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A trademark is a sign which distinguishes goods and services provided by an entrepreneur or a private from those similar or identical of other competitors.

Trademarks are words, logos or other distinctive features which can be represented graphically, including for example personal names, letters, numbers, the shape of a products or its packaging or colors, provided that such signs are capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one company from those of others.

Words and/or logos are perceived by consumers like a message of quality, identifying the origin of the products and services and of undertakings’ reliability.


Companies may use a specific trademark to identify all their products, a particular range of products or one specific type of product.

It is a rather common misconception to believe that by registering one's tradename at the Italian Chamber of Commerce such name would also be automatically protected as a trademark. If a trade name is used as a trademark, distinguishing the products of a company, it shall be registered at the competent Italian Trademark Office as a trademark.

Signs which may be registered as a trademark include the following:

word marks are trademarks including words, letters, numbers or combinations of letters, numbers and words;

figurative marks are those composed by signs represented in a particular graphic character;

complex trademarks are those composed by the combination of logos and words;

three-dimensional marks may be protected when a shape of product or packaging are suitable to indicate the origin of a product or service from a definite company;

sound marks are protected when sounds may be graphically represented;

olfactory signs are protected when sense of smell may be expressed by a chemical formula.

When a new word is sought after or is invented to identify a new product or service, it has to be considered whether it is fanciful or an arbitrary word having no relation to the product. In these cases trademarks will have strength and may easily be protected against imitations.

Collective trademarks are marks used to distinguish goods or services produced or provided by members of an association and guarantee the origin, quality or nature of specific products or services. They are generally owned by an association or cooperative which establishes a set of criteria for using the collective mark (e.g., quality standards) and permits individual companies to use the mark to market their products if they comply with such standards.

The Italian applications for the registration of a collective trademark have to enclose the Regulation explaining conditions for the collective trademark's use.

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