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Spain

Intellectual property

Updated 10/2012

Have you thought about protecting your economic interests in terms of the inventions, new technologies, innovations you have developed? Do you use products, services or patents of other enterprises for which you pay copyright or licence fees?

Enterprises invest in research and innovation to create new products and services or enhance their production processes. The standards regulating these new ideas aim to strike a balance between two elements: first, to protect the economic interests of the authors, the enterprises which create and use these works, new ideas and technologies. This protection supports new research and innovation. Meanwhile, the aim is to foster usage and dissemination in order to meet the needs of consumers and the general interest.

This balance establishes that protection for these rights is subject to a time limit which varies from case to case. It also explains the obligations on owners to make appropriate use of them in order to meet the demand for goods and products within society, for example.

Intellectual property covers intangible creations of the human mind in the broadest sense: inventions, literary, artistic and scientific works, names, trademarks, designs, etc. Intellectual property is divided into two categories: industrial property and copyright

Industrial property governs the protection of the intellectual creations of entrepreneurs in order to compete on the marketplace, in other words technical innovations (patents and utility models), new designs (industrial drawings and models); distinctive signs (trade marks and trading names) and semiconductor topographies, in other words the three-dimensional design layout and connections of integrated circuits.

Copyright and associated rights protect the interest of authors and other persons connected with literary, artistic, musical, film, radio and scientific creations and the reproduction thereof.

Legal requirements

In Spain Industrial Property Protection is the responsibility of the State. Those wishing to protect such rights in Spain must register them with the Industrial Property Register of the Spanish Office of Patents and Trade Marks. Full information in this regard can be found at the following link:

Many enterprises operate in other countries worldwide. To protect intellectual or industrial property rights at the European or international level, a key role is played by the following European Union and international organisations:

Copyright protection is performed automatically in Spain. With regard to copyright there are two key international conventions: the Bern Convention and the World Trade Organization convention covering such rights. If they are protected in one signatory State to these conventions, then they are protected in all.

Property rights encourage investment in innovation and research.

Administrative procedures

In order to protect industrial property rights, the individual or enterprise concerned must apply for registration of the invention, design or trademark with the Spanish Office of Patents and Trade Marks (OEPM). Many of these applications can be processed via the Internet. On occasion by using an electronic certificate.

As for international protection for these rights, you will need to apply for protection of your rights in each country, or otherwise file one single application with an international body, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the European Union: Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), or the European Patent Office, which will handle the process of extending the application to all Member States.

Protection of copyright and associated rights performed automatically in Spain; there is no obligation to register your work in order to assert your rights. Spain does however have an Intellectual Property Register for use on a voluntary basis This protection covers authors in the signatory countries of international agreements to which Spain is a party.

Resources

Help & advice

Help & advice

SOLVIT helps businesses deal with problems that arise when national authorities wrongly apply EU market rules.

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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