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03 December 2007
In June 2006 the government created a fast-track system for purchasing registered trademarks, known as Marca na Hora (literally, 'a trademark in an hour'), in association with its fast-track company incorporation system. As part of the government's initiative to reduce bureaucracy, the system allows for the immediate incorporation of a company and the purchase of a pre-registered trademark which is identical to the firm name and must be chosen from a portfolio of firm names and trademarks.
The system has subsequently been expanded to allow applicants to purchase a pre-registered trademark without incorporating a company. Under new rules enacted in September 2006 and further developed one month later, pre-registered trademarks can be purchased by filing the necessary request in person at a registry office or online. This procedure eliminates the administrative burden and delay associated with trademark registration. In addition, certain fees have been halved in order to encourage applicants to use the electronic filing system.
A facility for purchasing a pre-registered trademark online represents a further development of the fast-track system and a further effort to reduce bureaucracy. However, despite shortening a procedure that can otherwise take over 12 months, this significant legal innovation has its shortcomings.
A trademark is by definition an exclusive way of identifying the commercial source or origin of a product or service, but it is not limited to this function; it is also a marketing tool by which a company becomes known. The fast-track registered trademark purchase system relies on a limited portfolio of trademarks previously registered on behalf of the state. Although the system must offer at least 200 trademarks at all times, any of which may be chosen by an applicant, the 200 pre-registered trademarks will never be able to replace the distinctive character of a trademark devised by the applicant. In order to obtain a personalized trademark, an applicant must follow the normal procedure and be prepared for a long delay before obtaining registration.
The fast-track registered trademark purchase system is a noteworthy development, but it may not be suitable for everyone; it is particularly useful for smaller companies for which a simplified registration procedure is more important than the potential of a more marketable trademark. Nevertheless, a broader use of registered trademarks is likely to increase general awareness of the need to protect a company’s industrial and intellectual property.
For further information on this topic please contact Armando Martins Ferreira or Guilherme Mata da Silva or Sérgio Gonçalves Dinis at Abreu Advogados by telephone (+351 21 7231800) or by fax (+ 351 21 7231899) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Armando Martins Ferreira
Guilherme Mata da Silva
Sérgio Gonçalves Dinis