What is a trademark

A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device which is used in trade with goods to distinguish them from the goods of others.
All new signs that can be represented graphically can be registered as trademark, especially words, including personal names, drawings, letters, numbers, sounds, the shape of products or of packageof products, chromatic combinations and tones, as long as they can distinguish the products or services of a specific company from other companies.

Trademarks are registered for one or more classes in relation to the products and services to be distinguished. In case of conflict, the owner of a trademarks with earlier registration has a priority right against those who register and/or use an identical trademark or a trademark that can be confused with the earlier trademark.

In order to be in conflict two trademarks must be registered and/or used in relation to the same goods. Based on this principle the law admits the amiably coexistence of trademarks that designate different goods even if they are totally similar.
Once the trademark has been registered, computer surveillance services allow for monitoring if conflicting trademarks in terms of contents, product class and territory are filed by third parties.

If a “competing” trademark is identified, the owner of the reference trademark can take administrative actions before relevant authorities to prevent the “competing” trademark from being filed.

Surveillance is fundamental in those countries (including Italy) where the owner of a prior trademark cannot make any claims against “competing” trademarks that have been filed successively, if the use of the trademark on the market has been tolerated for a certain period of time (five years for Italy).
The information that a “competing” trademark has been filed by third parties is considered as necessary and sufficient for the owner of the reference trademark to take actions against the “competing” trademark in due time to prevent its registration for five years.
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