Intellectual Property

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6. Protection of Intellectual Property and New Technologies

In Spain the legislation and the Courts grant a high level of the intellectual Property rights, acknowledging its protection under the 20 Section of the Spanish Constitution.

Spain is a member and has ratified the main international Treaties and Agreements of this subject. Among others, Spain forms part of the Treaty that establishes the World Intellectual Property Organization ratified on the 12th May 1969; of the Paris Convention, ratified on the 13th December 1971; of the Agreement which establishes the World Trade Organization, ratified on the 30th December 1974 or of the Agreement of the aspects of the Intellectual Property Rights regarding to the Trade, as well.

Spain protects the Intellectual Property rights throughout the following protection systems:

  • Through the Copyright System, those original artistic creations expressed by any mean or support are protected, such as pictorial, photographic, literary, scientific, musical, audiovisual, architectural, sculpture and applied works of art. Through the abovementioned system, the protection to the database and computer programs meeting the established requirements is acknowledged as well. Furthermore, the rights for musical and audiovisual producers as well as to the artists and interpreters are acknowledged too.
  • Through the Trademark System, a protection of the distinctive signs which distinguish products and services is obtained.Protection of the trademark in Spain can be obtained through the three available systems:
  1. International system: as a member of the Madrid System, Spain acknowledges protection to those international trademarks which have appointed its protection in Spain.
  2. Community system: as a member of the European Union, those community trademarks shall have protection in all the Spanish territory, such like any other trademark.
  3. National system: if the trademark protection is desired specifically in Spain, it can be obtained applying directly to the Spanish Office for Patents and Trademarks (SPTO).
  • Through the Patents system, the protection of those inventions meeting the three legal established requirements shall be obtained.

In this sense, as a member of the European Patent Convention (EPC) the protection of a patent in Spain shall be obtained by means of a unique procedure applying to this system.

At the same time, it allows to improve the filing (not the concession) of a patent applying to the system regulated in the Cooperation Treaty regarding Patents (PCT). Precisely, the OEPM is the Office for International Searching and International Preliminary Exam, being possible to make all the international steps in Spanish.

Additionally, the OEPM forms part of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH); which consists of a collaborative structure among intellectual property offices, throughout bilateral and multilateral agreements. It allows to speed up the procedures for concession of patents. Currently, Spain has bilateral agreements with: Canada (CIPO), Japan (JPO), United States (USPTO), Finland (NBPR), Russia (Rospatent), Portugal (INPI), Korea (KIPO) and Mexico (IMPI).

  • Through the design protection system the aesthetic two-dimensional or tridimensional appearance which is new and has a singular character can be obtained.

The protection of the designs shall be obtained at the domestic level by recording them in the OEPM, or at the community level by applying to the OHIM.

  • Finally, it must be pointed out that Spain grants an important protection to the know-how and to the Trade and Industrial Secrets, mainly through the Unfair Competition Law.

On the other hand, it is important to underline that Spain is a pioneer country to grant a high protection level of the personal data and to regulate the e-commerce, being an active member in the international harmonization of the legislations regarding to these matters in order to achieve a perfect working of the knowledge and of the loyal ethical global market.

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