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Cyprus – An Overview for Trademarks as Intellectual Property Rights

  • Cyprus Law governing Trademarks

Trademarks in Cyprus are governed by the Trademarks Law, Cap. 268 (as this has been amended from time to time) (the “Law”), and includes relevant rules and regulations issued under the provisions of the said Law.

The Law has considerable similarities to the UK law governing Trademarks, as it is based and modem on the same statute.

  • What is a Trademark?

A Trademark is a distinctive sign which identifies certain goods or services as those produced or provided by a specific person or enterprise. A trademark can be a word, a phrase, a logo or a combination.

Generally, a Trademark will assist the everyday consumer to identify and purchase a product or service because its nature and quality, indicated by its unique Trademark, meets their specific needs.

  • Registration Procedure for a Trademark in Cyprus

In order to register a Trademark in Cyprus, an application must be filed with the Cyprus Patent Office. Any natural or legal person may apply for ownership of a trademark, provided the statutory requirements of an application are met and it is also noted that applications by co-owners are also possible. The key elements and information to be included in this application are as follows:

  • Name and/or depiction of the mark.
  • The class applied for (this follows the International Classification of Nice which groups all products and services into 45 classes: 34 for products and 11 for services).
  • Description of the mark.
  • Products or services the mark covers.
  • Applicant’s name and address.

Once the application is filed, the application is examined by the Registrar of Companies (Patent Office).  Should there be no complications (such as the filing of an objection by a 3rd party), the Trademark is registered and a certificate will be issued.  If, however, there are complications and objections by the Registrar or a 3rd party, they may be refuted with a “considered reply”.  The applicant argues his views in the considered reply, with a scope to convincing the Registrar to withdraw his objections and have the Trademark accepted.

Upon successful completion of the application and acceptance of the Trademark by the Registrar for due registration, such acceptance is published in the Cyprus Official Gazette.

  • Reasons for Declining Registration of Trademark in Cyprus

As per the Law, a Trademark will not be allowed for registration for the following main reasons:

  • If it has a descriptive character (it describes your goods or services or any characteristics);
  • If it has become customary in the line of trade;
  • If it is offensive;
  • If it is a Trademark whose registration would be against the public interest;
  • If it is against the law (e.g. promoting illegal drugs, human trafficking, etc)
  • If it is deceptive.

It is further noted that if the Registrar refuses registration of a Trademark, the applicant has the right to apply for a judicial review of the decision, under Article 146 of the Cyprus Constitution, to the Supreme Court of Cyprus. The Supreme Court shall review the decision of the Registrar in accordance with the established principles of administrative law and shall rented judgement. Even this judgement is amenable to appeal to the full bench of the Supreme Court of Cyprus.

  • Can Trademark rights be established without registration?

Cyprus has harmonized its Law with article 6(2) of the Trademark Directive about earlier rights. Earlier rights may be established even if a Trademark is not registered but an application for it has been filed. Therefore, it is possible to have trademark rights without registration. (section 14A of the Law).

  • Renewal of Trademarks

Once a Trademark is successfully registered, the protection period for the first registration runs for a period of seven (7) years. Thereafter, it requires to be renewed (and each subsequent registration can be up to fourteen (14) years).

  • Key Benefits of Registering a Trademark

Registration of a Trademark essentially grants an exclusive right of use to its owner for a specified period of time. So during this exclusivity period, the owner can exploit the Trademark in a manner preferable to them. The exclusivity of use entails the right to prevent others from using the Trademark so there is a right to sue for infringement, or seek damages or account of profits for wrongful use by third parties. Generally speaking, in Cyprus a trademark owner has all the remedies available in common law countries, for example the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, a trademark owner also has broader enforcement mechanisms available against unauthorized goods. Cyprus has adopted Council Regulation No. 1383/2003, referred to as the Counterfeit and Pirated Goods Regulation, by means of the Control of the Movement of Goods that Violate the Intellectual Property Rights Law (Law No. 133(I)/2006). The principal effect of Law No. 133(I)/2006 is to transcribe the provisions of Regulation No. 1383/2003 into national law. Counterfeit goods have the same meaning as in article 1 of the Counterfeit and Pirated Goods Regulation and the Customs Office is responsible for the enforcement of the law. Following section 4 of Law No. 133(I)/2006, an application for the seizure of goods is made in accordance with the procedure contained in article 5 of the Counterfeit and Pirated Goods Regulation. The Customs Office must review and respond to the applicant within 30 days.

  • Assignment of Trademark Rights

Following section 24 of the Law, only a registered Trademark may be assigned on the transfer of a business, with the entire or the remainder of the goodwill of the business. The vast majority of Trademark assignments include the transfer of goodwill (if such goodwill exists). However, assignments are permitted as well without goodwill and no special formalities are required to effect same. The Law does not prohibit assignment for all or some of the goods or services. In order to be effective, the assignment has to be filled with and approved by the Registrar.

To register an assignment an applicant must submit the following documents:

  • original contract of assignment in Greek, stamped – if the agreement is in English it will have to be translated in Greek and accompanied by an affidavit verifying the authenticity of the translation; and
  • duly completed and signed form TM16.

If the registrar is satisfied, then the new owner will be given a letter stating that he or she is the new owner of the Trademark.

  • International registration of trademarks through Cyprus

Cyprus became a party to the Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol since November 4, 2003, by virtue of which Trademark owners have now the opportunity to have their Trademarks protected simultaneously in more than 80 countries (Madrid Union) or by selecting a few according to their business needs, by simply filing one application in one language directly with their own national trademark office. Upon approval a Certificate of Registration of the International Trademark is issued by WIPO.

Through the Madrid system the subsequent management of the trademark is simplified since it makes it possible for any possible changes or renewal of the registration to be effected through a single and flexible process.

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