A registered trademark gives the owner an exclusive right to use the trademark as a brand for its goods and services. Accordingly, no one other than the owner can use the trademark or a mark which is so confusingly alike that it can be mistaken for the registered one, in advertising, business documents, on packaging or in other ways. The same applies if the product is meant for exportation, or is imported from abroad.
In order to obtain a registration, the mark must be capable of distinguishing the owner’s goods and services from other corresponding goods and services, and can consist of any type of mark which can be reproduced graphically, including words, figures, letters and numbers.
Why name products?
In today’s trading, there are hardly any goods or services without a “given name”, i.e., a brand which is unique to this goods or service, including the good old Norwegian milk “TINE”.
A new product should be named before it is introduced into the market, and it is best to be able to have an exclusive right to the name. The process of finding a name is moreover interesting for the product developer as well, because it requires a strong market analysis.
The product name may in the simplest way consist of the enterprise name, alternatively as an abbreviation, appended to the trade description, and optionally a numbering. It may for example be named “Olsen’s Soft Soap No. 1” or “Elcem’s garden shovel”. The examples above may indeed not seem particularly exiting or imaginative, but nevertheless they are a result of an evaluation of what is most applicable in the respective case. If one does not want or can use names of this type, a broader search should be performed. In the following, we have set forth hints and advices on how to find a trademark.
Prior to choosing a trademark, it is important to verify that there are no other similar or identical existing trademarks for similar goods or services. In case of word marks, you may call the Patent Office (Patentstyret) and ask. In case of a design, you have to contact the Patent Office in writing and pay a fee. In any case, it is recommended that you make the inquiry in writing, because the search will be performed a little more thoroughly and that the result is documented in writing as well.
The Patent Office may also perform a registration evaluation, in which the allowability of a trademark is evaluated. Questions regarding similarity between two different trademarks and whether a registered trademark for a certain product group has any consequences for a new trademark for a somewhat different product group, will also be assessed during this evaluation.
What can be registered as “trademark”?
Originally, trademarks were connected to names, or to a design which could be attached to the product. However, in the today’s marketing, the trademark need has changed and there is no longer a requirement that the trademark be attachable to the product.
Trade mark should:
- be short, easy to read, pronounce and remember
- not contain unpleasant sounds
- not be pronounceable in more than one manner
- easily be pronounced in any language
- fit into the other trade names and trademarks of the company
- be used freely without risk of being mistaken for other trade names
- be able to be protected by a trademark registration
- not be offensive or sound negative
- not go out of fashion or be affected by external conditions, and
- not produce unfortunate associations any place.
A word mark may be a fantasy word, or a word from the traditional vocabulary. Words which describe goods and services, such as “prima”, “original” etc. are not distinctive and cannot be protected as trademarks.
Words having a particular spelling
Trademarks of this type differ from the former in that they use a particular typography or that the letters have a special design or shape, e.g., having a letter in the form of a special configuration.
Words with logo (design)
This is an extension of the former one, having a distinctive design as a part of the trademark.
Pure figure marks, without any text, can also be registered as trademarks.
It is also possible to obtain an exclusive right to use special shapes and special decorations on products and packaging in relation to the marketing.
If you want to register a slogan, the slogan should have a pithy, witty, surprising or some other original formulation.
See the Norwegian Patent Office’s websites about trademarks (Norwegian) for further details.
- Identity check: free of charge
- Written search: NOK 2.500 – 3.000
Preparation and filing of a Norwegian Trademark Application costs NOK 7.150 + 1.550 for each product group in excess of three.
Handling a Norwegian trademark application, excluded allowance: typically NOK 0 – 2.000. (May become substantially more expensive if problems arise about allowability, meetings, protests etc.) The allowance fee is NOK 1.000.
Renewal: NOK 5.100 + 1.400 for each class in excess of three. (The registration must be renewed every 10th year).
EU trademark application for three classes: filing ca. NOK 17.000. Madrid application for three classes in the Nordic countries, Germany and England: filing NOK 31.000.
Trademark applications in other countries
If you want to protect your trademark in other countries, you must file an application in the respective country. If you want protection in several countries, it may be simpler and cheaper to file an international application under the Madrid protocol, or to file an EU trademark application. We would be glad to give you a cost estimate for trademark applications abroad, on request.
In that case, please state which in countries you want to register your trademark.