Trade and Service Marks

– Act No. 11 of 1997 on the Protection of Trade Marks and Geographical Indications, in force as of July 1, 1997; last comprehensive revision by Act No. LXVII of 2018 on modifying certain industrial property rights. The revised text is in force as of May 25, 2021.
– Council Regulation No. 2004/48/EC on Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights.
– Decree No. 16/2004 of the Minister of Justice on the Formal Requirements of the Applications for Trade Marks and Geographical Indications, effective as of May 1, 2004.
– Directive 2008/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of October 22, 2008, to approximate the laws of the member States relating to trademarks (actual text in force as of March 23, 2016).
– Government Decree No. 158/2009 (VII. 30.) on the procedure for the protection of geographical indications of agricultural products, foodstuffs and spirit drinks as well as the inspection of these products.
– Regulation (EU) 2017/1001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of June 14, 2017 on the European Union Trademark.
– Government Decree No. 435/2021 (VII. 16.) on official procedures and reporting obligations in the grape and wine sector (modified text is in force as of January 30, 2022).

Membership in International Conventions

– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act.
– Madrid Agreement for the International Registration of Marks, Stockholm Act.
– Madrid Agreement for the Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source on Goods, Stockholm Act, since June 5, 1934.
– Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration, Stockholm Act since October 31, 1973, and Geneva Act since September 10, 2021.
– Nice Agreement for the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks, Geneva Act, since March 23, 1967.
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since April 26, 1970.
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since January 18, 1973.
– Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks, signed since June 12, 1973.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since January 1, 1995.
– Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, (promulgated by Act LXXXIII of 1999), since October 3, 1997.
– Trademark Law Treaty, since November 26, 1998.
– European Union Trade Mark Regulation.

Filing

Applicant: any natural person, firm or other legal entity; joint ownership is possible. 

Legal representation: applicants not having residence in the European Economic Area (EEA) must be represented by a Hungarian authorized patent attorney or attorney-at-law or by a patent attorney or attorney-at-law authorized to practice in an EEA member State and registered for representation in Hungary.  

Registrable: any distinctive signs, particularly words, including combination of words including personal names, slogans, letters, numerals, designs, pictures, two- or three-dimensional devices, the shape of goods or packaging, color, color combinations, lights, holograms, sounds, movement, position, multimedia designations, patterns and the combinations of these, provided that such elements or combination of elements are capable of distinguishing the goods or services marked thereby from those of others. Note: due to the modifications of the Trademark Law, in effect as of January 1, 2019, the graphical representability of trademarks is no longer a criteria. In the case of filing trademark applications for letters and numerals, prior use is no longer a requirement. As regards the EU protection of geographical indications of agricultural products and foodstuffs, the provisions of Regulation 1151/2012/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council shall apply. The EU protection of the geographical indications of wine-sector products shall be governed by Regulation 1308/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, and the protection of the geographical indications of aromatized wine products shall be governed by Regulation 251/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council. 

Not registrable (absolute grounds for refusal and absolute cancellation grounds): if (1) the mark lacks distinctive character (in particular, the mark is descriptive or it results directly from the nature of the goods, e.g. the shape of goods, or it is just necessary for obtaining a given technical effect, or it represents the essential value of the goods); this ground for refusal shall not apply if the mark has acquired distinctive character in relation to the claimed goods/services through its use in Hungary, either before or after the priority of the application; (2) its use conflicts with public order or public morality; (3) it is capable of deceiving consumers with regard to any feature of the goods or services; (4) it was filed for registration in bad faith; (5) it consists exclusively of (a) a symbol of a state or an international organization or authority; (b) emblem, arm, official warranty or authentication sign of public interest; (c) strongly symbolic sign of religious or other belief which affects the overall impression of the sign; signs excluded due to (a) or (b) above may be registered with the consent of the competent organization or authority; (6) it comprises a registered Hungarian or EU geographical indication or designation of origin. Acquired distinctiveness can result in registrability. 

Relative grounds for refusal and relative cancellation grounds: if (1) in respect of identical or similar goods/services it is identical or confusingly similar to an earlier trademark covering identical or similar goods/services also including the likelihood of association; an earlier trademark not having complied with the provisions of the obligation of use shall not be considered as ground for refusal; (2) in respect of identical or different goods/services it is identical or confusingly similar to an earlier trademark having reputation in Hungary, provided that the use of the mark without foundation would be detrimental to the distinctive character or reputation of the earlier trademark having reputation, or took unfair advantage thereof; an earlier trademark not having complied with the provisions of the obligation of use shall not be considered as ground for refusal; (3) it would violate earlier personal/moral rights, in particular, in connection with the name or portrait of a third party; (4) it would conflict with an earlier IP right (copyright or industrial property right) of a third party; (5) a Hungarian or EU graphical indication or designation of origin which has been in use earlier in Hungary by a third party, provided that the use of the mark, without the consent of the earlier user, would conflict with legal provisions; (6) it has been filed for registration without the consent of the authorized owner by the representative or the agent, in his/its own name.  

Service marks: may be registered. The provisions relating to marks for goods in principle apply to service marks as well according to the Nice Classification.

Series marks: not provided for.

Priority: priority based on Paris Convention can be claimed with application and within two months thereafter.

Classification of goods and services: international, according to the latest edition of the Nice Classification. 

Multi-class applications: possible.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Name and address of applicant;
2. Clear and precise specification of goods and/or services (International Classification); if the full class heading is used, a statement shall be filed on the items for which protection is required;
3. Power of attorney, signed by the applicant (no legalization, late filing possible);
4. Representation of the mark (for device marks: 1 print, size: 5 x 6 cm – 10 x 12);
5. If priority is claimed, priority document must be filed within two months after filing date (no extension of term is possible).

Minimum requirements on filing date: name and address of the applicant, the mark and the list of goods and/or services.

Electronic filing: possible. 

Terms for filing the missing documents: see: “Patents“. Official application fee shall be paid within two months of the filing date.

Examination Procedure

Examination: formal and substantive examination (as to absolute grounds only) is effected. Following substantive examination publication in the Official Gazette, or even earlier as the file is promptly available through the public database.

Objections of the Registrar: are reported in official letters. 

Observations: on absolute grounds of refusal; can be filed by anybody. 

Opposition: provided for within three months from the publication date but on relative grounds only and by persons concerned by the cited prior right.

Amendments: in the claimed mark: not permitted; in the specification of goods: only limitation is permitted. 

Disputes about ownership: before the Metropolitan Tribunal (first instance). 

Secrecy: not provided for. 

Urgent examination and registration: possible; it has two different levels of urgency, and two different extra fees have to be paid. The request has to be filed within one month from the filing date. 

Provisional registration: not possible. 

Disclaimers: not available. 

Letters of consent: are accepted. 

Request of review: against the decisions of the Intellectual Property Office can be filed within thirty days before the Metropolitan Tribunal and a decision of the latter can be appealed to the Metropolitan Court of Appeal.

Registration, Protection

Delivery of registration certificate and publication: if no objection is raised or no opposition is filed, normally nine to twelve months from filing date. 

Duration of protection: ten years from filing date.

Renewal: possible indefinitely, for further ten-year periods; can be requested within twelve months before expiry. Renewal initiated after the expiry date shall be subject to the payment of an additional fee. Grace period: six months.

Rights of the owner: retroactive to the date of filing. The owner has absolute rights to use the trademark, to provide a license for its use and to start a legal action against any person who has used the trademark without his permission/license. 

Assignment: with or without goodwill of the business. No prescribed form. Assignment document needs no legalization. Both parties must sign.

License: can be registered.

Use: compulsory. Without use for five consecutive years, the registration can be attacked by third parties. Use of the trademark with the consent of the proprietor shall be deemed to constitute use by the owner. Use of a mark for only some of the goods or services is not sufficient to keep in force the mark for all the goods or services for which it is registered.

Nominal use: intensive advertising is likely to be accepted as valid use. 

Marking of registered goods: not compulsory. 

Text of marking: “®” or “Törv. védve”.  

Modification of registration: not allowed. Only the list of goods and/or services may be limited.

Modification of Protection after Registration

Cancellation: proceeding is possible before the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office based on either absolute grounds (at any time) or relative grounds (only within five years after registration).

Request of review: may be lodged within thirty days of issuance of the written decision before the Metropolitan Tribunal. The decisions of the Metropolitan Tribunal can then be appealed with the Metropolitan Court of Appeal within fifteen days from the issuance of the written decision.

Incontestability: in case of acquiescence by the trademark owner to the use of a later mark for a period of five years.

Stating termination due to lack of use or loss of distinctive character or liability to mislead: possible before the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office on the basis of non-use, loss of distinctive character, misleading character or extinction of the trademark owner without legal successor.

Infringement: the owner of a trademark may take civil and criminal proceedings before the Metropolitan Tribunal.

Infringement remedies: preliminary injunction (under specific conditions only), establishment of infringement occurred, cessation of infringement, public declaration of wrong indications, restitution, damages, seizure and destruction of infringing goods, and restitution of profit are all possible subject to petition.

Compulsory licenses: none.

Unfair competition law: provide more limited protection for marks or packaging that consumers identify as belonging to a competitor. 

Validation of invalidated mark: not provided for.  

Registration of a mark terminated due to expiration: possible, two years after expiry of the prior mark.

European Union Trademark (EUTM) Conversion

Applicant: the owner of a registered EUTM or an EUTM application, the holder of an international registration designating the EU, may request the conversion of his/her EUTM application or registered EUTM to a national mark. If not residing in the European Union, the applicant must appoint a patent attorney or attorney-at-law in the European Union.

Filing: the request for conversion must be filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which transfers it to the national Office.

Time limit: two months for payment of the fee; four months for filing the list of goods and the Hungarian translation of the EUTM application with enclosures.