Trademarks

A trademark guarantees the owner the exclusive right to market the products and/or services bearing that mark

Trademark protection is an effective market tool used by manufacturers and service providers to protect the resources they invested in the promotion and marketing of their products and/or services.
A trademark is an exclusive right to the sign used to distinguish the products and/or services of one entity from others in the context of commercial transactions.

The name, logo, emblem, label or other distinguishing features of the product and/or service may be protected by a trademark.

In most countries, a trademark is acquired by registration on the basis of examination procedure performed by the appropriate competent authority, which, in the case of the Republic of Croatia, is the State Intellectual Property Office.

The basic requirements that a sign must meet in order to become a trademark are its distinctive features and not being identical or similar to a trademark or right (company name, copyright, etc.) established earlier, which is decided on the basis of an opposition filed by the holder of such earlier right.

A trademark guarantees the owner the exclusive right to market the products and/or services bearing that mark.

Trademark protection is an effective market tool used by manufacturers and service providers to protect the resources they invested in the promotion and marketing of their products and/or services. The protection of the design of a sign, logo or label may be a copyrighted work, thus protecting the interest of the author or creator.

Trademark protection in Croatia, as is the case in many countries, is valid for 10 years from the date of application. The protection duration may be extended indefinitely for periods of 10 years upon timely submission of application request for renewal (usually prior to the expiry of the previous 10 years) and the payment of appropriate fees.
 
Trademark Protection Procedure
Although registering a trademark for the purpose of distinguishing goods and/or services is not mandatory when marketing products and/or services, it is very useful to protect certain aspects of the product by some form of intellectual property. This reduces the possibility of violation (also inadvertent) of other people's rights and provides you with an effective tool for protecting your own rights.

The decision regarding the elements of your market identity that you want to protect with a trademark stems from the overall business strategy by which you individualize the product and make it recognizable and different from others.

A separate application shall be submitted for each sign you want to protect as a trademark, and an integral part of such application is the list of goods and/or services to which the mark refers, which shall be prepared in accordance with the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (the Nice Classification)

International Classification of Goods and Services.

The list of goods and/or services listed in the application cannot be subsequently expanded and shall be carefully prepared, as the list determines the scope of protection of the trademark in question.

If the list of goods and services consists of the heading of a class under the Nice Classification, the scope of protection will only include the goods/services deriving from the literal and unambiguous meaning of the term in the heading.

When filing a trademark application, for the purpose of submitting a correct alphabetical printout of goods/services within a certain class, it is recommended that you use the terms contained in the Croatian version of the TMclass database, a harmonized database of classification of goods and services of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), by performing a search on the website of the State Intellectual Property Office.

Search the harmonized database of classification of goods and services – TMclass

 or on the EUIPO website

TMclass.

The trademark application is submitted to the State Intellectual Property Office on the “Ž-1” form with the obligatory attached evidence of payment of the prescribed examination fee.

Ž-1 Form.

Before filing an application, it is useful to search the database of trademarks registered and applied for in Croatia to determine whether identical or similar trademarks already exist, in order to avoid unnecessary costs or disputes.

Registered industrial property agents can offer you useful professional assistance regarding the submission of your application, as well as the service of conducting proceedings before the State Intellectual Property Office, and subsequent representation in potential administrative and court proceedings.

Trademark Agents.

In Croatia, you can also apply for trademark registration online using the e-Application service of the State Intellectual Property Office, whereby, apart from having the application procedure efficiently performed, its costs are reduced.

With the e-Fee system, taxpayers can pay prescribed fees and charges, instead of state stamps or payment slip, faster and simpler through their bank cards (for a current account, giro account or credit card) such as Visa, Maestro, MasterCard and Diners.

International Trademark Protection

Trademark protection is territory-based, i.e. the protection is valid only in the territory of the country in which the right is granted.

Protection on the territory of other countries can be achieved in the following ways:
  • by submitting a separate application to the competent office of each country in which protection is required
  • for the entire European Union, by filing an application for a European Union trademark (EUTM) directly with the competent trademark office of the European Union (European Union Intellectual Property Office, EUIPO) or through the Madrid system for the international registration of marks
  • by filing an international application through the Madrid system for the international registration of marks which provides trademark protection in over 110 countries through a single application to the national or regional office where the basic trademark application or registration was filed.