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General information about trademarks

A trademark is a sign that distinguishes one company’s goods and services from similar goods and services from other companies. A trademark functions as a distinctive symbol on the market.

Trademarks are intended to be used in business, but private persons can also apply for or own trademarks.

A trademark is an exclusive right

An exclusive right to a trademark gives the owner the right to prohibit others from using the same or a similar sign for goods or services that are similar to the owner's goods or services. This prohibition right is an effective way to protect your brand.

For consumers, a trademark can also be a guarantee of the quality of goods or services; all products with the same mark are consistent or of equal quality. A trademark can even say something about the manufacturer, as the consumer associates the goods or services with a specific producer on the basis of the trademark.

Exclusive right to a trademark through registration or establishment

You can gain the exclusive right to a trademark by registering or establishing it.

Apply to register your trademark at the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH). We will examine your application and register the trademark if we find no obstacles to the registration of the mark.

A trademark becomes established when it is used in business until it is widely known in connection with certain goods or services. There are no clear thresholds for establishing a trademark, and it requires substantial use and evidence. The difficulty with establishing a trademark is that the applicant cannot be sure whether it has become established until a court of law confirms it.

What is the difference between trademarks and company names?

A company name is intended to distinguish a particular company from other companies, whereas a trademark is intended to distinguish the products of a particular company from competitors’ products on the market.

Usually, a trademark enjoys stronger protection than a company name. It is also possible to license or transfer a trademark to someone else, which typically cannot be done with a company name.

Special types of trademarks

In addition to the standard trademark, there are two special types of trademarks that are only suitable for specific situations: collective mark and certification mark.

A collective mark is a trademark intended to indicate that the user belongs to an organisation with members. A certification mark is an indication that goods or services are examined or certified by a specific source.

Read more about collective and certification marks.

Printable version Latest update 17.06.2021