Trade and Service Marks

– Law on the Protection of Trademarks No. 38-XVI, published on June 6, 2008, in force since September 6, 2008, and as amended on July 30, 2015.

Membership in International Conventions

– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since December 25, 1991.
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since December 25, 1991.
– Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, since December 25, 1991.
– Trademark Law Treaty, since August 1, 1996.
– Madrid Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement, since December 1, 1997.
– Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks, since December 1, 1997.
– Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks, December 1, 1997.
– Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration, since April 5, 2001.
– Madrid Agreement for the Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source on Goods, since April 5, 2001.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since July 26, 2001.
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since March 16, 2007.
– Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, since March 16, 2009.

Filing

Applicant: individuals or legal entities. Foreigners: enjoy same rights as nationals, must appoint an attorney. Kinds of protection: trademarks and service marks; may consist of any sign capable of being represented graphically, particularly words, including personal names, letters, numerals, designs, color combinations, figurative elements, three-dimensional representations, the shape of goods of their packaging and combination thereof. Collective and certification marks: are registrable. Not registrable: signs which cannot constitute a trademark; trademarks, which are devoid of any distinctive character; trademarks consisting exclusively of signs of eulogistic nature; trademarks, which consist exclusively of signs or indications, which may serve in trade to designate the kind, quality, intended purpose, value, geographical origin, the time of production of the goods or rendering of the service; trademarks, which consist exclusively of the shape resulting from the nature of the goods themselves; trademarks, which are contrary to public order or morality; trademarks, which reproduce or imitate coats of arms, emblems and flags, official or historical names of states or abbreviations thereof, abbreviated and full names of international and intergovernmental organizations, official control, guarantee marks and test marks, stamps, seals, and religious symbols. The protection cannot be granted for trademarks identical or similar to earlier registered trademarks (or applications) in the Republic of Moldova or protected in accordance with International Treaties by another person. The protection cannot be granted without the appropriate consent for: titles of well-known works of literature, science and art, surnames, pseudonyms and derivatives thereof, portraits, facsimiles. Priorities: Conventional priority may be derived from any application in a Convention country; priority term is six months. Exhibition priority can be claimed; priority term is six months from the date of first display. Electronic filing: available. Classification: the International Classification. One single application may cover several classes without limitation upon payment of additional fees (from 2nd class). Territory covered: the Republic of Moldova.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney (no legalization);
2. 8 prints of the sign to be protected (8 x 8 cm) (none for word marks);
3. List of goods and services, according to the International Classification;
4. Priority documents, if any (to be filed within three months from the filing date);
5. For collective marks: statute of the collective mark;
6. For certification marks: statute of the certification mark.

Examination, Procedure

Examination: a formal examination and a complete examination as to conflicting prior rights. The formal examination is carried out one month after the filing date. The Agency checks the compliance with the conditions for filing the application, assigns the filing date and enters the information concerning the application in the National Trademarks Register. During the next month the Agency checks the conformity of the application with other conditions of filing. Publication: in case of compliance with the filing conditions, the information on the application is published in the Official Bulletin of Industrial Property within three months from the filing date. Oppositions: within a period of three months after the publication of the mark, an owner of a prior trademark or prior application may file an opposition against the registration. The opposition is to be based on relative grounds for refusal, namely: identical or similar marks, goods or services; the trademark has been applied for by an agent or representative of the owner without the owner’s permission; the rights stemming from a designation used commercially were obtained prior to the filing date of the application; harm is caused to a previous right, in particular the right in a name, right in an image, copyright, right in a protectable geographical indication or appellation of origin, a protectable industrial design. Within one month after the filing date of the opposition, the opposer can submit additional evidence in support of the opposition. Within a further two-month period, the applicant may file observations replying to the opposition. If the older mark, on which the opposition is based, was registered more than five years ago and the applicant disputes use of this mark, the opponent has the onus of proving use of the older mark within the last five years before the publication of the registration. The complete examination is carried out within six months from the publication date. Amendments and corrections: the applicant has the right to add, specify or make amendments to the application documents, but so that the amendments do not modify essentially the mark and do not extend the list of goods and/or services. The amendments of the application documents are carried out upon the payment of the established fees, except when the procedure is claimed within a month from the filing date. Appeal: the decision on the application for trademark registration can be appealed by parties within two months from the receipt date of the decision. Third parties who become aware of the trademark registration can file an appeal in the period from the date of decision making until the date of the trademark registration. The decision of the Board of Appeals can be appealed before the court. Disclaimers: available. Letters of consent: can be accepted, except for the letters of consent for identical trademarks applied for identical goods and/or services.

Granting, Protection

Registration: the Agency makes the decision of registration after the payment of the registration fee, if according to the results of the Examination Commission, it is established that the conditions of registration are met and no opposition against the registration has been filed or the oppositions have been rejected. Delivery of document: immediately after registration. Beginning of protection: date of registration. Duration: ten years. Renewal: for further ten-year periods. Renewal must be applied for within the last six months before expiration. Grace period: six months after expiry, with a surtax of 50%. Exclusive right: the exclusive right to use the registered trademark belongs to its owner.  The exclusive right in the trademark shall be valid for third parties from the date of publication of the decision of trademark registration in the Official Bulletin of Industrial Property. Obligation to use: compulsory; any registered trademark not used during five consecutive years after registration may be annulled upon request by third party. Assignments: must be registered; may be for only a part of the goods or services; not recognized if it leads to confusion in respect to the goods or the place of origin of its manufacturer. Licenses: exclusive and non-exclusive licenses can be granted for all or some of the goods and services. A license agreement must be in the form of a written contract registered at the Agency.

Modification of Protection after Registration

Rights of prior user: not provided for. Nullification: any person concerned may, during the entire period of validity, object and file an appeal against a trademark registration if the required conditions for registration are not fulfilled, or if the applicant has acted unfairly at the moment of filing the application.