Written by: Cristina García
Creating your hotel’s brand and logo design are just the first step in formalizing them. Think that nothing is official until you have a patent. Therefore, you must register your hotel's brand and logo when their designed in the Spanish Office of Patents and Marks (OEPM). That way, they would also be registered in the Industrial Property, and you will get the exclusive rights in Spain on your brand.
According to Article 4.1 of the Law of Trademarks: “a trademark means any sign capable of graphic representation that serves to distinguish on the market products or services of one company from those of others”. In addition, have in mind the different types of brands you could be using for your hotel. The most important ones to consider are:
Denominations: one or more words with or without idiomatic meaning, combination of letters, and / or numbers, which in this case would not include any colour or style.
Graphics: graphs, logos, drawings, etc.
Mixed: when denomination and graphics are combined in a brand.
Sound: sounds that can be identified with the company and can be registered as trademarks.
However, there are certain legal prohibitions, so, what cannot be registered as a trademark?
Signs that cannot be graphically represented.
Gender and specific signs of products or services.
Descriptive signs of products or services (quality, quantity, destination, value, origin, time).
Signs contrary to law, public order or good customs, or those that may mislead the public.
Signs that, without authorization, reproduce or imitate shields, flags, badges and public emblems.
First, keep in mind that the cost of registering your brand name would be the same as doing it with your hotel logo. For this reason, we recommend that you save yourself the step of registering your logo individually. It’s much better if you go through this process just once.
Secondly, remember that if you fill out the application form for the registration of any design, you should include the corresponding colours. If you don’t, on the one hand, you would have to wait to correct the request. On the other hand, your colours could be essential they decide there is no similar design.
For this last reason, it’s also important that you do your homework. Obviously, if you trust an agency that is specialized in your sector, you should not have any problems. But you should always investigate your competition, to ensure that you will not get any opposition when you apply for registration, because your brand is similar to another one.
And who could apply for registration? According to the OEPM, any individual or legal entity that could act directly or through an industrial property agent or representative who was authorized.
The steps that you would have to take to register your brand and logo, with the corresponding documentation, could be summarized in:
As we said, it is convenient to know there is no brand similar to yours. Before submitting the application in order to register your creation, you must search in the databases of free access offered by the OEPM in Spain.
In this case, according to the above list, it would be class 43 which includes accommodation reservation services for travellers or other establishments that provide temporary accommodation.
An express or implied statement that the title is requested.
Data identifying the applicant (name, address and NIF).
In the case of the logo design of your brand (distinctive sign), a reproduction of this distinctive sign together with an indication of the products on which it’s going to be applied.
Together with proof of payment of official fees.
And the authorization to the representative, in case one had been designated.
The Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (in person or electronically).
Regional Industrial Property Centers of the Autonomous Community.
The Post Office, in an open envelope, by certified mail and with acknowledgment of receipt.
Any administrative body of the General State Administration, or in any Administration of the Autonomous Communities. (For example: Delegations or Sub-delegations of the Government, Areas of Industry, Tourism and Commerce).
Once the request has been submitted, the agency is in charge of examining it and if the necessary documentation has been submitted, a day, hour and minute of presentation and a number identifying the file are granted.
Subsequently, the body with the powers will perform a legal test and once exceeded, will be published, for two months, in the Official Gazette of Industrial Property, so that any person who considers himself harmed may file a notice of opposition.
And, after this period, it has to go through another in-depth examination, which takes into account the legal prohibitions mentioned above. Then the OEPM would grant the brand, which would have to be renewed every 10 years from the date of application.
It goes without saying that, registering your brand, in which you have invested so much, is a must because it allows you the exclusive right of its use, preventing other people from using it.