Registering a Trademark in Hungary
Registering a Trademark in HungaryUpdated on Wednesday 16th September 2020
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According to the definition, a trademark is any graphic sign that can be appended to any trading service and it is used to separate a company’s goods and services from other companies. Trademarks are usually employed as marketing and advertisement tools. The legislation regulating the usage of trademarks can have various procedural differences in each country, and our Hungarian law firm can advise you on the regulations applicable here.
The use of trademark in Hungary
In Hungary, a trademark is part of the intellectual property and is protected by the Hungarian government through its legislation. Hungary recognizes as trademarks letters, words or combination of words, names, slogans, pictures, colors, sounds and any combination between these. Any Hungarian resident or legal entity has the right to register a trademark.
The trademark can be used in trade relations and allows the owner to let others use it under certain terms and conditions in Hungary. Any violation of these terms and any other use of a trademark that breaches its registration enable the owner to legally act against the wrongdoing.
What is the trademark classification in Hungary?
When a natural person or a business opts for trademark registration in Hungary, it is necessary to select the appropriate trademark class. Hungary recognizes the Nice Classification (the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks).
The Nice Classification contains 45 classes, further divided into 34 classes for goods and 11 classes for services. These classes contain the lists of all the goods and services for which a person or a company can request the protection of a trademark. It must be observed that Hungary applies the 11th edition of the Nice Classification, which became applicable starting with 1st of January 2019; more details on the main amendments of the new version can be provided by our attorneys in Hungary.
When opting for trademark registration in Hungary, one should know that the legislation allows the selection of multiple classes of goods and services. One can select a class, two, three, four or more classes and the fees one should pay of the procedure will vary based on the number of classes.
Trademark registration procedure in Hungary
In order to register a trademark in Hungary, a set of procedures have to be followed. Filing an application with the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office, or an international application form according to the Madrid Agreement and Protocol for the international registration of trademarks represents one of the main steps. The application form must contain a request for trademark protection, the applicant’s identity, the sign used as a trademark and the goods it represents. Foreigners must appoint a resident representative that will conduct the trademark registration procedures.
An application fee must be paid within two months from the application date. One must prepare a list with all the goods the trademark will represent. It must be submitted in Hungarian within four months from the application date. After the date of filing is granted, the information on the trademark request will be published. During its publication third parties can oppose the registration and the Hungarian Patent Office will examine the form to see if any grounds for refusal exist.
It must be noted that the application cannot be altered or modified. In case the owner wants to register more than one trademark, all amendments or divisions of goods the trademark will be registered for must be made before the application is filed. The procedure consists in the verification of the distinctiveness of your trademark and it usually takes up to 18 months from the application.
The issuance of the certification is confirmed by the publication of your trademark in the Szabadalmi Közlöny es Vedjegyertesito which stands for the Intellectual Property Office in Hungary. If the application is correct, has not been opposed and satisfies all the demands of law, the trademark is registered by the Patent Office and it will be published in the Official Gazette.
How to create a distinctive trademark in Hungary
More and more Hungarian companies apply for trademark registration in Hungary at a local Patent Office, which has to check whether the proposed trademark fulfills the intellectual property regulations in the country. Our lawyers in Hungary can assist you with the registration of a distinctive trademark with the authorities.
Tips for creating a distinctive trademark in Hungary
As more and more reasons attract investors in Hungary, you will want to stand out in the local market. This is why you need to elaborate a distinctive trademark, able to catch the attention and to make a strong impression on the customers. You need to be careful to aspects such as clarity and unobstructed communication.
You can use letters, word combinations, slogans but also visual elements or acoustic elements that can be effective in any advertising media. The purpose of the trademark is to create a unitary image of your company and to make it known to the public but to maintain its flexibility and adaptability to new projects and to the natural evolution of your business.
Can domain names be considered trademarks in Hungary?
Given the fact that nowadays any person can purchase a domain name for various purposes and that most of the businesses have opened a website as well, one might wonder if a domain name can fall under the regulations of trademark registration in Hungary. According to the legislation available in this country, there aren’t any reasons for which a person or a legal entity can’t apply for the protection of a trademark which takes the form of a domain name.
Our Hungarian law firm can offer more details on how to apply for registration, as this step is absolutely necessary if one wants to protect a domain name as a trademark. The steps one must follow are similar with the ones presented at the beginning of the article and they must respect the regulations prescribed by the Law XI of 1997 on the Protection of Trademarks and Geographical Indications.
How many trademarks were registered in Hungary?
The process of trademark registration in Hungary has been increasing in popularity in the last decade, as more and more businesses and persons opt to register their intellectual property rights with the Hungarian institutions. According to the database maintained by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the following are available:
- in 2009, there were 32,836 approved applications for trademark registration in Hungary;
- 2010 and 2011 recorded almost the same values for trademark registration, of 39,329 and 39,404;
- in 2012, there were more than 40,000 trademark registrations (41,960);
- between 2013 and 2016, the trademark registrations recorded more than 50,000 approved applications (51,816 in 2013, 55,892 in 2014, 54,189 in 2015 and 55,395 in 2016);
- 2017 marked a record year for trademark registration in Hungary, of 64,770 applications.
Is a Hungarian trademark protected outside the country?
If the applicant opted only for trademark registration in Hungary, the trademark will be protected only at a national level. However, it is possible to a have a Hungarian trademark protected at an international level as well, if one addresses to specific institutions.
It is necessary to know that the interested party can apply for trademark protection at an international level through the Hungarian institutions, which will forward the application to entities regulating intellectual property in other countries. This can be done following the legislation prescribed by the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol.
Following the regulations of these acts, the Hungarian institution will forward the application made in Hungary by a Hungarian entity to the WIPO. There is also the possibility of addressing to the Community Trademark, by completing an application with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, which is located in Spain.
Regardless of the type of trademark one wants to register in this country, the trademark will be protected here for a period of 10 years. In the case in which the owner of the trademark wishes to further protect his or her intellectual property in this country, the owner must make a request for the extension of the trademark protection for other 10 years.
Our lawyers in Hungary are ready to assist you in the registration process for your distinctive trademark in this country. If you want to open a company and need to file for trademark protection you can count on our law firm in Hungary. Do not hesitate to contact our Hungarian lawyers for any matter that you require legal assistance.