Introduction:

 

Language: Latvian

Capital: Riga

Area: 64,589 km2

Population: 1,953,200 (2016)

Currency: Euro

Religion: Lutheranism (34%), Roman Catholicism (24%), Russian Orthodox (17%)

Geographical Situation: in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast, as well as a maritime border to the west alongside Sweden.

 

International treaty membership:

Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks (March 16, 2009)

Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (January 5, 2000)

Trademark Law Treaty (December 28, 1999)

Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (January 1, 1995)

Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (January 1, 1995)

Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (January 21, 1993)

 

Legislation:

Law on Trademarks and Indications of Geographical Origin (as amended up to January 1, 2016) (2016)

 

Government Institutions:

Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia

 

Type of trademark:

Signs that can be registered as a trademark are:

-words - consisting of letters, words, also given names, surnames, numerals;

-graphic - pictures, drawings, graphic symbols, shades of colours, combinations of colours;

-three-dimensional - three-dimensional shapes, the shapes of goods or of their packaging;

-a combination - consisting of a combination of the aforementioned elements (labels and the like);

-specific types or special (sound or light signals and the like).

 

The following trademark types are registrable: trademarks, service marks and collective marks.

 

Ground for refusal :

Absolute ground for refusal:

The following signs may not be registered as trademarks:

those which lack any distinctive character with respect to the goods or services applied for;

-those which consist solely of signs or indications which may serve, in trade, to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose (functional task), value, origin, or the time of production of the goods or of providing the services, or other characteristics of the goods or services;

-those which consist solely of signs or indications (general signs) which have become customary in the current language or in fair and established practices of the trade to designate the goods or services applied for;

-those which consist solely of a shape which is directly determined by the kind of goods (the shape results directly from the nature of the goods themselves), or which is necessary to obtain a particular technical result, or which gives substantial value to the goods;

-those which are contrary to public order or to socially accepted principles of morality;

- those which may deceive consumers regarding the nature, quality or geographical origin, or the like, of the goods or services;

-those which contain signs, including coats of arms and flags of the member countries of the Paris Union, their official hallmarks (assay marks), control and warranty marks, as well as the emblems, flags, and names of international organisations and the abbreviations thereof, without authorisation by the competent authorities;

 

Relative ground:

If the mark is similar or identical to an earlier trademark for the same class of goods and services, or if there is a likelihood of confusion for the public with an such earlier trademark.

 

Application content:

Application shall contain the following elements:

-a petition to register a trade mark;

-information which permits the unmistakable identification of the applicant;

-the sign which is submitted for registration (its representation);

-the list of goods and services for which the trade mark registration is requested.

 

Application process:

Formal examination:

Within three months of the day of the receipt of the application, the Patent Office shall conduct a preliminary examination of the application, verify the compliance of the application with the formal requirements and determine the filing date

If the application does not comply or only partially complies with the formal requirements the Patent Office shall notify the applicant thereof in writing and set a term of three months for reply.

 

Substantive examination:

Within three months from the date when the application has been accepted for expert examination, the Patent Office shall examine the compliance of the sign applied for registration with the absolute ground for refusal and signs that can be register as a trademark.

In the course of the expert-examination, the Patent Office is entitled to request from the applicant additional materials and documents necessary for conducting the examination, indicating a period of three months for the submission thereof

If the result of expert-examination is favourable, the Patent Office shall take a decision to register the trade mark. An invitation to pay the fee for the registration and publication of the trade mark shall be appended to the decision

The registration of the trade mark in the State Register of Trade Marks shall take place simultaneously with its publication in the official gazette of the Patent Office. The legal consequences shall set in on the day of publication indicated in the official gazette of the Patent Office irrespective of whether the publication is in a hard copy or electronic form on the website of the Patent Office.

The opposition period is 3 months from publication date of trademark registration (post-grant procedure), and shall be reviewed within three months from the day of the receipt of a reply from the trade mark owner or from the day when the deadline for the submission of a reply has expired.

 

Refusal:

The decision to register a mark can be rejected if the applicant fail to provide all the documents required, does not pays the fees, the mark applied doesn’t meet the trademark criteria or is likely falling in absolute gournd for refusal.

If an applicant does not eliminate the deficiencies following the request of the Patent Office, the application shall be deemed not to have been filed and the applicant shall be notified thereof in writing.

If an applicant or other addressee of the decision of the Patent Office (owner of the trade mark, previous owner, legal successor of ownership rights, licensee) disagrees with the decision of the Patent Office, taken in connection with the preliminary examination of an application or the results of the expert-examination of the trade mark, or a decision taken in another procedure in connection with the trade mark registration, he or she is entitled to submit a written motivated appeal to the Patent Office within three months from the day of receipt of the decision, upon payment of the respective fee. Submission of an appeal shall suspend the execution of the Patent Office decision. Appeals shall be reviewed within three months from the date of the receipt thereof by the Patent Office.

 

Rights of exploitation and related delay:

The registration of a trade mark is valid for a period of 10 years from the filing date and can be renewed for 10 years every time, within the last year of the protection, or during a 6 months grace period after the expiry.

The person in whose name the trade mark has been registered has exclusive rights to prohibit other persons from using in commercial activities the following signs:

1) any sign which is identical to the trade mark in relation to goods or services which are identical to those for which the trade mark is registered;

2) any sign where, because of its identity to, or similarity to, the trade mark and the identity or similarity of the goods or services covered by the trade mark and the sign, there exists a likelihood of confusion or a likelihood of association between the sign and the trade mark on behalf of the relevant consumers.

 

 

Transfer and conditions:

The owner of the trademark is allowed to transfer his right to another person, in part or totally, and shall notify the Patent Office. The Patent Office, after receipt of a request, a document attesting to the transfer of rights and the prescribed fee, shall enter into the Register and publish in the official gazette information concerning the change in ownership of a registered trade mark, and the transfer of a trade mark to another person, as well as send to the owner (owners) a notice of the entry made in the Register

Certification:                               

After registration and publication of the trade mark the Patent Office shall issue to the owner, on an official form, a certificate of trade mark registration.

 

Withdrawal and cancellation:

The applicant has the right to withdraw the application as a whole, or to withdraw goods and services from the submitted list of goods and services at any time during the processing of the application; however, the fees already paid are not refundable.

If, within five years from the date of registration, the owner of the trade mark has not commenced the actual use of the trade mark in Latvia in connection with the goods and services for which it has been registered, or if such use has been discontinued during the period of validity of the trade mark for five successive years, and there are not sufficient reasons for non-use, the rights of the owner will be cancelled.

If after opposition by the owner of an earlier and similar mark for same goods and services, the protection may be revoked.

If the mark has become a generic name, the renewal will not be possible.

The owner of the mark is also allowed to surrender his right, by notifying it to the Patent Office.

 

Customs protection:

To execute and protect his rights, the holder (or a person authorised by him) of a copyright, related right, trade mark, industrial design or geographical indication protected in Latvia may lodge an application in writing with the Customs Board of the State Revenue Service concerning the counterfeit or pirated goods.

The application shall contain the following information :

- a sufficiently detailed description of the original goods and the counterfeit or pirated goods to enable the customs authority to recognize them;

- proof that the applicant is the holder of the copyrights for the goods in question. -time period within which the customs authority is requested to take action.

Where the Customs Board considers the application well-founded, it shall specify the time period during which the necessary customs control procedures shall be carried out. The Customs Board may extend that period upon application by the holder of the copyrights.

Where, in course of checks made under the customs procedures it appears evident to the customs office that the goods are counterfeit or pirated, but the application of the holder of the copyrights has not been lodged or approved, the customs office shall notify the Customs Board on an alleged infringement of copyrights. The Customs Board in its turn shall notify the holder of the copyright, if known, of an alleged infringement thereof. In that case the customs office shall be authorized to suspend release of the goods for free circulation, and after giving the notification to the Customs Board, shall be authorised to detain them for a period maximum of 10 working days to enable the holder of the copyrights to lodge an application.

Once it is done, the goods shall be destroyed, if the these goods a recognized as counterfeit.

 

Sources:

Wipo.int: Law on Trademarks and Indications of Geographical Origin (as amended up to January 1, 2016) (2016)

 

Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 43 of February 2, 1999, regarding Customs Control Measures to Ensure Protection of Intellectual Property

 

 

Vincent Lagier

創作者介紹

眾律國際法律/專利商標事務所

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