What are trademarks?

A trademark represents a business identity in the marketplace. It may indicate a certain quality, reputation and goodwill and can therefore be particularly valuable when marketing goods and services. 

A trademark can consist of:
  • Word mark  consists exclusively of words or letters, numerals, other standard typographic characters or a combination thereof that can be typed. 

  • Figurative mark is a trade mark where non-standard characters, stylisation or layout, or a graphic feature or a colour are used, including marks that consist exclusively of figurative elements. The ISIPO accepts the following file format: JPEG

  • Figurative mark containing word elements.  A figurative mark consisting of a combination of verbal and figurative elements. The ISIPO accepts the following file format: JPEG

  • Slogans such as "Just do it" or "It's finger lickin' good".

  • Shape mark  consists of, or extends to, a three-dimensional shape. It can include containers, packaging, the product itself or its appearance. The ISIPO accepts the following file formats: JPEG

  • Shape mark containing word elements. The ISIPO accepts the following file formats: JPEG

  • Position mark. A position mark consists of the specific way in which the mark is placed or affixed to the product. The ISIPO accepts the following file format: JPEG

  • Pattern mark consists exclusively of a set of elements which are repeated regularly. The ISIPO accepts the following file format: JPEG

  • Colour mark is a trade mark which consists exclusively of a single colour (without contours). The ISIPO accepts the following file format: JPEG

  • Colour combination mark consists exclusively of a combination of colours (without contours). The ISIPO accepts the following file format: JPEG 

  • Sound mark consists exclusively of a sound or a combination of sounds. Applications for sound marks must include an audio file reproducing the sound or an accurate representation of the sound in musical notation.

  • Motion mark consists of, or extends to, a movement or a change in the position of the elements of a mark. The ISIPO accepts the following file format: MP4 (video), JPEG (for series of still sequential images).

  • Multimedia mark consists, or extends to, the combination of images and sound.The ISIPO accepts the following file format: MP4 (maximum 20 Mb)

  • Hologram mark consist of elements with holographic characteristics. The ISIPO accepts the following file formats: JPEG, MP4 (maximum 20 Mb)

A registration of a trademark confers an exclusive right to use the mark in business for specific goods and/or services and allows the owner therefore to prevent others from using the same or similar trademarks in business for identical or similar goods and services.

Trademark right can be established either by registration or by use. Proving establishment of a trademark right by use can be difficult and requires extensive data that can confirm the use of the mark as a trademark for a particular product/service. However, by registering a trademark the exclusive right has been documented and confirmed which strengthens the position of the trademark owner by:

  • putting him in a better position to defend his rights
  • providing a sound basis for negotiating finance for development costs and entering into licensing and sales agreements
  • providing business tools that can help to attract investors, enter new markets and find business partners. 
  • helping to prevent conflicts and provide evidence in conflict

Keep in mind that the exclusive right provided by trademarks applies only to use in business, i.e. use of the trademark on the product itself, packaging, in advertising, in business documents etc. The right does therefore not prevent private use.

When applying for a trademark registration it is necessary to choose goods and/or services for which the trademark should be registered. This selection of goods and services defines the scope of the exclusive right that a trademark contains. It is therefore important to choose the goods and services for which the trademark is being used or will be used in the near future. Further information regarding the goods and service classification can be found here

Protection time

Registration lasts for a period of ten years from the filing date of the application and may be renewed indefinitely upon payment of a fee. If registration is not renewed, the registration will expire.

How much does a trademark application cost?

Application fees must be paid when applications are filed. The employees of the Icelandic Intellectual Property Office provide applicants with general information on the completion of applications.

Protection in Iceland or internationally

It is advisable to have a trademark registration in every country where you intend to exploit your trademark commercially. However, it will also be more expensive if a trademark is protected in many countries. The prices depend on the price list in each country.

What are collective marks?

Collective marks are usually defined as signs which distinguish the geographical origin, material, mode of manufacture or other common characteristics of goods or services of different enterprises using the collective mark. Only a society or other organisation may acquire an exclusive right for its members to use a collective trademark for goods or services in an industrial or commercial undertaking

Why register?

By registering collective marks, companies or organisations can obtain proprietary rights for their members to use a common identifier for goods or services for commercial purposes. Moreover, authorities, establishments, associations or unions may acquire proprietary rights to a trademark used for goods or services to which controls or standards apply.

Applying for the registration of a collective mark

Collective marks may be filed with the ISIPO. A special application form is used for the registration of collective marks. Collective marks listed in the Trademarks Registry must meet the same registration requirements as trademarks. An application for registration of a collective mark shall also include the regulations established for the use of the mark. The rules shall state the following:

  • Who is authorized to use the mark .
  • What conditions are set for such authorization and what would be the consequences of unlawful use.
  • What rights and duties the owner of the mark has vis-à-vis those using the mark in an unlawful manner.
  • What rules apply regarding membership in an entity who owns the mark, if the mark is a collective mark.
    
     
International registration of collective trademarks

The same applies to the registration system of collective marks as applies to trademarks. The applicant must file an application for registration in Iceland before or at the same time as the international application is filed. The mark must be identical in both cases and the list of goods and services may not be more extensive than indicated in the national application.

What are certification and guarantee marks?

Certification marks certify that goods or services have a particular nature or origin. They may indicate that an item or service comes from a specific geographic location, is made of a particular material, has a certain quality, or has any other defined characteristic. Only public authority, foundation, company or other organisation that establishes standards for or conducts any other testing on goods or services may acquire an exclusive right to use a certification and guarantee mark (trademark) for such goods or services to which the standards or the testing apply. 

Applying for the registration of a certification and guarantee mark

Certification and guarantee marks may be filed with the ISIPO. A special application form is used for the registration of certification and guarantee marks. Certification and guarantee marks listed in the Trademarks Registry must meet the same registration requirements as trademarks. In addition, the rules that apply to the use of the mark must be attached to the application. The rules shall state the following:

  • Who is authorized to use the mark .
  • What conditions are set for such authorization and what would be the consequences of unlawful use.
  • What rights and duties the owner of the mark has vis-à-vis those using the mark in an unlawful manner.
International registration of certification and guarantee marks

The same applies to the registration system of certification and guarantee marks as applies to trademarks. The applicant must file an application for registration in Iceland before or at the same time as the international application is filed. The mark must be identical in both cases and the list of goods and services may not be more extensive than indicated in the national application.