Guide on the Trademark Claim Action

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The trademark claim allows its restitution to the legitimate owner

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Introduction to Trademark Law

Before going to explain the claim action in Trademark Law, we must refer to its legal regulation.

The Law 17/2001, of 7 December, of Brands (onwards, Trademark Law), currently includes the legal regime of distinctive signs, as one of the fields of industrial property, Following the necessary Community harmonization in the field of trademarks through the First Council Directive 89/104 / EEC, of 21 December 1988, Relating to the approximation of the laws of the Member States regarding trademarks. Our national legislation arises from the need to have its own national trademark registration system due to the requirements of the new Information Society.

Trademark Law is governed by a series of beginning:

The principle of priority

The right to the trademark originates through the effective use of said sign in economic and legal traffic, so that, for its usual use, ends up belonging to whoever did it for the first time to highlight their services or products in the market.

Declarative principle

The use of the distinctive sign is the method of acquisition that prevails in the trademark system, implying, therefore, that the inscription in the competent registry of the trademark does not have a constitutive value of the right to its use, but a declarative value. In case of discrepancies between the one who used it first and who registered it later, who has the right to the sign is the first.

Notoriety principle

As society evolved, trademark law also evolved, so it was no longer valid with its simple use in economic traffic as a purchasing method, but it was already necessary that its use was notorious, known to third parties, namely, that the sign was known in the market and to whom it belonged. This principle implies, not just broadcast, also recognition by third parties, namely, of consumers.

Registration principle

With the advancement of the trademark system, this principle causes, so that the right to the distinctive sign is born, about the brand, must be registered in the Registry. Only through registration, the owner of the trademark will have the exclusive right over it, preventing third parties from using it without the consent of the owner himself. With the registration, constitutive acquisition is imposed, regardless of the use that has been given to it or if it is notorious in economic traffic.

The Trademark Law set in your article 3, legitimation. states that "Natural or legal persons may obtain the registration of trademarks or trade names, including public law entities. (…) They may invoke the application for their benefit of the provisions of any international treaty that is applicable in Spain., as soon as it is directly applicable, in everything that is more favorable to them with respect to the provisions of this Law. "

It is also the article 2.1 de la misma Ley the one that states that "The property right over the trademark and the commercial name is acquired by the validly made registration (…)”.

Namely, the principle of registration is established in our legal system when proving the use of a distinctive sign, versus mere use. Although it is also true that, throughout the articles of the law, equates the principle of registration with that of notoriety, so both the article 6.2 as article 34.5 de la misma Ley, establish that the signs may not be used as trademarks "Unregistered trademarks that are well known", and puts the owner of the brand that is well known on the same level with the owner who has its registered trademark, giving the first a "Law prohibiting" same as the one with the second.

Ultimately, by the Trademark Law it is regulated and recognized, both the principle of registration and the principle of notoriety, so we are faced with a mixed system, although the acquisition of the trademark right arises when it is validly registered.

What is the claim action?

The article 2 Trademark Law, specifically, its second section, regulates the action reivindicatoria, establishing that “When the registration of a trademark has been requested with fraud of the rights of a third party or with violation of a legal or contractual obligation, the injured person may claim ownership of the trademark in court, if you exercise the appropriate Claim action prior to the registration date or within five years from its publication or from the moment the registered trademark had begun to be used in accordance with the provisions of article 39.

Submitted the claim, The Court will notify the presentation of the same to the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office for its annotation in the Trademark Registry and will decree, if it proceeds, the suspension of the trademark registration procedure. "

For his part, the third section prays that "If as a result of the sentence that resolves the claim there is a change in the ownership of the trademark, the licenses and other rights of third parties over the same will be extinguished by the registration of the new owner in the Trademark Registry, without prejudice to the right that assists them to claim from their transferor. "

Although the good faith of the person registering the trademark is presumed,  the claim action allows the user who did not register his distinctive sign, exercise said action against the owner of the trademark who has managed to register it in fraud of his right, in fraud of the rights of a third party or violating any legal or contractual obligation.

Therefore, There is not only the principle of registration as a means to acquire the right to the sign or the trademark, rather, through the claim action, the non-registered user of said distinctive sign is allowed to see their rights recognized and protected.

In fact, the Sentence of the 28th Section of the Provincial Court of Madrid of 14 January 2008 (nº of Resolution 6/2008) brought up the Supreme Court Decision, First Chamber, of 5 October 2007, which established that “It is true that the original birth of the right to the trademark is conditioned on the registration -article 3.1 Act 32/1988 [in the current Trademark Law, art. 2.1]-, but it should not be ignored that the claim is foreseen precisely for this type of extraregistral situations, as a means of protecting them in the event of a collision with a valid registration, that is sacrificed for the benefit of those. "

The Sentence of the 5th Section of the Provincial Court of Zaragoza of 11 December 2008 (nº of Resolution 681/2008) also established that "The claim action (…) It constitutes an exception to the general rule of constitutive effectiveness of the Registry, protecting the best right over the used sign, but lacking tabular existence, against trademark ownership registered in fraud of third parties.

Said conflict of interest is resolved by trademark law in favor of the third party, cuando quien accede al Registro y consigue para sí elius prohibendi”, does it fraudulently or in violation of legal or contractual regulations. Thus, the formal regularity of the Registry is sacrificed for the benefit of extra-registry values ​​that are considered to have a better right than the registrant (SAP Asturias, secc 1ª, of 21- December-2007 and STS-October 5- 2007).

El efecto del triunfo de esta acción llamada por algún sector doctrinalreivindicativa”, más quereivindicatoriaes la sustitución -en el sentido de subrogación- by the injured party in the legal position of the holder who illegally accesses the Registry (STS 25-febrero-2005).

For the exposed, it is easy to deduce that resulta innecesario que el accionante tenga que probar que la denominación que usa constituye “known trademark”, because the success of your thesis is not based on the notoriety of your brand, but in the “bad faith” del solicitante (STS 30 -May- 2005).

It is, al fin, to prove that whoever accessed the Registry acted fraudulently, in the same conceptual line that results from art. 4-4-g of the First Directive 89/104 / EEC of the Council of 21 December 1988, in order to define the regime of the relative prohibitions of registration. "

To be able to exercise the claim action, it is not necessary for the trademark or distinctive sign to be well known in economic or legal traffic.

Requirements of the claim action

There are several requirements to be able to exercise the claim action:


Doctrine and jurisprudence is not peaceful in this sense. There is discussion about whether the deadline should be prescription or expiration.

On the one hand, the doctrine considers that the five-year period is a statute of limitations, no expiration, Therefore, it may be interrupted in accordance with the provisions of art. 1973 CCivil, well consider complicated, as for the "dies a quo", the calculation of the term, if it was expired. It would also represent complexity if it were an expiration period when setting the day as the moment when the brand is started to be used effectively..

Conversely, the jurisprudence consider the period of five years to exercise the claim, as of expiration, appreciable trade.

In this sense, the Sentence of the 28th Section of the Provincial Court of Madrid of 7 November 2011 (nº of Resolution 356/2011) that "In relation to the expiration, tiene declarado el Supreme Court, among many, in its Sentencia núm. 999/1994 (Civil Division), of 10 November, that “moreover, es de tener en cuenta que (…) la caducidad o decadencia de derechos surge cuando la Ley o la voluntad de los particulares señalan un plazo fijo para la duración de un derecho, de tal modo que transcurrido no puede ser ya ejercitado, refiriéndose a las facultades o poderes jurídicos cuyo fin es promover un cambio de situación jurídica, nota característica que la diferencia de la prescripción, pues así como ésta tiene por finalidad la extinción de un derecho ante la razón objetiva de su no ejercicio por el titular, y a fin de evitar la inseguridad jurídica, en la caducidad se atiende sólo al hecho objetivo de la falta de ejercicio dentro del plazo prefijado, hasta el punto de que puede sostenerse en realidad que es de índole preclusiva, al tratarse de un plazo dentro del cual, y únicamente dentro de él, puede realizarse un acto con eficacia jurídica, de tal manera que transcurrido sin ejercitarlo impone la decadencia fatal y automática de tal derecho en razón meramente objetiva de su no utilización, y más en cuanto que los derechos o facultades jurídicas conceden a su titular la facultad o poder para provocar un efecto o modificación jurídica, con el fin de producir una consecuencia de tal índole en favor del sujeto y a cargo de otros, lo que puede tener lugar haciendo cesar un preexistente estado de derecho hasta el punto de que, ultimately, se es titular de la acción creadora y no del derecho creado, ya que para que surja éste es condición indispensable que se ponga en ejercicio en el plazo prefijado, pues si transcurre sin que la acción concedida se utilice desaparecen los derechos correspondientes, situación incluso apreciable de oficio en instancia, (…).”

Accredit the use of the sign previously

Es necesario que se acredite, por parte del que ejercita la acción reivindicatoria, que se ha hecho uso del signo anteriormente a su inscripción en el Registro, pues esta acción resulta de aplicación cuando es necesario proteger los derechos del usuario del signo, extra registral, no los del titular registral, pues este último puede ejercitar otras acciones legalmente reconocidas.

The Sentencia de la Sección 3ª de la Audiencia Provincial de Navarra de 10 December 2010 He established that “Conviene observar que la protección que dispensa a través de la acción reivindicatoria el art. 2.2 de la Ley de Marcas se articula sobre el uso extrarregistral del signo por parte de quien es perjudicado por la actuación fraudulenta del tercero que lo inscribe, de ahí que, a nuestro entender, tal uso pacífico del signo haya de serlo de buena fe, tanto en el sentido decriterio regulador del ejercicio de los derechos”, como en su dimensión de ignorancia de la existencia de vicios que afecten a su título, art. 433 CC y sentencia, among many, del TS de 5.3.1991 (RJ 1991, 1718), namely, el uso que encuentra amparo en el precepto marcario citado es aquel que tiene la condición de pacífico y realizado de buena fe en el sentido mencionado, tanto como la creencia en la plena legitimidad del uso que del signo se vaya haciendo.”

Prove that you are "injured person"

El usuario del signo ha de probar, as it established the art. 2.2 Trademark Law, que el perjuicio ha consistido en el fraude de sus derechos o con violación de una obligación legal o contractual. El perjuicio tiene que ser ese, no puede ser de otra naturaleza, pues sino, no se podría ejercitar la acción reivindicatoria (SAP Alicante, Sección 8ª de 27/04/2012).

The Sentencia de la Sección 15ª de la Audiencia Provincial de Barcelona, of 2 October 2008 (nº of Resolution 356/2008) said “El término fraude (manifestación del llamado fraus alterius, cuya fuerza expansiva se considera tradicionalmente que alcanza a la totalidad del acto o negocio -fraus omnia corrumpit- e impide que de él nadie obtenga ventaja -fraus nemini prodest-) se emplea en el article 2.2 Trademark Law en el sentido de acto dañoso ejecutado sin buena fe o, which is the same, con mala fe. It is, in the end, de un concepto de significado similar al que resulta del artículo 4.4.g de la Primera Directiva 89/104/CEE del Consejo de 21 December 1988, in order to define the regime of the relative prohibitions of registration. "

Prove that the registered trademark and the used trademark coincide in their distinctive part

Necessary, por parte del que ejercite la acción reivindicatoria, acreditar que la marca utilizada y la marca registrada coinciden de forma plena en su parte distintiva, aunque las SSTS 5/10/2007 and 30/07/2013 aclararon que no tienen por qué tener una identidad absoluta, sino que es suficiente la “identidad sustancial” para que la identidad existe jurídicamente.

Effects of the claim action

Cuando se estima la acción reivindicatoria planteada por la parte demandante, el titular registral tendrá que restituir la marca o el nombre comercial que fue registrado en fraude de los derechos del que usaba la marca. También se puede, subrogar en la posición jurídica del titular que accedió de forma ilícita al registro de la marca.

La acción reivindicatoria que se estima tendrá efectos declarativos, con la necesaria cesación por parte del que era titular registral del signo o marca reivindicados. Es posible que se imponga una multa coercitiva, as it established the art. 44 Trademark Law.


Cuando un usuario de un signo distintivo o una marca en el tráfico económico y jurídico lo pierde por registro de la marca por un tereceropuede ejercitarse la acción reivindicatoria. Esta permite al perjudicado subrogarse en la posición del tercero solicitante o titular registral de su signo distintivo (tercero de mala fe) recuperando la titularidad de la marca con todos sus derechos.

El que ejercite la acción reivindicatoria tiene que acreditar que el titular registral de la marca solicitó el registro “con fraude de los derechos de un tercero o con violación de una obligación legal o contractual”.

Esta acción podrá ser ejercitada, bien antes de la inscripción de la marca, namely, durante la solicitud de registro, o bien durante el plazo de cinco años siguientes a la fecha de publicación de la concesión. También en el plazo de cinco años desde que el signo distintivo o la marca hubiera sido utilizada, as it established the art. 39 Trademark Law.

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