What is a trademark?

 
This article offers basic information on some aspects of trademarks.  It is not a reference document and carries no authority.  The Industrial Property Registrations Directorate does not undertake to give legal advice or opinion about trademarks, other than in the course of formal proceedings – but sets out to answer some of the more basic questions.
 
Definition of Trademark
 
Trademark means any sign capable of being represented graphically, and of distinguishing goods and services of one undertaking from those of another.  A trademark may consist of words (including personal names), figurative elements, letters, numerals or the shape of goods or their packaging.
 
Implications of Registration
 
When a proprietor registers his trademark, he acquires a property right, benefiting from specific remedies.
 
Application for Registration of a Trademark
 
An application for registration of a trademark must be made to the Comptroller, who examines the application asserting whether all requirements for registration of such application are met.
 
An application for the registration of a trademark can be submitted online at www.ips.gov.mt​​ and should contain the following:
 
a) a request for registration of a trademark;
b) the name and address of the applicant;
c) a statement of the goods or services in relation to which it is sought to register the trademark;
d) a representation of the mark;
e) the name and address of the representative or attorney, in cases where one has been appointed
f) a declaration claiming priority in cases where the applicant wishes to take advantage of an earlier application;
g) an indication that the trademark is being used by the applicant or with his consent, in relation to those goods or services, or that he has a bona fide  intention that it should be used;
h)  a statement containing the name or names of the colour or colours being claimed in cases where the applicant wishes to claim colour as a distinctive feature of the mark; and
i) the prescribed fee.
 
Rights Conferred by a Registered Trademark
 
The proprietor of a registered trademark has exclusive rights in the trademark.  Such rights are infringed by such use of the trademark in Malta when:
 
- the use in the course of trade is made of a sign which is identical with or similar to the trademark in relation to goods or services which are identical with  or similar to those for which it is registered; and there is the likelihood of confusion on the part of the public, including the likelihood of association with the trademark;

- the use in the course of trade is made of a sign which is identical with or similar to a trademark in relation to goods or services which are not similar to those for which the trademark is registered, but the trademark has a reputation in Malta and such use takes unfair advantage of or is detrimental to the distinctive character or the repute of the trademark.
 
Legislation