A trademark is a name, logo or other mark that you can use to distinguish your products and services from those of others. A trademark may prove to be very valuable to your business’s biggest asset.
What is trademark registration?
A registered trademark offers an exclusive right to use the trademark for your or your business's goods and services. The exclusive right applies to, for example; the use of the trademark on the actual goods, on business documents, in marketing and/or verbal communication. The exclusive right means that no one can use a trademark that can be mistaken for your trademark, when marketing or selling the same types of goods or services as those for witch your trademark is registered. Both businesses and individuals can apply for trademark registration.
What can you register as a trademark?
A trademark can consist of words, slogans, names, logos, figures and images, letters, numbers, packaging, sound, movement or combinations thereof. In addition, it must be suitable for distinguishing your products and/or services from those of others, and it must be distinctive. You can generally not register trademarks that only describe the product or service, because other businesses must be allowed to describe their product without infringing on the intellectual property rights of others.
For example, you will not be able to obtain exclusive rights to "Økern Car Mechanic" for services which involve "car repairs", as the trademark only indicates where in Oslo the service is offered, i.e. Økern, and the type of services that are being offered there, i.e. car mechanic services. If you want to use such a descriptive text in your trademark, you must add something else which is sufficiently distinctive in order for it to be possible to register it. This could for example be a figurative element or a logo design that is distinctive. It will be the combination of text and figure that will be protected, and not just the text.
How long is a trademark registration valid for?
A registered trademark is valid for ten years and can be renewed for ten years at a time for as long as you wish. However, you have an obligation to use any trademark that you register. This means that if you do not use a trademark for all the products and services for which you have registered it within five years, the Norwegian Industrial Property Office may delete, or partly delete, the registration if someone makes such a request.
Different symbols for trademarks
If you have a registered trademark, you can add the symbol ® after the trademark. If the trademark is not registered, you can identify it as a trademark by adding the symbol ™ behind the trademark. TM does not offer any protection, but you can use it to indicate to the market that it is to be considered a trademark.
Copyright© is the right to literary and artistic works. The Copyright Act automatically protects an invention, design or trademark, if it involves something new or original or is considered a creative work. A copyright cannot be registered, but must be determined by the courts.
It is advisable to clarify if others own the right to the same, or a similar trademark. You can do this, for example, by using the Norwegian Industrial Property Office's search engine. You can also use the namesearch.no website, where one search will reveal if domain name, business name and trademark is available.
You can also order a preliminary search from the Norwegian Industrial Property Office to clarify if you can register the trademark.
How do you apply to register a trademark?
Using the application guide on the Norwegian Industrial Property Office´s website is the simplest way of applying for a trademark. You can write and submit your application, pay the fee and get a receipt all in one operation.
The alternative is to submit the application online through Altinn. When you apply, you must choose the classes for which the trademark is to apply. In other words, you must decide within which product groups, or types of services, you want your trademark protection to apply.
International trademark registration
Trademark registrations only apply in the country in which the trademark is registered. If you use your trademark in other countries, you should consider applying for protection in the countries concerned as well. You can register a trademark in several countries at the same time.
Appealing against other parties' trademarks
You can appeal if you discover that someone has registered (or applied to register) a trademark which in your opinion is either identical to your trademark or sufficiently similar that it could be confused with your trademark. The Norwegian Industrial Property Office will be able to tell you about the relevant conditions, appeal deadlines and procedures.
Making changes to your trademark
You can apply to make changes to a registered trademark (or to a trademark application). The Norwegian Industrial Property Office will change the trademark if the changes are insignificant and does not change the overall impression. Changes that are more significant require an application for a new trademark.
Keep up-to-date through courses from The Norwegian Industrial Property Office
The Norwegian Industrial Property Office offers various courses on how to protect your assets through patent, trademark- and design rights. Most of the courses are free, and many of them are streamed online.
A trade association can obtain exclusive rights for its members to use a trademark or other mark for its products or services.
Anyone who produces and/or sells products made from gold, silver or platinum stamped with a fineness (e.g. 'S925' for silver) must stamp the product with a responsibility mark registered with the Norwegian Industrial Property Office.