Just like any other material asset, intellectual creations can also be subject to a property right - an industrial property right. This right allows a monopoly or a right of exclusive use to be secured for an invention, an aesthetic creation (design), or a sign used to distinguish products and companies in the marketplace. Intellectual Property (IP) consists of two branches, Copyright and Industrial Property.
Copyright is aimed at the protection of literary and artistic works (which includes original creations in literature and the arts). The aim of Industrial Property is to protect inventions, aesthetic creations (designs) and signs used to distinguish products and companies in the marketplace, thus protecting the results of investments in innovation (whether it be technological or commercial).
Protection or registration is not compulsory for individuals or companies that intend to develop or exploit an invention, an aesthetic creation or brand products and services in the marketplace.
However, it is highly recommended, given the multiple benefits that it offers:
- It secures a legal monopoly: This monopoly allows you to prevent someone from using a trademark, a patent or a design or model (or any other type of IP) without your consent. It also allows the owner to set in motion all legal procedures to cease or punish any usurpations. Attention! In Portugal, rights to property and exclusive use are acquired only through registration with INPI, not through simple use in the marketplace.
- It confers the right to use symbols that may dissuade violation of your rights, such as ®, Pat. no. or DM no. The use of these symbols is only permitted for those who have been successful in acquiring registration. They may sometimes prevent or avoid activity that may damage your rights.
- It provides greater safety for investments made by your company: The grant of registration/protection implies that there are no previously existing trademarks, patents, or designs or models (or other types of IP) that can invalidate your rights. In this way, the risk of conflict with holders of previously awarded rights is minimized. Such a conflict could result in your being forced to withdraw all the investment you have made in the development and implementation of a certain sign or invention.
- It grants a right to property: The property right acquired through protection or registration is freely available, and the holder can profit from their investments by transferring this right or issuing licences for the exploitation of their trademarks, patents or designs or models.
The results of inventive activity in all fields of technology can be protected with a temporary title, by means of:
- Utility Models
- Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPC)
- Semiconductor Topographies
A written sign, such as a picture or a word, that serves to identify products, services, establishments or entities in the market, can be protected by means of:
- Appellations of Origin
- Geographic Indications of Source
The appearance or design of an object (the aesthetic form resulting from the creative activity of companies and designers) can be protected by means of:
Registration and protection granted in Portugal - through INPI - is only effective in Portugal, and does not protect the trademark or patent in any other country.
Industrial property rights (trademarks, patents, and designs, amongst others) are locally applicable rights, only guaranteeing protection in the country where they were granted.
For example, if a trademark is only registered in Portugal, its owner can only defend his rights in Portugal. He cannot prevent anyone in Spain from using an identical or similar sign.
If a company’s business strategy involves exporting products or reaching out to new markets, the Industrial Property System also offers several means to guarantee protection in other countries for the various types of industrial property.
Should you wish to chose for any of the means of protection abroad, an application for registration or protection made in Portugal allows you, for a period of 6 or 12 months, to take advantage of the right of priority to file an application in another country: in any Member State of the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (CUP).
If an application made abroad is lodged within this time limit, it will be regarded as having been lodged on the same date as the original application made in Portugal (known as ‘right of priority’). This can prove to be very advantageous.
Find more about:
- Patents and utility models - What is it?
- Patent or Utility model - What to choose?
- The advantages of protection
- Protection in Portugal
- Computer Implemented Inventions (CII)
- Second medicine use
- PPH - Patent Prosecution Highway
- Protection Abroad
- Supplementary Protection Certificate
- FAQs regarding Patents
INPI on-line database, provides information about:
- the status of your application(s) or award(s), or those of other applicant(s)/award holder(s)
- the legal status of registrations, for potential business negotiations;
- new technologies in your field of activity;
- other applications/awards that have previously been granted protection, and which may conflict with your business activities;
among many other information
INPI – Portuguese Institute of Industrial Property
Blue number: (+351) 808 200 689
For any queries about industrial property, and INPI services, please use this e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portuguese Industrial Property Code
Table of Industrial Property Fees 2016-2017 (as from 1st July 2016)
ARBITRARE- Arbitration center for industrial property, domain names, firms and denominations (Portugal)
EUIPO - European Union Intellectual Property Office
IPR HelpDesk (EU)
See how the European IPR Helpdesk can support researchers and SMEs involved in Horizon 2020 projects.