Author: Violeta Sutkienė, Associated Partner, Head of the Trademark and Design Division at METIDA
A European Community trademark database has exceeded a million in terms of the number of trademarks, designs and inventions. An international trademark database has a similar number. This suggests that the number of IP objects increases rapidly which in result causes problems to create a new and original trademark for the new services or goods. To solve this problem METIDA has launched a website IP Market (http://www.ipmarket.lt/) which gives an opportunity to purchase or sell IP objects.
That registering an original trademark can be a problem is reflected by other figures. Specifically, every year the European Community registry registers about 100 000 trademarks. Also, over 3000 enquiries with regards to trademark registration are made daily and about 150 applications are filed each hour. Likewise, about 40 000 new trademark applications from 92 Contracting States that signed the Madrid Protocol (including Lithuania) are filed to the international trademark registry. As for Lithuania, so far we have got 33 000 valid trademark registrations and each year we receive around 2200 new applications.
Due to these enormous quantities of trademarks and the exclusive rights that they give, it becomes problematic to create a new trademark for your services or products which you could use safely without infringing the rights of the earlier trademarks.
There are many trademarks that are only registered, but are not used or ceased to be used in the market. Yet, even these trademarks may be a threat to the proprietors of later registered trademarks who intend to enter the market.
To decrease the number of the registered trademarks as well as the amount of the possible claims regarding the new trademarks in Lithuania, the EU and other countries, trademark regulations have included a requirement which defines the obligatory use of the trademark.
Directive No. 2008/95/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 22 October 2008 to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trademarks states that in order to reduce the amount of the registered and protected trademarks together with the disputes that they may cause, trademark proprietors are required to actually use their IP objects and if they fail to do so, their registration is subject to revocation.
According to the Law on Trademarks of the Republic of Lithuania, the court can revoke any trademark registration upon the request of any interested person if the proprietor of the trademark has not started to actually use his IP object for his services or goods in the five years since the issue of the certificate or international registration granting its protection in Lithuania or for any uninterrupted period of five years after registration and there are no proper reasons why that particular IP object has not been used.
Despite the registration, creation and marketing expenses, many proprietors are not keen on investing to the renewal of their trademark registration if the trademark becomes useless to them. Consequently, the registration of these trademarks is likely to be revoked.
Yet there is another, a much wiser option to dispose of your unused trademarks. Specifically, you can sell your trademark rights to other interested persons and in result get a reasonable compensation. Trademark rights transfer is a usual practice in the whole world. Approximately, 50 trademark transfer of rights agreements are registered every month in Lithuania. To ease this process, we have launched a website where future and present proprietors could meet each other.
IP MARKET allows you to easily find a potential proprietor of your trademark or acquire a new legally protected trademark appropriate for your new services or products. Thus, we are sincerely inviting you to visit our website www.ipmarket.lt where you will find a lot of trademarks for sale in different classes of services and goods. We also post there a list of valuable patents and product designs, thus, you can also purchase manufacturing licences.