ECHR says TM applications are “property”

February 2007


In an important decision ( Anheuser-Busch v Portugal) the European Court of Human Rights have held that trade marks are a possession and therefore qualify for the purposes of the right to peaceful enjoyment of property (Article 1, Protocol 1, European Convention on Human Rights) saying the Court takes due note of the bundle of financial rights and interests that arise upon an application for the registration of a trade mark. It agrees with the Chamber that such applications may give rise to a variety of legal transactions, such as a sale or licence agreement for consideration, and possess – or are capable of possessing – a substantial financial value. See the IPKat at

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