The Spanish fondness for inventing and patenting devices of all kinds is well known, as well as unknown is the place where the registration of trademarks and patents is carried out. For companies of all sizes, and especially for SMEs, it is very convenient to know how and where these titles are processed. It’s not always easy to find clear and concise information, so if you’re looking for it, it’s good to start at the beginning.

The Registration of Patents and Trademarks in Spain

It was the year 1478 when the first Spanish contraption was recorded in the Royal Privileges of Invention,the antecedents of the current registration of trademarks and patents.

In the city of Seville, the doctor Pedro Azlor developed a new grinding system. Faced with such an advance, Queen Isabella the Catholic granted him protection in all her kingdoms for 20 years. In that period it could only be used by the inventor or whoever paid him 50,000 maravedíes.

From then until today, all kinds of inventions have been registered in Spain. Some as universal as the submarine, the gyroplane, the disposable syringe, the table football or the indispensable mop.

Hispanic production does not decline and in 2016 almost eight patents were registered on average every day.

Anyone who wants to register their invention in the registration of patents and trademarks should contact the public body that manages it: the
Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTO),
under the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism.

This body is responsible for providing protection to industrial property through the granting of patents, trademarks and trade names, industrial designs or titles of protection of topographies of industrial products.

That is, the SPTO protects the configuration and characteristics of the product in question against any attempt at plagiarism or unauthorized copying.

To carry out its work, the patent office relies on existing laws on trademarks and patents. This is important, because there is a trademark law and a patent law.

Patent and Trademark Law

More than five hundred years after Dr. Azlor’s milling invention, the Spanish Parliament passed the 2001 Trademark Law

that is in force today, and the new Patent Law of 2015.

This legislation, collectively known as patent and trademark law, regulates all aspects of how to patent a trademark in Spain.

How to Patent a Trademark in Spain

To apply for an industrial property right, the following documents must be submitted to the SPTO:

  • An express statement requesting the title (the agency has a model that can be downloaded from their website in the formssection).
  • Data that identifies the applicant.
  • A description,in the case of patents and utility models.
  • In the case of distinctive signs or industrial design, a reproduction of the signs or designs with an indication of the goods to which they are to be applied.

This application is given a file number and the day, time and minute it was submitted is recorded.

It should be noted that, as in the case of the privilege granted by Isabel la Católica, thepatent has a duration of 20 non-extendable years,which begin to count on the date of filing the application.

Unlike the patent, the trademark is granted as an exclusive right and can be extended after the time of the grant. Trade names, such as trademarks, can also be extended indefinitely.

The difference between a brand and a trade name

A trademark is a title that is granted to words or combinations of words, images, symbols, graphics, packaging, wrappers, etc. They serve to identify a product or a service.

However, the trade name is a title that is granted to the identifier of the company in commercial traffic. That is, a brand can be an item produced by a trade name.

One aspect unifies all these titles, since both trademarks and trade names and patents must be registered in the same public body already mentioned: the SPTO.

Supranational Industrial Property Rights

One last important fact has to do with rights abroad. When activities are to be carried out abroad, it is convenient to have the corresponding registration in supranational instances.

This is the case of European trademark titles (which can be registered with the European Union Intellectual Property Office),

international trademark and European patent, which can be processed at the SPTO.

Finally, as expected, all granting of securities must satisfy rates, which vary according to their characteristics.

The important thing is that, at present, through the online portal of the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, all applications can be managed in a much more comfortable and fast way than in the times of the ingenious Don Pedro Azlor.