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FAQ's

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Company Formation
Trademark
Patent
Industrial Design
Copyright

TRADEMARK

1.     What is a trademark?
A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises.
2.     What elements can I use as a mark to distinguish my goods or services from others?
Any distinctive element, such as words, letters, numerals, drawings, pictures, shapes, colors, labels, or any combination of these, can be used as a mark.
3.     Can sounds and smells be considered as marks too?
As long as the sound or the smell serves to distinguish the goods or services of one enterprise from those of others, some countries may permit the sound or smell to be registered as a mark.
4.     Can I register my name as a trademark?
Yes, you can register your name as a trademark, provided the trademark office of your country or the country in which you are seeking protection considers it “distinctive” for the goods or services concerned.
5.     How can I protect my mark?
At the national/regional level, trademark protection can be obtained through registration, by filing the appropriate application form with the national or regional trademark office and paying the required fees.
At the international level (for protection abroad), you have two options: either you may file a trademark application with the trademark office of each country in which you are seeking protection, or you can use the Madrid system.
6.     What is the advantage of a trademark registration?
In principle, only a trademark registration will provide exclusive rights over the mark.
Registration will provide legal certainty and will reinforce the position of the right holder, for example, in case of litigation.
7.     Is it always necessary to register a mark in order to protect it?
In certain jurisdictions, it is. In others, you may acquire rights over a mark that you have used, but not registered.
8.     Is trademark registration necessary even when the mark has been in use for many years?
In countries which have a legal system based on common law, “prior use” is generally sufficient for claiming rights over a given trademark in case of dispute. In civil law countries, however, this is usually not the case. Only trademark registration will provide legal certainty on exclusive rights to the use of the trademark regardless of how many years an enterprise has been using the name. Even in the first case, it is highly advisable to register a trademark, as registration will reinforce the position of the right holder in case of litigation.
9.     Does trademark protection apply to any and all types of goods and services?
No. You must indicate in the trademark application form the list of goods and/or services for which you are seeking protection.
10. If I am exporting, do I have to register my mark in other countries as well?
Trademark protection is territorial, that is, your rights are confined to the country in which your mark was applied for and registered. Consequently, if you are in the export business, you should register your mark in the countries to which you are exporting.
11.What kind of marks cannot be registered?
The following marks cannot be registered:
Ø  marks that describe value, quantity, quality, or intended purpose of the goods or services;
Ø  marks that are deceptive;
Ø  marks that are contrary to public order or morality;
Ø  marks that consist of armorial bearings, flags and other emblems or official signs of States or international intergovernmental organizations;
Ø  marks of such a nature as to infringe rights acquired by third parties in the country where protection is claimed (for example: marks that are identical or similar to earlier marks for identical or similar goods or services; or marks that are identical or similar to well-known marks).
Ø  A certification mark is a sign used to distinguish goods or services that comply with a set of standards defined by the owner of the certification mark (such as material, mode of manufacture and quality). They may be used by anyone whose goods or services meet these established standards.
 
12. What is a collective mark?
A collective mark is a sign used to distinguish goods or services produced or provided by members of an association or group of traders. The association or group generally establishes a set of criteria for using the collective mark and permits others who are members of the association or the group to use the mark if they comply with those standards.
 
13.What do the symbols ® and TM mean?
® and TM are common symbols associated with trademarks, although their use is not a requirement and generally provides no special legal protection. The ® symbol is used once the trademark has been registered. The TM symbol denotes that a given sign is used by the holder as a trademark (whether this sign is the subject of a trademark application or not).
14.    Can I register a mark that sounds the same as an existing mark but looks different?
 
If you are trying to register a mark that sounds the same as a mark already registered for identical or similar goods or services for which the earlier mark is registered, it is likely that your mark will be considered as confusingly similar and be refused.

PATENT
1.     What is a Patent?
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem.  In order to be patentable, the invention must fulfill certain conditions.
2.     What does a Patent do?
A patent provides protection for the invention to the owner of the patent. The protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years. 
3.     What kind of Protection does a Patent offer?
Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or soldwithout the patent owner's consent. These patent rights are usually enforced in a court, which, in most systems, holds the authority to stop patent infringement. Conversely, a court can also declare a patent invalid upon a successful challenge by a third party. 
4.     What Rights does a Patent Owner have?
A patent owner has the right to decide who may - or may not - use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected. The patent owner may give permission to, or license, other parties to use the invention on mutually agreed terms. The owner may also sell the right to the invention to someone else, who will then become the new owner of the patent. Once a patent expires, the protection ends, and an invention enters the public domain, that is, the owner no longer holds exclusive rights to the invention, which becomes available to commercial exploitation by others. 
5.     Why are Patents necessary?
Patents provide incentives to individuals by offering them recognition for their creativity and material reward for their marketable inventions. These incentives encourage innovation, which assures that thequality of human life is continuously enhanced. 
6.     What Role do Patents Play in Everyday Life?
Patented inventions have, in fact, pervaded every aspect of human life, from electric lighting (patents held by Edison and Swan) and plastic (patents held by Baekeland), to ballpoint pens (patents held by Biro) and microprocessors (patents held by Intel, for example).
All patent owners are obliged, in return for patent protection, to publicly disclose information on their invention in order to enrich the total body of technical knowledge in the world. Such an ever-increasing body of public knowledge promotes further creativity and innovation in others. In this way, patents provide not only protection for the owner but valuable information and inspiration for future generations of researchers and inventors. 
7.     How is a Patent Granted?
The first step in securing a patent is the filing of a patent application. The patent application generally contains the title of the invention, as well as an indication of its technical field; it must include thebackground and a description of the invention, in clear language and enough detail that an individual with an average understanding of the field could use or reproduce the invention. Such descriptions are usually accompanied by visual materials such as drawings, plans, or diagrams to better describe the invention. The application also contains various "claims", that is, information which determines the extent of protection granted by the patent. 
8.     What kinds of Inventions can be Protected?
An invention must, in general, fulfill the following conditions to be protected by a patent. It must be ofpractical use; it must show an element of novelty, that is, some new characteristic which is not known in the body of existing knowledge in its technical field. This body of existing knowledge is called " prior art". The invention must show an inventive step which could not be deduced by a person with average knowledge of the technical field. Finally, its subject matter must be accepted as "patentable" under law. In many countries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, plant or animal varieties, discoveries of natural substances, commercial methods, or methods for medical treatment (as opposed to medical products) are generally not patentable.
9.     Who grants Patents?
A patent is granted by a national patent office or by a regional office that does the work for a number of countries, such as the European Patent Office and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization. Under such regional systems, an applicant requests protection for the invention in one or more countries, and each country decides as to whether to offer patent protection within its borders. The WIPO-administered Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) provides for the filing of a single international patent application which has the same effect as national applications filed in the designated countries. An applicant seeking protection may file one application and request protection in as many signatory states as needed.
10.How can a patent be obtained worldwide?
At present, no world patents or international patents exist.
In general, an application for a patent must be filed, and a patent shall be granted and enforced, in each country in which you seek patent protection for your invention, in accordance with the law of that country. In some regions, a regional patent office, for example, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), accepts regional patent applications, or grants patents, which have the same effect as applications filed, or patents granted, in the member States of that region.
Further, any resident or national of a Contracting State of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) may file an international application under the PCT. A single international patent application has the same effect as national applications filed in each designated Contracting State of the PCT. However, under the PCT system, in order to obtain patent protection in the designated States, a patent shall be granted by each designated State to the claimed invention contained in the international application.
Procedural and substantive requirements for the grant of patents as well as the amount of fees required are different from one country/region to the other. It is therefore recommend that you consult a practicing lawyer who is specialized in intellectual property or the intellectual property offices of those countries in which you are interested to get protection.
11.Can I obtain a patent for my software-related invention?
Procedural and substantive requirements for the grant of patents are different from one country/region to the other. In particular, practices and case law regarding the patentability of software-related inventions vary significantly in different countries. For example, in some countries, inventions within the meaning of patent law must have a technical character and software as such is not considered a patentable invention, while in others, such requirements do not exist, so that software is generally patentable subject matter.
On the other hand, computer programs may be protected under copyright. However, according to a well-established principle, copyright protection extends only to expressions, not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such.
12.Can I discuss the details of my invention with a potential investor before filing a patent application?
It is important to file a patent application before publicly disclosing the details of the invention. In general, any invention which is made public before an application is filed would be considered prior art (although the definition of the term "prior art" is not unified at the international level, in many countries, it consists of any information which has been made available to the public anywhere in the world by written or oral disclosure). In countries which apply the above definition of the term "prior art", the applicant's public disclosure of the invention prior to filing a patent application would prevent him/her from obtaining a valid patent for that invention, since such invention would not comply with the novelty requirement. Some countries, however, allow for a grace period, which provides a safeguard for applicants who disclosed their inventions before filing a patent application, and the novelty criteria may be interpreted differently depending on the applicable law.
If it is inevitable to disclose your invention to, for example, a potential investor or a business partner, before filing a patent application, such a disclosure should be accompanied by a confidentiality agreement.

INDUSTRIAL DESIGN
1.     Definition of an industrial design.
An industrial design is the external appearance of an article or part thereof formed from the lines, curves, colors, shapes, textures and/or materials of the article itself and/or its decoration.
An article is any item of industrial or craft production, including elements for assembly into a composite article, packaging, decoration, graphical symbols or typefaces but not including computer programs; a composite article is an article consisting of a number of elements which can be replaced by dismantling and reassembly of the article.
2.     What is an industrial drawing and an industrial design?
The industrial drawing is characterized by the graphical- linear proportion of the elements and it effectively has no volume, for example: the external appearance of the carpet, woven fabric, kerchief, embroidery.
An industrial design is a composition, constituted on a three-dimensional structure, for example, the external appearance of a car, lathe, lustre, etc.
3.     What is a registered industrial design?
Any industrial design protected according to the Law No.161/2007, on the basis of an application for registration filed via the national or international root.
4.     What is an unregistered industrial design?
An industrial design protected according to Law No. 161/2007 without filing an application for registration.
5.     What are the requirements for the protection of industrial designs?
Protection shall be ensured for an industrial design only if it is new and has an individual character.
6.     Non-protectable industrial designs.
Protection shall not be granted to the following designs:
o   defined only by its technical function;
o   necessary to be reproduced in exactly the same form and dimensions, so that the article embodying or using the industrial design may be mechanically joined to, or housed in, around or on, some other article, in order for each of the articles to fulfil its function;
o   infringes ordre public or accepted moral standards.
 
7.     What is an application for registration of an industrial design?
Such application shall include:
o   a standard form, approved by AGEPI, by which the applicant requests the registration of the industrial design;
o   graphical representations of the industrial design.
      The following documents shall be annexed to the application:
o   a description of the industrial design, where necessary;
o   a certificate of power of attorney, if the application is filed through a patent attorney or other representative;
o   documents certifying the priority of the industrial design, where priority is claimed;
o   assignment contract confirming that the applicant has the right to claim priority in relation to the first application according to Article 41 of Law No. 161/2007 on the protection of industrial designs;
o   letter of consent, if applicable;
o   payment proof of the prescribed fees.
The application and documents enclosed thereto shall be completed in Romanian.
8.     Is it possible to register more industrial designs with a single application?
Yes, it is. A multiple application may comprise more industrial designs to be included in the same category of goods, according to the international classification of industrial designs. A simple application includes only one industrial design. A multiple application includes from 2 to 100 industrial designs.
9.     What are the stages of examination of an application for the registration of an industrial design?
o   Examination of the application and the accompanying materials for compliance with the formal filing requirements within 2 months from the application filing date.
o   Substantive examination of the application within 4 months from the date the period for observations and oppositions expires.
10.What are the rights of the owner of a registered industrial design?
In the case of a registered industrial design, the right holder shall enjoy the exclusive right to use the industrial design and to prohibit any third party from using it without the right holder’s consent. Use shall mean, inter alia, manufacture, offering for sale, release onto the market, import, export or use per se of the article embodying or using the industrial design, as well as storage of such an article for the aforementioned purposes.
11.What are the rights afforded by the unregistered industrial design?
In the case of an unregistered industrial design, the right holder may prohibit the third party to use the industrial design, only if the disputed use is a result of copying the protectable industrial design. The disputed use shall not be deemed a result of copying a protectable industrial design if it is the result of the independent creation of an author who can reliably establish that he/she was unfamiliar with the industrial design disclosed by the right holder.
Use shall mean, inter alia, manufacture, offering for sale, release onto the market, import, export or use per se of the article embodying or using the industrial design, as well as storage of such an article for the aforementioned purposes.
 
 
12.How may be transferred the rights derived from the registration of an industrial design?
The rights may be transferred in whole or in part by:
o   assignment;
o   licensing contract (exclusive or non-exclusive);
o   succession (legal or testamentary succession).
 
13.What are the rights of the author?
The natural person who produced the industrial design through his/her creative labour shall be recognized as its author. In the case of a registered industrial design, the author shall have the right to be named as such in the Agency’s procedural documents, in the Register of applications for registration of industrial designs and in the Register of registered industrial designs, as well as in the registration certificate. Also, the author shall have the right to decline to have his/her name entered in the Agency’s procedural documents, the Register of applications for registration of industrial designs, the Register of registered industrial designs or the registration certificate, or to cancel the records in these registers and the registration certificate.
14.What are the means to challenge the registration of an industrial design?
For three months following the date of publication of the application for registration in BOPI, third parties may submit to the Agency in writing, free of charge, reasoned observations concerning the registration of the industrial design. An objection shall be deemed to have been submitted only once a fee has been paid.
15.What are the means to challenge the decisions on the registration of an industrial design?
Appeals against decisions concerning applications for the registration of industrial designs may be filed with the AGEPI Appeal Board, which is competent to conduct extrajudicial investigation of intellectual property disputes. Appeals shall be submitted by interested parties within two months of the date of issue of the decision or by third parties within 30 days of the information being published. An appeal shall be made in writing and include the grounds for the appeal; it shall be deemed to have been submitted on payment of a fee.
16.What is the duration of protection for an industrial design?
A registered industrial design shall be protected for five years from the filing date of the application. A registration certificate may be renewed for several periods of five years each, up to a total of 25 years from the filing date of the application.
An unregistered industrial design shall be protected from the date on which it was first disclosed in the Republic of Moldova.
17.May the industrial designs be marked with a special sign?
The owner of the certificate may apply on the product a warning mark consisting in letter D, encircled, accompanied by the name of the owner or the number of the certificate.
 
18.May I tell other persons about the industrial designs I created?
In the case of a registered industrial design, disclosure shall not be taken into account, if the industrial design for which protection is requested has been disclosed within 12 months prior to the filing date of the application for registration or, if priority is claimed, the date of priority, by its author, the author’s successor or a third party.
19.Is it possible to register an industrial design abroad?
The registration abroad may be done by an application filed directly with the IP office of the respective state or through the Hague Agreement to which the Republic of Moldova is a party.
 
COPYRIGHT
1.     What rights does copyright provide?
The original creators of works protected by copyright, and their heirs, have certain basic rights. They hold the exclusive right to use or authorize others to use the work on agreed terms. The creator of a work can prohibit or authorize:
Ø  its reproduction in various forms, such as printed publication or sound recording;
Ø  its public performance, as in a play or musical work;
Ø  recordings of it, for example, in the form of compact discs, cassettes or videotapes;
Ø  its broadcasting, by radio, cable or satellite;
Ø  its translation into other languages, or its adaptation, such as a novel into a screenplay.
Many creative works protected by copyright require mass distribution, communication and financial investment for their dissemination (for example, publications, sound recordings and films); hence, creators often sell the rights to their works to individuals or companies best able to market the works in return for payment. These payments are often made dependent on the actual use of the work, and are then referred to as royalties.
These economic rights have a time limit, according to the relevant WIPO treaties, of 50 years after the creator's death. National law may establish longer time-limits. This limit enables both creators and their heirs to benefit financially for a reasonable period of time. Copyright protection also includes moral rights, which involve the right to claim authorship of a work, and the right to oppose changes to it that could harm the creator's reputation.
The creator - or the owner of the copyright in a work - can enforce rights administratively and in the courts, by inspection of premises for evidence of production or possession of illegally made - "pirated" - goods related to protected works. The owner may obtain court orders to stop such  activities, as well as seek damages for loss of financial rewards and recognition.
2.      Are ideas, methods or concepts protected by copyright?
Copyright protection extends only to expressions, and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such.
3.      What are rights related to copyright?
A field of rights related to copyright has rapidly developed over the last 50 years. These related rights grew up around copyrighted works, and provide similar, although often more limited and of shorter duration, rights to:
Ø  performing artists (such as actors and musicians) in their performances;
Ø  producers of sound recordings (for example, cassette recordings and compact discs) in their recordings;
Ø  broadcasting organizations in their radio and television programs.
 
 
4.     Why protect copyright?
Copyright and its related rights are essential to human creativity, by giving creators incentives in the form of recognition and fair economic rewards. Under this system of rights, creators are assured that their works can be disseminated without fear of unauthorized copying or piracy. This in turn helps increase access to and enhances the enjoyment of culture, knowledge, and entertainment all over the world.
5.     Do you need to register to be protected?
Copyright itself does not depend on official procedures. A created work is considered protected by copyright as soon as it exists.
6.     How do I get permission to use somebody else's work and other subject matters?
You can contact the right owner.
7.     How much of someone else's work can I use without getting permission?
Under most national copyright laws, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work, including quotes, for purposes such as news reporting and private personal use.
8.      Is a television format protected by copyright?
Broadcasting organizations are protected as holders of related rights under the International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations. Broadcast content as such, as opposed to broadcast signals, can also be protected by copyright and related rights, depending on the national legislation. Television formats, however, have not been discussed at WIPO as subject of a separate international protection. 
9.     Is a character protected by copyright?
A character could be protected under copyright if it is an original expression of an author. Merchandising items such as toys, interactive games, books and clothing including characters can also be protected by intellectual property rights in certain circumstances, mainly copyright and trademarks, along with other areas of law.
10.Is a name, title, slogan or logo protected by copyright?
Copyright may or may not be available for titles, slogans, or logos, depending on whether they contain sufficient authorship. In most circumstances copyright does not protect names.