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What is industrial property and what can it be protected?


Industrial property is the exclusive right held by a natural or legal person over an invention, a distinctive sign or an industrial design.


In Spain, industrial property rights are:


- Industrial designs: these protect the external appearance of products


- Trademarks and trade names: these protect distinctive signs, whether graphic and/or word combinations , which help to distinguish goods or services from identical or similar ones belonging to competitors on the market.


- Patents and utility models: these protect inventions that may relate to a new process, a new device, a new product or an improvement or refinement thereof that can be reproduced and repeated for industrial purposes.


- Topographies of semiconductors: these protect 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 24/2015 of 24 July on Patents


- Distinctive signs Law 17/2001 of 7 December on Trademarks


- Industrial designs Law 20/2003 of 7 July on the Legal Protection of Industrial Design


- Topographies of semiconductor products Law 11/1988 of 3 May on the Legal Protection of the Topographies of Semiconductor Products