24 October 2016

Having a registered trademark in Hungary is essential if you want to differentiate your product or service from your competitors and protect your local market. If you are before Hungarian market entry, forming a Hungarian Limited Liability Company, who will be the owner of the trademark, makes this protection even more effective. In this article we summarise what can be registered as trademark, how the registration goes, and what are the benefits of a registered trademark.

trademark registration, HungaryWhat can be registered as a “trademark”?

Trade mark protection shall be granted for any signs capable of being represented graphically provided that these are capable of distinguishing goods or services from those of other undertakings that may be especially the followings:

  • words, combination of words, including personal names and slogans,
  • letters, numerals,
  • figures, pictures,
  • two- or three-dimensional forms, including the shape of goods or of their packaging,
  • colours, combination of colours, light signals, holograms,
  • sound signals, and
  • combination of the abovementioned.

Are there restrictions?

If the sign is too common and widely used, it cannot be registered as a trademark. For example it may not be registered if it is used to mark the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin or the time of production of the goods or of rendering of the service, or other characteristics of the goods or services, or which have become customary in the current language or in the practices of trade.

The trademark cannot be registered, if the sign consists exclusively of a shape which results from the nature of the goods themselves or which is necessary to obtain a technical result or which gives substantial value to the goods.

The trademark may not be registered either if it is contrary to public policy or to public morality, it is liable to deceive consumers as to the nature, quality, geographical origin or other characteristics of the goods or services, or its registration was applied for in bad faith.

How does the registration procedure start?

The procedure starts with an application that shall be handed in to the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office. The application shall contain the followings: indication that trademark protection is sought, information identifying the applicant, a representation of the sign and a list of goods or services that the applicant wishes to link to the trademark.

Legal representation in the registration procedure is not obligatory, but strongly advised, if the applicant wishes a smooth process.

How much and when should I pay?

The basic Hungarian trademark filing fee is 74 800 HUF that covers three classes of goods or services that can be linked to the trademark. If the applicant wishes to link more classes to the trademark, for the fourth and each additional class further 32 000 HUF per class shall be paid.

The applicant shall pay the registration fee in 2 months after handing in the application form.

If the applicant is advised by a law firm, the attorney’s fee shall be paid separately.

How long does the registration take?

The usual length of the procedure is about 7-9 months, but when the registration is ready, the certification is valid from the time when the application was handed in to the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office. The abovementioned period is an ideal estimated time, when no complication occurs.

What are the benefits of a registered trademark?

The trademark grants an exclusive right for the owner to use the sign for the marketing of his product or service, and thereby protects the product or service for 10 years, which is renewable. Based on the trademark protection no one is allowed to use the same or similar sign in the same domain without the permission of the right-holder.

In case someone infringes the trademark, by marketing similar products or services and using the similar signs, he can be sued before court. On request of the trademark owner, the court can order a variety of measures against the party infringing the registered trademark (the seizure of similar products, the surrender of the marketing of the goods, compensation for the damages caused, etc.).

Shall I form a Hungarian company for better protection?

If you are about to enter the Hungarian market, the answer is a definite yes. As a foreign business it is better of you form a Hungarian Limited Liability Company first, and register the trademark on behalf of the LLC second.

The Hungarian LLC, as holder of the trademark will be able to protect the product or service before Hungarian courts and other authorities more effectively than a foreign trademark holder.