Austria is one of the 12 richest countries in the world in terms of GDP (Gross domestic product) per capita, has a well-developed social market economy, and a high standard of living. Until the 1980s, many of Austria's largest industry firms were nationalised; in recent years, however, privatisation has reduced state holdings to a level comparable to other European economies. Labour movements are particularly strong in Austria and have large influence on labour politics. Next to a highly-developed industry, international tourism is the most important part of the national economy.
Who May Apply?
Every individual or legal entity may apply for trademark registration in
Austria. The applicant who has neither domestic residence nor
place of business in Austria has to be represented either by an
Austrian attorney at law, patent attorney, or notary. If the domestic
residence or place of business of the applicant is located in the EEA,
the appointment of a representative for service having a residence in
Austria is sufficient.
What Can Be Registered?
Any mark may be registered if capable of being represented graphically,
including personal names, designs, letters, numerals, and the
shape of goods or their packaging, provided it is distinctive and is not
excluded from registration for any other reason specified in the
What Cannot Be Registered?
Signs or marks may not be registered if they:
(1) consist exclusively of:
(a) state coats of arms, national flags, or other national
(b) official test or guarantee signs used in Austria or in a foreign
(c) signs of international organizations;
(2) otherwise are not allowed by law;
(3) are not distinctive;
(4) consist exclusively of signs or indications that may serve to designate
the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value,
geographical origin, or time of production or other characteristics
of the goods and/or services;
(5) consist exclusively of customary signs or indications for the
designation of the goods and/or services;
(6) consist exclusively of the shape;
(7) are contrary to public policy and good morals;
(8) contain or consist of a geographical indication in relation to
wines and spirits.
Registration shall be admissible in the above cases 3, 4, and 5 if the
sign has acquired a distinctive character in the trade concerned due
to the use of the sign prior to the application.
Protection for well-known marks
The proprietor of a well-known mark is also able to prevent third
parties from using an identical or similar sign in relation to goods and
services not similar to those for which the well-known mark is
registered, provided the use of that sign takes unfair advantage of or
is detrimental to the distinctive character or the repute of the wellknown
A trademark does not entitle its owner to prohibit a third party
from using the trademark in relation to goods that have been put on
the market in the EEA under the trademark with the owner's consent.
The Trademarks Act also provides for the right of the authorized
person to prohibit the unauthorized use of the name, the firm name,
or the special designation of the undertaking for designating goods or
The following has to be submitted when filing a trademark
(1) application in written form containing the name and address of
the applicant andlor the representative;
(2) representation of the sign if the trademark consists only of
figures, letters or words having no pictorial design and claiming
no specific form; otherwise, a reproduction of the mark (20 prints
within the format of 8 x 8 cm). Sound trademarks require an
acoustic presentation of the mark in a musical notation or by
means of a sonogram together with a tonal presentation of the
trademark on a data carrier;
(3) specification of the goods andlor services;
(4) optional: Priority claim, to be submitted to the Patent Office within two months after the application was filed. Such claim
should state the country, date, and application number of the
(5) if the mark is a collective mark, the bylaws of the association;
(6) payment of application fees.
Evaluation & Review
The Patent Office examines trademark applications for their compliance
with the law and carries out a search for identical or potentially
similar marks registered for goods or services in the same class. The
search protocol is provided to the applicant in the course of the application
proceedings. However, this notification does not affect the
evaluation of the scope of protection of the respective sign.
The protection of a trademark expires 10 years after the end of the
month during which the trademark was registered. Renewal can be
accomplished by payment of the renewal fee not earlier than one year
before and not later than six months after the end of the protection
Anyone can apply for cancellation of a trademark if it was not
genuinely used for the goods andlor services for which it is registered
within a period of five years prior to the cancellation application was
filed either by the proprietor or by a third party with the proprietor's
consent, unless the nonuse can be justified. Unless nonuse is justified,
the owner of the mark must provide evidence of use of the trademark.
consistent with the owner's registration. When a trademark is used,
only the nondistinctive elements of the trademark may vary from the
form in which it was registered.
Domain names in Austria are registered without examination of
conflicting prior rights on the basis of the "first come, first serve" rule.
Domain names are protected by law according to established court
practice provided the domain name is distinctive or has the character
of a name. Infringements of a domain name therefore can be pursued
in the same way as the infringement of the denomination of a business
or a name.
Intentional trademark infringement can be pursued under both
criminal law or before civil law courts.
Claims under criminal law: Criminal remedies include: conviction of the accused, destruction of the infringing goods, and publication of
the Court's decision at the expense of the infringer.
Claims under civil law: Civil remedies include: cease and desist
orders that also can be claimed in the course of a provisional injunction;
destruction of the infringing goods; forfeiture of accounts,
compensation (in cases of culpable trademark infringement, instead of
compensation the infringed may demand damages including the lost
profit or transfer of the profit produced by the trademark infringement);
irrespective of proof of damage double compensation my be
claimed in cases of trademark infringement based on gross negligence
or intent; publication of the Court's decision at the expense of the