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Governo de Portugal - Justiça
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Como pedir o registo de uma topografia

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a sign that identifies products or services that exist, or are going to be launched, in the marketplace. Trademarks enable us to distinguish a company’s products and/or services from those of other companies.

Do trademarks only consist of words?
No. A trademark can comprise letters or words (verbal trademark), but may also be composed of pictures (pictorial trademark), or both (mixed trademark). It is also possible to register sounds as trademarks (recorded graphically on staves - sound trademark), as well as three-dimensional shapes (three-dimensional trademark).
Trademarks can also be made up of advertising slogans, independently of any Copyright protection they may enjoy.

What is a collective mark?
Apart from trademarks, which are used to identify products and services, there also exist what are known as collective marks, which are used to represent associations or certifications.
The registration of a collective mark gives its holder the right to control the sale of its respective products, under the terms established in law, in its statutes or in its internal regulations.

What are the advantages of registering a trademark?
Registration is not compulsory. However, it is highly recommended, given the multiple benefits that it offers:

  • It allows you to make the most of the financial investment, as well as the investment in human and intellectual capital, that went into the conception of new signs;
  • It confers an exclusive right that allows the owner of the sign to prevent third parties producing, manufacturing, selling or economically exploiting the protected sign without his/her consent.

Attention! Ownership and exclusive rights over trademarks are acquired only through registration, not through mere use in the marketplace.

  • It prevents others registering a similar or identical sign for the same or clearly related products and services;
  • It allows the holder of the registration to label their signs as protected, in order to dissuade potential violations (by using the words “registered trademark”, “TM” or ®).

Attention! The use of these symbols by someone who has not successfully obtained registration for their trademark is prohibited, and is considered an illegal act. However, an applicant for a trademark can indicate its pending status if he/she intends to use the trademark in any way while awaiting a decision on registration.

  • It guarantees the option to transfer the registration or to grant licences to third parties to exploit the trademark, for free or for a fee.

What should I do before I register?
Before you file an application you should take some preliminary precautions so that you do not waste your time and money on an application that is not viable from the outset. These are not compulsory, but are strongly recommended:

  • you should find out what types of sign cannot be registered;
  • you should investigate whether there already exist similar or identical signs to the one you would like to register.

What trademarks cannot be registered?
Not all signs can be registered.

It is not possible to protect signs that lack distinctive character (descriptive, generic, and others), signs that have the potential to mislead the consumer, and signs that are against the law and public order, or that offend morality and proper behaviour, as well as signs that constitute a violation of another person's rights or that might favour acts of unfair competition.
It is also not possible, unless authorized, to register trademarks that contain symbols of State, emblems of government or foreign organizations, coats of arms, medals, names or portraits of people, or signs possessing a high degree of symbolic value (such as religious symbols), amongst others.

How can I find out if a trademark that is the same as mine already exists?
You can search for your trademark sign in the integrated INPI trademarks database (national, communitary and international). Go to Online Search in the first page of this website. You need to check whether an identical or similar sign is already registered, for the products or services you aim to use it on, in the countries where you intend to apply for registration. You can also do this by visiting the customer service counter at INPI, where you can request a search to be made on your behalf. This request cam be made on-line or via postal.

What documents are required to register a trademark?
The trademark application can be filed online.

If you prefer to file a paper application, you need to:

  • Complete form M1and if there is insufficient room in the spaces, form M2 (both available on this website to download);
  • The forms should be filled out on computer, or if this is not possible, either typed or completed by hand using block capitals;
  • Form M1 should be signed by the applicant(s) on both pages.
  • The name for which protection is being sought should be written in section 7 on form M1, in capital letters and using size 14 to 20 "Courier" font;
  • Attach a printout of the name in the middle of a blank A4 sheet of paper, in capital letters and using size 14 to 20 "Courier" font;
  • If the trademark is pictorial or contains a mix of words and pictures, you should also attach a picture of the trademark for publication in the Industrial Property Bulletin. This should be on A4 paper, no larger than 8cm x 8cm, and no smaller than 3cm in at least one of its dimensions. The image for publication should be of good technical quality and professionally produced with attention to detail, using appropriate manual or electronic graphic design tools.

For both paper and online applications, you may also have to present documents that provide evidence of authorization to use certain elements included in the trademark.

Should you need further information, please consult our services.

How can I protect the colours of my trademark?
If you would like to specifically protect the combination of colours in a trademark, you should claim this on the application form. A trademark thus granted protection should display the same colour scheme throughout its validity period.

How should I designate the products or services that I want to be identified through my trademark?
Besides the graphic representation of the sign representation, an application for a trademark must include a list of goods or services for which the protection is sought.
Goods and services must be specified with clarity and precision, accompanied by the corresponding class of the International Classification under the Nice Agreement (which includes 45 classes).
The Portuguese Office has joined this agreement, but is also part of a list of several Offices of European Union countries that share the same harmonized database of goods and services for trademark registration.
This harmonized database, which today supports the list of terms of the Portuguese trademark e-filing, can be consulted using the TMClass tool, in order to help in the search and classification of goods and services.
The TMClass tool is available here.

How long does it take to register a trademark?
A trademark registration is not granted automatically. The application process begins once the application is submitted, and includes an examination in accordance with the rules governing the composition of trademarks. The application is published online in the Industrial Property Bulletin, and there then follows an opposition phase. The examination is carried out at the end of this period and after that the final decision is published. Once this process is complete – and if no grounds for refusal are found - your trademark is protected!

Can I qualify for exemption from paying the fees?
Exemptions from payment of fees are granted to applications from local authorities, government institutions and other public entities, as long as the following two conditions are met:

a) the application falls within the sphere of the public service they provide;
b) legal proof is provided of the grounds for exemption.

Acceptable legal proof includes copies of statutes, regulations, laws or other legal documents providing evidence of grounds for exemption from payment of fees.

How long is my trademark registration valid for?
The registration lasts for 10 years, and is renewable indefinitely for further periods of equal length.

Can I alter my trademark registration?
During its validity period, the essential elements of a trademark cannot be altered. Any change in these elements requires a new registration.
A trademark can only undergo simple changes that do not affect its identity, changes in its proportions, to the material on which it is printed, engraved or reproduced, and to the ink or colour (if this had not been claimed as one of the explicit characteristics of the trademark).
A verbal trademark is subject to the inalterability rule only with regards to its verbal elements. It can be used with any pictorial design that does not violate the rights of third parties.

How can I transfer the rights of my trademark?
If you would like to transfer your rights (during the application phase, or once the trademark has already been granted), you should draw up a contract that explicitly indicates this intention and clearly identifies the rights in question.
This document, or a certified photocopy, should then be presented to INPI for registration purposes, accompanied by the relevant form and payment of the transfer fee.

What can I do if my application is refused?
You have the right to make a legal appeal through the Lisbon Commercial Court, during a period of two months following the publication of the notification in the Industrial Property Bulletin, or following receipt of a certified copy from INPI, if this occurred before the above mentioned publication.
The Court of Arbitration which works in conjunction with the Arbitration Centre, ARBITRARE, is able to appraise the appeals from INPI’s decisions that are submitted within a two-month deadline, represents an alternative to the law court. For more information about how the Court of Arbitration works and the advantages it offers, visit

Under what circumstances does a trademark registration lapse?
A trademark registration expires automatically through failure to pay the registration fees, or failure to renew the registration.
In these situations, the owner has the option to revalidate his/her registration, within a period of one year counting from the date of publication of the expiry notification in the Industrial Property Bulletin.

A trademark can also expire for the following reasons:

  • Through lack of active use during a period of five consecutive years, unless there is just cause;
  • If the trademark has become generic, through common use, to describe the product or service for which it was registered;
  • If the trademark has become likely to mislead the consumer with regard to the nature, qualities, use or origin of the product or service.

Registration can also be declared null and void, or annulled, by due legal process in the situations described in law.

I have found out that a similar application for registration has been made. What can I do?
You can file an opposition with INPI during a period of 2 months counting from the publication date of the trademark application in the Industrial Property Bulletin.

People are imitating or copying my trademark. What can I do?
You can file a formal complaint with ASAE - the Authority for Economic and Food Safety (ASAE). You can also approach National Republican Guard (GNR), or go directly to the Public Prosecution Service.
As an alternative to the law courts, the Arbitration Centre ARBITRARE places at the disposal of interested parties, a Court of Arbitration which is able to settle civil disputes arising from the violation of industrial property rights. For more information about how the Court of Arbitration works and the advantages it offers, visit

How can I register my trademark abroad?
A trademark registration obtained in Portugal does not protect it in any other country.
If you would like to extend protection for your trademark to other countries, you can file registration applications directly to each country. You can also request protection for the countries of the European Union as a single block, through a Community Trade Mark, or for member states of the Madrid Agreement and/or Protocol, through an International Trademark Registration.

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