Intellectual property rights
Intellectual property rights refer to intellectual creations - inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. They are protected against infringement through IP regulations.
The main Swedish intellectual property laws are:
Intellectual resources, such as trade secrets (e.g., customer lists), copyrights, patents, trade marks, and goodwill may also be sold or licensed.
Industrial property rights
A patents is a sole right to exploit an invention. Nobody may use your invention commercially, such as by manufacturing, selling or importing it, without your permission.
A patent generally applies for 20 years, though some pharmaceuticals and plant-protecting agents are eligible to receive a further five years of protection. Others may only use your invention once the patent has expired.
A national patent applicable in Sweden costs, on average, SEK 50 000-70 000. An annual fee is charged for patent maintenance.
A trade marks is a distinctive feature which distinguishes your goods or services from others, or accentuates your product with its name or a graphic symbol.
The trade mark may consist of any symbols that can be reproduced graphically, such as letters, numbers and figures.
In order to get sole rights to a trade mark, you have to register or establish it. Registration must be renewed every 10 years.
® -symbol and ™-trade mark, which are sometimes displayed, have no legal effect in terms of Swedish law.
By design we refer to a product's appearance. When we speak of design protection, it is a question purely of a protection for the form or appearance of a product.
We define a product as something (an object, packaging, assembly, graphic symbol or typeface) which is produced via an industrial or manual process. This does not include computer programs. Graphic symbols may, for example, be the design of a website or a computer icon.
Copyright is the right that the creator of a literary or artistic work has over the work in question. Copyright exists automatically when the work satisfies the relevant requirements ('verkshöjd' in Swedish). The relevant requirements ('verkshöjd' in Swedish) is a measure of the originality, individuality and independence of a work. Copyright does not need to be asserted by way of registration or similar procedures.
Patent Registration Office (PRV) grants protection for sole rights for technical ideas, trade marks and designs.
Before registration can take place, you must be sure the idea you want to protect is really innovative.
Protecting intellectual rights abroad
If you have registered a trade mark in Sweden, you can apply for international trade mark registration via PRV. The application will be forwarded to the International Office of the World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO.
In the application, which has to be in English, you indicate which countries you want the registration to cover.
Property rights encourage investment in innovation and research.
Applying for a patent
It is important before submitting a patent application to establish a confidentiality agreement with anyone you present your idea to. An example of a confidentiality agreement can be obtained from:
A Swedish patent application can be submitted to PRV.
A European patent application can be made on a Swedish form in the so-called eOLF-klienten which is administered by the European Patent Office (EPO).
A formal examination of the application is made, which is then followed up by a technical test. In order to get patented, the invention has to
- be new;
- exhibit inventiveness;
- be able to be used industrially.
Applying for design protection
When you want to protect the appearance of a product or a part of it, you normally apply for the protection of a design. This is given only if the design is the result of a creative process.
Sole rights to the design apply for one or several 5-year periods, to a maximum of 25 years.
Applying for trade mark protection
To register a company name, contact the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket).
PRV's trade mark register contains details of who owns a certain trade mark in Sweden and how extensive the registration protection is.
Review of the PRV's decision
If you are dissatisfied with a PRV decision on a patent, trade mark or design, you can appeal the decision without incurring costs Court of Patent Appeals (PBR). If leave to appeal is issued, then PBR's decision can in turn be appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court (Regeringsrätten).
PRV:s search engine esp@cenet provides access to more than 50 million documents from around the world.
PRV also offers individual help, upon request, with information searches via the fee-based InterPat service.