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Frequently Asked Questions Industrial Property

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: these protect the external appearance of products

- Trademarks and Trade Names (Distinctive Signs): these protect the combination of graphic and/or denominative elements that help distinguish products and services on the market from other similar ones offered by other economic agents.

- Patents and utility models: these protect inventions consisting of products and procedures which are susceptible to reproduction and/or use 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".

There are pieces of legislation that apply to each of these rights and these can be found in the “Regulations” section of the web page (

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.

El registro de los derechos de Propiedad Industrial no es obligatorio pero sí recomendable, ya que el nacimiento del derecho exclusivo sobre los mismos nace del registro válidamente efectuado.

The documents needed to request protection of industrial property rights vary by category. Generally speaking, the minimum information required for obtaining a submission date is the following:

- An express or implicit statement that the rights are being requested.

- Information identifying the applicant.

- In the case of patents and utility models, a description.

- In the case of distinctive signs and industrial design, a copy of the distinctive sign or the industrial design, along with an indication of the products to which it will be applied.

The application will be assigned a submission date, hour and minute, and a number that identifies the case file, which will never change.

In the event of any irregularity that prevents a submission date from being assigned, the applicant will be notified to enable correction of the defect within the timeframe established by law for each industrial property category. In this case, the submission date will be the date the correction document is received. If no correction is received, the application process will be considered withdrawn.

In Spain, industrial property protects all creations related to industry: patents and utility models, distinctive signs and designs.

In contrast, intellectual property is reserved for protecting creations of the mind in which the author's personality is captured, and that are unique creations, not industrially manufactured or mass-produced.

These creations can be literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and theatre plays, films, musical works, artworks, drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures or architectural designs, as well as rules for games and computer programs.

For each one there are different laws and the authorities responsible for their management are also different: the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office deals with the recognition of industrial property rights and the Intellectual Property Registry deals with intellectual property rights.

The organisation and addresses of the Intellectual Property Registry can be found here.