Earlier rights and searches
Your trade mark should not be in conflict with the rights acquired before the filing date of your trade mark application or the date of priority. A conflict may arise if your trade mark is identical or too similar to the subject of earlier right. The owners of the earlier rights may contest your right to your trade mark. The Estonian Patent Office does not carry out checks about earlier rights during the examination.
The legal protection of a trade mark can begin from the date of priority, i.e. there is a right to use the date of the earlier application of the same trade mark as a priority date (including the filing date of the application in another country) pursuant to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
Earlier rights valid in Estonia are, for example:
- a trade mark which has become well known earlier and which does not have to be registered;
- an earlier trade mark valid in Estonia or in European Union which is registered or filed for registration for identical or similar kinds of goods or services;
- a business name entered in the commercial register earlier, if the area of activity of the undertaking is of the same field as the goods or services listed in the trade mark application;
- an object of copyright or industrial property right or another earlier right;
- protected designations of origin or geographical indications.
In order to avoid collision with earlier trade marks, business names and other earlier rights, it is advisory to make searches already during the process of choosing and developing of your trade mark. It helps to find out whether your chosen sign can be used and legally protected, or a different sign should be chosen for your trade mark in order to avoid any conflicts.
Searches on earlier trade marks valid in Estonia can be made in two databases: