Safeguard your rightsIf you are to going to block counterfeiting, you must ensure that you have rights to what you have created. A single product may be protected by several types of rights.
Large investments are often required to develop products. By registering what distinguishes your products from those of others, you can show that you have sole commercial rights to what you have created.
What can be protected?
- Trademarks, for example name, logo and slogan
- Design, for example furniture, cars and product packaging
- Inventions, for example mechanical devices, electronics and medicines
- Artistic and literary works, for example books, music and film, as well as software and computer programs.
How do you obtain protection?
Trademark, design and patent protection
You must register your trademarks, designs and patents at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office if you wish to attain sole rights in Norway. The Norwegian Industrial Property Office is a government agency and a national centre for industrial property rights.
Trademark, design and patent protection is important in order to block piracy because:
- Your company gains sole right to commercial exploitation of the product
- Your company receives a certificate of registration making it simple to prove sole rights
- Your company can document its rights to the enforcement authorities, who have to intervene against those who are producing pirated goods
Registering your rights also offers many benefits, because it can:
- contribute to preventing conflicts
- strengthen competitiveness and improve the potential for earnings
- contribute to increased market shares
- enable you to sell or license your product
- make your company more attractive for partners and investors
You can read more about registration of patents, trademarks and designs on the Norwegian Industrial Property Office website.
Protection of rights abroad
Obtaining trademark, patent or design protection at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office gives you rights that apply in Norway. If you produce or sell products abroad, you should make a deliberate decision on how you wish to protect your rights.
If you wish to protect a trademark, patent or design in other countries, a basic principle is that you have to apply for registration through the individual country's national patent office.
However, there are systems that make it easier to apply for registration in more than one country. It may be simpler and cheaper to submit an international application for registration using the Madrid protocol for trademarks, or to apply for registration of an EU trademark.
On the Norwegian Industrial Property Office website you can also read more about the protection and registration of rights abroad.
You can also find tips on management of rights on the page "How to avoid being pirated".
Copyright for artistic and literary works arises when a work is created.
This means that it is not necessary for you to register copyright anywhere. You will automatically be protected under the Norwegian Copyright Act if you have created an artistic work, without needing to submit an application or pay a fee.
However, be aware that it can be a resource-demanding and often expensive process to prove that you have copyright in a work. It may ultimately be necessary for a court of law to settle the issue.
In Norway, the Ministry of Culture is responsible for legislation on copyright.
Clarification of copyright
If you wish to make use of a work that someone else has created, you must come to an agreement with the copyright holder personally or with a rights organisation that manages rights on behalf of rights holders.
The rights-holder organisations have their own website called Clara where you can read more about this.
It may be wise to protect the work in several ways
A work protected under copyright law does not rule out other forms of protection. You should therefore also consider patent, trademark and/or design protection for your firm's products. With this form of protection you will obtain a certificate of registration that can make it easier to document sole rights.
The Marketing Act also protects businesses against imitations.
Even if a product is not protected by trademark, design or patent legislation, an imitation of a product may contravene the Marketing Act.
The Marketing Act prohibits businesses from exploiting and imitating the efforts and results of others in such an unreasonable way as to potentially lead to confusion.
The imitation may also be a breach of good business practice between traders, even if the plagiarism does not necessarily lead to a danger of confusion.
Read more about the difference between piracy and illegal imitation.
Did you know that:
The Competition Board resolves many disputes between businesses on whether product imitations contravene the Marketing Act? Statements from the Competition Board are advisory and not legally binding, but serious businesses usually comply with these advisory statements.