Find a Lawyer / Spain / Intellectual Property Law

Find Lawyers in Spain for Intellectual Property Law

Practice Area Overview

Intellectual property is divided into two main areas, namely industrial property and copyright. Copyright relates to artistic creations, such as novels, music, paintings, and cinematographic works. In most European languages, copyright is known as author's rights. Copyright is protected by various laws, including the Spanish constitution (Article 20), civil code (Articles 428 and 429) and Spanish copyright act that refers to creations of the mind, such as; literary, scientific, and artistic works, whereby the main idea is to protect originality. Intellectual property rights are acquired mainly by two ways: by creating an original work or by assignment of the previous right holder excepting of the moral rights. Copyrights can be assigned or transferred from one party to another, and also may be licensed. Neighboring or related rights are the rights of a creative work not connected with the work's actual author, such as the rights of artists, performers, and producers.

Industrial property takes a wide range of forms. These include patents to protect inventions; and industrial designs, which are aesthetic creations determining the appearance of industrial products and trademarks to protect a distinctive sign, shape, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. Exclusive rights are acquired after registering the application in the SPTO, EUIPO, EPO, and WIPO. They also can be acquired by assignment or license.

Spain is part of various international treaties (e.g. Berne and Paris conventions, TRIPS, WIPO, EPC, PCT, PLT, Madrid Protocol, TLT) in addition to EU regulations (EU trademark and design). Indeed, the EUIPO is located in Spain, specifically in Alicante.

Copyright subsists for a variety of lengths; the length of the term can depend on several factors, including the type of work and its author. The default length of copyright in Spain is the life of the author plus 70 years. Once the term of a copyright has expired, the formerly copyrighted work enters the public domain and may be freely used or exploited by anyone.

Patents for Invention allow the inventor to exclude anyone else from commercially exploiting his invention for a limited period of 20 years. The maximum term for an industrial design is 25 years; on the other hand, a trademark can be renewed indefinitely for successive periods of 10 years on payment of corresponding fees.

Copyright is subject to limitations and exceptions in Spain such as permitting the reproduction of works in certain special cases, provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.

An important limit on industrial property is the exhaustion of rights, by which once marketed by permission of the owner or having received compensation cannot prevent the subsequent sale within the territory of the EU.

All conflicts on IP law are exclusive competent of mercantile courts, expecting those cases referring to EU trademarks or designs which are handled only by Alicante's courts.

Ignacio Temiño Ceniceros Abril Abogados
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