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Trademark Registration in the Republic of Belarus
A trademark or service mark (hereinafter referred to as the “trademark”) is any sign capable of distinguishing the products, works and/or services of one person from those of another.
The exclusive right to the trademark is initiated from the date of its registration on the State Register of Trademarks. The registered trademark is proved by a certificate.
The trademark owner has the exclusive right to use the trademark, or dispose of its exclusive right, and also to prohibit the use of the trademark by other persons. Nobody may use the trademark protected in the territory of the Republic of Belarus without having obtained an authorization from its owner.
The application for registration of a trademark is filed with the patent authority of the Republic of Belarus – the National Center of Intellectual Property that carries out examination of the sign applied to be registered as trademark to ensure that it meets the requirements for registration set out in the legislation, and decides either to register it as trademark or to refuse such registration.
The registration of a trademark in the Republic of Belarus lasts for an initial period of 10 years from the date of filing the application with the patent authority. The registration may be renewed indefinite number of times for the periods of 10 years each. The registered trademark is only valid within the territory of the Republic of Belarus in respect to the goods and/or services indicated in the certificate.
Signs which can be registered as trademarks in the Republic of Belarus are words, including proper names, combinations of colors, letters, numerals, figurative or three-dimensional signs, including shapes of goods and their packaging as well as any combination of such signs. Trademarks may be registered in any color or combination of colors.
In some countries, holograms, taste, smell or sound signs, and other non-traditional signs can be also qualified as trademarks.
According to the legislation of the Republic of Belarus those trademarks may not be registered that:
- are devoid of any distinctive character;
- have become customary as designations of the goods of a certain kind;
- are generally accepted symbols and terms;
- consist exclusively of signs and/or indications used to designate the kind, quality, quantity, properties, intended purpose or value of the goods, and also the time, place or mode of their production or sell;
- are the shape or packaging of goods, which results exclusively or mainly from the nature of the goods themselves, which is necessary to obtain a technical result, or which gives substantial value to the goods.
A sign will not be registered as a trademark if it:
- consists solely of designations that constitute State armorial bearings, flags or emblems, official designations of States, flags, emblems or abbreviated or full names of international intergovernmental organizations, official signs, assay marks or hallmarks, awards and other distinguishing signs, as well as designations confusingly similar to them. Such designations may be incorporated as unprotected elements in a trademark upon consent of the appropriate competent body or their owner;
- is deceptive or capable to mislead the consumer about the product, the place of its origin or its manufacturer;
- contains, or consists of, an appellation of origin identifying wines or alcoholic beverages protected in the Republic of Belarus by virtue of international treaties with respect to such wines or alcoholic beverages not originating in the place indicated by the appellation of origin in question;
- is contrary to public interest, principles of humanity or morality.
Also, such indications may not be registered as trademarks if they are identical or confusingly similar to:
- trademarks of other persons registered or filed for registration in the Republic of Belarus with respect to the same or similar goods and having earlier priority;
- trademarks of other persons protected in the Republic of Belarus by virtue of international treaties with respect to the same or similar goods;
- trademarks of other persons recognized as well-known in the Republic of Belarus with respect to any goods;
- appellations of origin protected in the Republic of Belarus or filed for registration as such and having earlier priority, except where appellations of origin or designations confusingly similar to them are incorporated as unprotected elements in a trademark registered in the name of a person having the exclusive right to such appellations of origin, if the registration of the trademark is sought for those very goods for whose individualization the appellations of origin have been registered with respect to any goods;
- industrial designs the rights to which are owned by other persons in the Republic of Belarus, if the industrial design enjoys earlier priority compared with the designation filed for trademark registration;
- names of selection inventions protected in the Republic of Belarus the rights to which belong to other persons whose rights in the plant varieties arose on a date prior to the filing of the application for trademark registration;
- trade names (or individual elements thereof) protected in the Republic of Belarus the rights to which belong to other persons whose rights in the trade names arose on a date prior to the filing date of the application for trademark registration;
- titles of scientific, literary or artistic works known in the Republic of Belarus or names of persons, or quotations from such works, from artistic works or from parts of works, without the consent of the copyright owner whose rights in the respective work arose on a date prior to the filing date of the application for trademark registration;
- titles and names of media outlets registered in the Republic of Belarus without the consent of their founders with respect to the same or similar goods;
- family names, forenames, pseudonyms or derivatives thereof, and portraits or facsimiles of persons known in the Republic of Belarus without the consent of those persons or their heirs.
Consequences of non-use of trademarks. The term of registration of a trademark may be invalidated prematurely in respect of all or part of the goods protected by the registration in connection with non-use of the trademark without due cause during an uninterrupted period of:
- five years from the date of its registration– for trademarks registered prior to 25.01.2010,
- three years from the date of its registration – for trademarks registered after 25.01.2010 (inclusive).
Requests for premature termination of the trademark registration are considered by IP Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus.