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I have registrated a trademark, what are my rights ?
The filing of an application for a trademark, then the issuance of the trademark itself, gives the trademark-owner the monopoly of exploitation of this trademark and for the products and services covered by it. As for a patent, this exclusive right (monopoly) enables the owner to decide who may exploit it and under which conditions (length of time, financial compensation, etc.). If they do not exploit it personally, they may decide to "rent" the trademark, via a trademark license to one or more interested organisations. The owner may also decide to sell the trademark via a trademark assignment agreement. They additionally have the possibility of extending the trademark to foreign countries, either within 6 months of the date of their first filing, claiming their right of priority, or at any other moment. A registered trademark also enables the owner to act under infringement before the courts against imitations of my trademark, as well as establish official reports of infringements, or customs detentions. Finally, a registered trademark lets the owner oppose a later trademark as soon as it is published in the official Bulletin, without resorting to litigation. This opposition, if they win it, results in the withdrawal of the offending trademark, and this latter is not registered as a result.
The owner’s rights extend over a period of 10 years, and are renewable indefinitely for 10-year periods.
Caution: in France, only the filing of a trademark can grant the owner rights as of the date of that filing. The use of a “trademark” without it having been filed confers no rights per se, except when the name is also that of my company or that of a domain name.
But the fact of possessing a trademark also creates obligations for the owner, which consist mainly of exploiting the trademark or having it exploited for them. Thus, any interested third party may, by initial claim or counterclaim in court, obtain forfeiture of the trademark if the owner cannot prove its utilisation over the five years preceding this legal action. It is also in the owner’s best interest to defend the trademark as soon as they become aware of an infringement, as they may lose their exclusive right if they tolerate infringement for a period of five years. They must neither use the trademark as a generic term, nor let third parties do so.
These obligations require constant surveillance (customs surveillance, trademark surveillance...) which, if disregarded, may lead to the loss of the owner’s monopoly.