Industrial property enables exclusive rights to be obtained over certain intangible creations that are protected as true property rights.
In Spain there are several types of industrial property right:
- Industrial Designs: protecting the external appearance of products
- Trademarks and Trade Names (Distinctive Signs): protecting graphic and/or denominative combinations that help to distinguish certain products or services from other similar ones provided by other economic agents in the market.
- Patents and Utility Models: protecting inventions consisting of products and procedures susceptible to reproduction and reiteration for industrial ends.
- Semiconductor Topographies: protecting the (diagram of) pathways of the different layers and elements making up an integrated circuit, their three-dimensional arrangement and their interconnections, that is, what constitutes its "topography".
Applicable legislation exists for each of these rights, the basic texts for which are as follows:
- Patents and Models. Law 11/86 of 20th March on invention patents and utility models
- Distinctive Signs. Law 17/2001 of 7th December on trademarks
- Industrial Designs. Law 20/2003 of 7th July on the legal protection of industrial design
- Semiconductor Topographies. Law 11/1988 of 3rd May on the legal protection of the topographies of semiconductor products
Industrial property rights enable the holder to decide who can use them and how.
These rights are granted through a procedure carried out by the competent organisation (in Spain this is the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office) and the protection they provide covers the whole country.