Intellectual Property Rights protect creativity and innovation, as well as give the owner a monopoly over the commercial use of his inventions. Only the protection of such rights can ensure the market position of a company and proper placement of its products, and particularly in cases concerning technical intellectual property rights, the recovery of development costs.
Intellectual Property Rights primarily concern patents, utility models, design patents and trademarks. Furthermore, the protection of copyright and competition rights is possible, even if these rights, in contrast to the aforementioned, are not registered at any of the Trademark and Patent Offices.
Patents and utility models concern intellectual property rights for new technical inventions. An invention, in the aforementioned sense, is new if it has not been made accessible either through written, verbal, or public use, before the first registration has been made. An activity is to be considered inventive, if the average person, with access to the material of the expert, based on state-of-the-art technology, would not be capable of achieving the particular technical development. A patent protects technical goods, chemical products and processes.
A new invention is registered as a utility model, which is based on an inventive step and which is commercially applicable. Such an invention, in the aforementioned sense, is new if there has not been any printed publication of the invention or prior public use in the domestic market. The concept of novelty is not so strict as with the registration of a patent. The intellectual property allocation for a utility model, as opposed to patents, occurs without thorough testing. Technical goods and and chemical products are protected.
Design Patents protect aesthetic shapes or forms. The design patent must be new, unique and commercially applicable. New, in the aforementioned sense, is a form unknown to the circle of experts. Substantive examination of the registration does not take place at the responsible agencies as with utility models. The objects of the design patent protection are the color and form of products in surface profile (sample) and in room form (model).
Drawings are protected as trademarks, which are graphically educible and have a distinctive character. Drawings are distinctive in character if they are suitable to distinguish between the goods and/or services of one company from another. Trademark and Patent Offices verify in the trademark registration procedure whether or not the formal registration requirements have been met and whether there are absolute grounds for refusal (e.g. absence of any distinctive character) that prevent the registration. The verification, with regard to the so called relevant grounds for refusal, i.e. over whether the registration of previous rights would cause refusal, will not be carried out by the agencies. The applicant is responsible for the execution of such verifications. The owner of older applied for or registered rights could initiate legal proceedings against the newly applied for trademarks within the framework of an opposition proceeding. Therefore, thorough research of each trademark application is absolutely essential.
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