indications of Geographical Origin of the Republic of Latvia the term trade marks also comprises service marks and collective marks.

Trade marks may be:

words - consisting of letters, words, also given names, surnames, numerals;

graphic - pictures, drawings, graphic symbols, shades of colours, combinations of colours;

three-dimensional - three-dimensional shapes, the shapes of goods or of their packaging;

a combination - consisting of a combination of the aforementioned elements (labels and the like);

specific types or special (sound or light signals and the like).

  • Geographical indications, designations of origin, traditional speciality guarantees.

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests (e.g. copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, database rights, rights in confidential information and/or know-how).

Registered designs – Design is defined as the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product or its decoration (ornamentation). Legal protection shall be granted to a design if it is new and has individual character.

Some other rights include copyright, design rights, semiconductor topography rights, plant varieties, and database rights as well as rights in trade secrets, confidential information and know-how the later three are all covered up by the notion of komerciālais noslēpums (commercial secret).

Vietnam Small Flag Vietnam

Generally all of the protectable subject matters included in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) were transposed into the 2005 Vietnamese IP Law as revised (the “IP Law”), particularly they are categorized as 3 principal branches:

(a) Copyright and Related Rights
The subject matters of copyright cover literary, artistic and scientific works as mentioned in the Berne Convention including their derivative works whereas the subject matters of related rights (neighbouring rights) comprise performances, audio and visual fixation (audio-visual recordings), broadcasts and satellite signals carrying coded programmes.

(b) Industrial Property Rights: inventions, utility solutions and industrial designs (these three types are the subject of patents), layout designs (also known as topographies or design of semi-conducting closed circuits or semiconductor topography), trade secrets (business secrets), trademarks, trade names, geographical indications, and protection against unfair competition (alike passing off)

(a) Rights to plant varieties and reproductive materials.

Germany Small Flag Germany

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);

  • Patents
  • Supplementary protection certificates (for medicinal products and plant protection products);
  • Utility models;
  • Confidential information and confidential know-how: protection of trade and company secrets is provided through unfair competition law. Germany is expected to implement the EU Trade Secrets Directive EU 2016/943 still in 2018; it is supposed to create an improved framework for the protection of trade and business secrets.

(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);

  • Registered trade marks
  • Unregistered trade marks established by
    • market recognition or
    • notoriety within the meaning of Article 6 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property 1883 (Paris Convention)
  • Business names: company names and work titles enjoy protection similar to trade marks under German trade mark law
  • Geographical indications, designations of origin, traditional speciality
  • Supplementary protection of creative property under competition law

(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).

  • Registered design rights;
  • Copyright, database rights;
  • Semiconductor topography rights;
  • Plant variety rights;
  • Protection of confidential know-how and business information (trade secrets)

Malta Small Flag Malta

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);

Under Maltese law, inventions are given protection via the registration of patents, which are regulated by the Patents & Designs Act, Chapter 417 of the Laws of Malta. Malta is a party of the European Patent Convention (2007) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (2007).

It is also possible to apply for a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) which has the effect of extending the term of a patent. Under Maltese law, it is possible to apply for such a certificate only in the case of medicinal or plant products.
There are also measures protecting confidential information and trade secrets. With regard to the latter, Malta has just transposed the Trade Secrets Directive into Maltese law.

(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);

Maltese law creates two fold protection for marks and signs. The Trademarks Act, Chapter 416 of the Laws of Malta, provides for the registration of trade marks in Malta and their enforcement, in line with EU laws. Applications may be submitted for word marks, figurative marks (including those with words), slogan marks and 3D marks with the Maltese Industrial Property Registrations Directorate (the “IPRD”). These may also be collective marks or certificate marks. One may therefore apply to register a national Maltese trade mark or a European Union trade mark.

Maltese law also provides protection for unregistered marks, names and distinctive devices from similar marks capable of causing confusion under the provisions relating to unfair competition under the Commercial Code.

Separate legislation, not falling under the Maltese Trademarks Act also provides for the obtainment of geographic indications, designations of origin, and denominations of origin.

(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 number of works are protected by Copyright in Malta. These are literary works, artistic works, audiovisual works, musical works and databases. The Copyright Act, Chapter 415 of the Laws of Malta, starts by providing authors’ rights and the economic rights therein, but also provides for moral rights for authors as well as neighbouring rights for producers, performers and broadcasters. Malta is a party to the Berne Covention, the Universal Copyright Convention, the TRIPS Agreement and the WIPO Copyright Treaties (WPPT and WCT). Malta has been a WIPO member since 1977.

Furthermore, the Copyright Act also provides for sui generis rights in Malta. These are the Database right, which is in line with the EU’s Database Directive, and the sui generis right for semi conductor product topographies.

The Patents and Designs Act caters for the filing of registered designs. This too is in line with European harmonising laws in this regard. Further to access to national and EU registered design rights, one also has access to the EU’s unregistered design right which is applicable in Malta via the Design Regulation.

Plant variety rights are granted in Malta by virtue of the European procedure in this regard.

That said, geographical indications and designations of origin and plant variety rights are not categorised by Maltese law as intellectual property rights at present, and they do not fall within the remit of the IPRD. They are, nevertheless, given a form of recognition and protection.

Brazil Small Flag Brazil

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how);

  • Patents – invention patents and utility model patents
  • Certificates of Addition
  • Confidential information and confidential know-how: protection of trade and company secrets is provided through unfair competition law.

(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);

  • Trademarks, for product and service trademarks, certification marks and collective marks
  • Geographical Indications, which comprise denominations of origin and indications of source
  • Protection against unfair competition acts

(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).

  • Copyright and neighbouring rights
  • Software Protection
  • Industrial Designs
  • Integrated Circuit Topographies
  • Plant Variety (cultivars)
  • Protection of confidential know-how and business information (trade secrets).

Norway Small Flag Norway

(a) Inventions (e.g. patents, supplementary protection certificates, rights in trade secrets, confidential information and/or know-how):>

The following types of intellectual property rights exist in Norway to protect inventions:

Patents

An invention may be protected by a patent. Patent rights are regulated by the Norwegian Patents Act of 15 December 1967 (Patents Act). Provided that the requirements of novelty and inventive step are fulfilled, any person who has made an invention which may be applied industrially, may be granted a patent following an application to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office ("NIPO").

The Norwegian patent regime also allows for Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPC) for medicinal products and plant protection products. The Norwegian legislation for SPCs is based on two EC regulations (regulations (EC) No 469/2009 and (EC) 1610/96).

An SPC comes into force after the basic patent has expired, and has a maximum term of five years. The term of an SPC can be extended by another six months when the SPC relates to a human medicinal product for which data from clinical trials conducted in accordance with an agreed Pediatric Investigation Plan have been submitted ("Pediatric Extension").

Protection of trade secrets and know-how

Although trade secrets are not intellectual property in a strict legal sense, they are closely related and are, as such, protected by the Norwegian Marketing Control Act of 9 January 2009 (Marketing Control Act).

According to section 28 of the Act, a person who has obtained knowledge or possession of a trade secret in connection with an employment or business relationship or a position of trust shall not exploit the secret unlawfully in the course of trade. The same applies to any person who has obtained knowledge or possession of a trade secret through another person's breach of a confidentiality obligation or otherwise through the unlawful act of another person.

This also applies to persons who have been entrusted with or obtained possession of technical drawings, descriptions, formulas, models or similar technical aids, cf. section 29.

Unfair competition and copying of products under Norwegian Marketing legislation

The Marketing Control Act also applies to acts and terms and conditions that are directed at consumers or businesses.

Section 25 of the Act requires that no act that breaches "good business practice" among businesses shall be performed in the course of trade. This is a very practical rule, which gives a legal standard allowing for a broad assessment of loyal and acceptable vs disloyal and non-acceptable business practice, taking into account e.g. if a previous relationship between the parties exist.

Moreover, section 30 prohibits, in the course of trade, the use of copies of distinguishing marks, products, catalogues, advertising material and other produced items in such a manner and under such circumstances that the use must be considered an unfair exploitation of the efforts or results of another person, thus presenting a risk of confusion.

The Marketing Control Act is thus vital in providing additional protection to intellectual property right holders.

(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);

The following types of intellectual property rights exists in Norway to protect brands:

Trademarks

The Norwegian Trademarks Act of 26 March 2010 (Trademarks Act), in principle, gives protection to all signs capable of distinguishing an entity's goods or services from others, such as words (including slogans), numbers, figures and images, trade dress and packaging.

Also sounds, colors and scents may be eligible for trademark protection. In HR-2017-2356-A the Norwegian Supreme Court addressed whether a colour could be established as a trade mark by use. The Supreme Court confirmed that a colour may constitute a mark, as it may be graphically presented. However, the condition to establish the trade mark by use was not met, as the producer of the pharmaceutical had used several different nuances of the colour, which suggested that the incorporation of the nuance as a trade mark was undeliberate.

Furthermore, the Trademarks Act establishes that "collective trademarks" may be protected, that is, trademarks pertaining to a society or organization to be used by its members. A sub-category of the "collective trade mark" is the so-called guarantee or certification mark, which is used by agencies, foundations, companies or other associations to demonstrate that certain standards or controls to which the marks relate are met (see section 1, first and second para and section 2, first para).

As indicated, the Trademarks Act establishes the so-called "two-track" system by which protection can be obtained by registration and/or by use. Applications for registration are sent to the NIPO and can be either national or international, asserting the Madrid System, hereunder the EU designation available in Madrid.

Company names

Norwegian legislation also recognizes rights to signs or identifiers besides trademarks, e.g., rights to company names and trade names.

The rights to company names and secondary trade names are outlined in the Company Name Register Act of 21 June 1985 (Company Name Act). Any company name, which is not identical to an existing and registered company name may be registered at the Brønnøysund Register Centre ("Brønnøysundregisteret"). In order for the company name to be protected further – against confusingly similar trademarks - the company name must be deemed to have met the same requirements of distinctiveness as trademarks.

The rights to secondary trade names is established by use. The secondary trade name is considered to be established by use when and for as long as it is well known as such in the circle of trade in Norway for the relevant goods and services.

Unfair competition and copying of products under Norwegian Marketing legislation

See our comments under question no 1 a).

(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).

The following types of intellectual property rights exists in Norway to protect other creations, technology and proprietary interests:

Copyright

Pursuant to the Copyright Act of 15 June 2018 (Copyright Act), any original literary or artistic work of any kind with individual character may be copyrightable. Section 2 of the Act includes a list of specific works that are copyrightable, but this list is not exhaustive: other works may also be protected, subject to the general requirements.

Designs

The exclusive right to a new design with an individual character is protected under the Norwegian Designs Act of 14 March 2003 (Designs Act). According to section 2 first para, the term "design" means "the appearance of a product or part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product itself or its ornamentation."

Insofar as the design meets the requirements set out in the Designs Act, registration may be granted by the NIPO following an application.

Unfair competition and copying of products under Norwegian Marketing legislation

See our answer to question no 1 a).

Topographies for semiconductor products

Protection of semiconductor topographies is regulated in the Act relating to the protection of semiconductor topographies of 15 June 1990 (Protection of Semiconductor Topographies Act).

In order for the semiconductor topography to enjoy protection in accordance with the act, the semiconductor topography must be the result of the creator's own intellectual effort and may not be commonplace in the industry, cf. section 1 third para.

Plant Varieties

A plant variety right may be obtained in accordance with the Plant Breeder's Right Act of 12 March 1993 (Plant Breeder's Right Act), and may be subject to both patent rights and plant variety rights. According to section 2, the plant breeder's right in accordance with the Act may only be granted in respect of varieties

i. which can be clearly distinguished from all other varieties that were known before the date of application,

ii. which are sufficiently uniform,

iii. which are stable in the characteristics enabling the variety to be clearly distinguished from the other varieties specified in litra (a), when propagated as indicated by the variety owner, and

iv. which have not been sold or offered for sale with the consent of the variety owner

1) in Norway before the date of application, or

2) abroad more than six years before the date of application in the case of vines, trees and their rootstocks or more than four years before the date of application in the case of other plants.

Updated: September 19, 2018