Trademark Registration in Hungary

Companies use trademarks to distinguish themselves and their goods or services in the vast and challenging sea of competitive markets. Trademarks have become a symbol of quality and a tool to encapsulate value. By building on consumer confidence, they are a sign of a company’s goodwill and a means for building customer brand loyalty. Consumers come to emotionally connect with a product through its trademark. However, most companies are not aware that long-term use of a trademark is insufficient to legally protect the painstakingly developed, well-known brands and labels. Unfortunately, businesses often first take note of this issue when a competitor introduces a “copy” of the trademark to the market. In such situations, companies that have not taken the proper steps to protect their trademarks will find that their options to do battle against the perpetrators are limited and the process can be long and gruelling. Trademark registration protects brand value while building a strong customer base. By defining rights, registration can defend a company’s trademark against business competitors willing to counterfeit brands and commit fraud in an attempt to benefit from another company’s business success.

What can be registered?
Companies can register words, a combination of words – including personal names and slogans – letters, numbers (word trademark) as well as designs, graphics, flat or three-dimensional figures, including the shape of goods or packaging, colour, combination of colours, light signals, holograms, sounds as well as any combination of the above (figurative trademark).

Trademark protection grants its owner the exclusive right to use the trademark and transfer the right of use (licence). The registered person may enforce a trademark and take legal action against anybody who uses the trademark illegitimately or infringes the trademark.

Geographical reach of trademark protection – only Hungary?
Depending on where and how you register, rights arising from trademark protection can be limited to Hungary, although it is possible to have the trademark registered in other countries as well. If you conduct business in one or more countries you can register your trademark at a specific national office. If you do business in more than one country, which is a member of a regional trademark union, you can register to protect your trademark in the participating countries. In the EU, the community trademark (CTM) offers companies protection throughout the EU with a single registration. Thanks to the Madrid International Trademark Union, a single registration offers companies protection in 70 countries once the trademark has been registered with the appropriate Hungarian authorities.

Following we compare trademark registration in Hungary only and registration in the European Community:

Trademark registered solely in Hungary
Territorial scope: Hungary
Registration Authority: Hungarian Intellectual Property Office
Courts for enforcement: Hungarian courts
Duration of registration: 1-7 months, depending on the type of process
Costs of registration: at least HUF 74,800 depending on the type of process and number of classes
Length of protection: 10 years which can be renewed in 10-year intervals

Trademark registered in the European Union
Territorial scope:
EU member states
Registration Authority:
Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market
Courts for enforcement:
Court of the EU member state, in which the trademark was harmed
Duration of registration: at least 6-7 months
Costs of registration: at least EUR 900 depending on the type of process and number of classes
Length of protection: 10 years which can be renewed in 10-year intervals

 Rights arising from trademark protection
In the event of trademark infringement, the trademark proprietor may, depending on the circumstances, in addition to filing criminal and customs law claims, lodge a civil law claim to achieve the following:

  • a court decision to rule that trademark infringement has occurred;
  • a cessation of the trademark infringement or threat of infringement and inhibition of the perpetrator from further infringement;
  • disclosure of information on parties participating in the manufacture of and trade in goods or performance of services which infringe on the trademark, as well as any business connections related to the infringement;
  • amends for the infringement – by public announcement or in some other appropriate manner – and, if necessary, that such amends should be given due publicity by and at the expense of the perpetrator;
  • restitution of economic gains achieved through infringement of the trademark;
  • seizure of assets and materials used exclusively or primarily in the infringement of the trademark, as well as of the goods infringing on the trademark or their packaging, or demand that they are delivered to a particular person, recalled and definitively withdrawn from commercial circulation, or destroyed;
  • compensation for damages in accordance with the provisions of civil liability.