The new Spanish patent law has paved the way for protecting compositions or colors, including chemical products. The law, which came into force on April 1st 2017, is Law 24/2015, on Patents. In this post, we explain what it is and what you can do.

Protecting colors and compositions

The major new feature of the patent law is the possibility of registering compositions that may not meet one of the requirements for patentability, the inventive step. Now, a few issues should be noted. It is not a question of patenting the color itself, since a color cannot be considered for protection, as it does not offer a technical solution to a technical problem. Nevertheless, a paint that is obtained by mixing others, or from a chemical composition, can be patented, as long as it does not rely on pharmaceutical substances and compounds or biological material. To be able to be registered, it must be described completely and clearly in the invention, it must be new and have an inventive step, and, lastly, it must have an industrial application. 

According to the Office of Registration and Patents, you gain a right over a mark for the whole of it, without the symbols TM (Trademark) or R (Registered Trademark) being mandatory.  The former shows that it is a trademark, and the latter that it has been registered. For example, there will be no problem for a company to use the Cola-Cao red and yellow in its image, but there will be if it copies the typeface or the design as well as the colors. If the whole of it is plagiarized, that can lead to legal action. 

So, with the new law, if a color composition represents a brand, then it can be protected. You can register what is known as factory marks or trademarks. They are cataloged as a trademark color and can be used exclusively by the company that registered it in its own sector. For example, Tiffany’s turquoise is protected in the jewelry sector, but not in any other. 


Reasons for protecting a color

As a company that specializes in processing and managing patents all over the world,SHIP recommends that protection be given to colors and composition, especially if we are talking about brands with international power and a great potential for market penetration. You will undoubtedly know of “Klein blue”, one of the major colors that have been registered, and “Kodak yellow”, “Louboutin sole red”, and “Coca-Cola red”. These are colors that have been linked with their respective brands, and so are protected. 

In the specific case of “Klein blue”, Yves Klein decided to register it in the Enveloppe Soleau, which is similar to the Intellectual Property Register, but in France protects a technique. It was not a patent in the true sense of the word. The color is known as International Klein Blue (IKB), and what was registered was the formula for a paint. 


There are many reasons for patenting your creations. Companies like SHIP specialize in advising you and guiding you through the entire process. 




Europe’s largest IP Convention & Trade Fair offers a perfect opportunity to stay tuned for IP hot topics like the digitalization of IP, the unitary patent, IP Analytics as well as a systematic overview of all relevant Intellectual Property solution providers.

SHIP Global IP will be present at IP Service World for second year in a row.  The event will take place at the Convention & Trade Fair of Munich on November 27th and 28th.

Visit the SHIP Global IP team attending the event at booth IP54, located near the Forum 9-14 area.

Paco Martín, our IP Director, and Felix Donoso, Senior Account Manager will be more than glad to meet you and discuss how SHIP can help you reduce your IP.

If you want to pre-arrange a meeting during the event, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Patent translation is the key to internationalization.

A patent. Well already, just like that, the term inspires respect, and especially if the subject is the translation of patents.  In fact there is no lack of reasons because patents are complex technical documents that recognize the rights of the inventors, designers and creators to benefit exclusively from their inventions. What this means is that they guarantee that no other persons may benefit from selling their inventions. This is one way of protecting the industrial property or the intellectual property of the inventors. If a patent in itself already implies that the text we are going to read will be, not necessarily unwieldy, but certainly  involving complex syntax and very specialized terminology, now imagine that the text in such a patent is a translation. If the translator is not well versed in the subject or is not very skilled, the resulting gibberish may be impossible to understand.

Jurisdiction and intellectual property

One of the objectives of the inventors when they patent their innovations is to achieve the maximum internationalization of their patents. So that they can be protected in different countries, the original patent must be translated into the language of the jurisdiction in which the invention is going to be marketed. Such that  the translation is indispensable in order to obtain the certificate for the title of registration granted by the law in the relevant country.

But why is patent translation so important? In a global economy, intellectual property and industrial property are tools that ensure that companies remain competitive and in business. In order for these rights, which are essential in the development of companies, to be protected it is necessary to obtain the patent in the relevant jurisdiction. Such that, as well as the indispensable translation, we must also know the protocols, procedures and paperwork required to achieve the title of grant or registration that officially makes it the property of the applicant.

The translation of each  patent is a challenge in itself.

Direct, clear and concise language is exactly what patent translations require. In this type of translations, when we talk about a chemical product or a technological device it is essential that the translated word describes exactly what the original text states, so it is much more literal, without including cultural equivalents or approximations in the target language.

Taking into account the public the target patent is another indispensable task for a translator specializing in industrial property.  Such a translator must be not only a native speaker of the target language, but must also be an expert in the subject matter of the translation. She/he must know the technical vocabulary required to describe the invention with total reliability and it is essential that they are familiar with the formats required by the patent office in which the documents are going to be filed.

Technology is constantly evolving. The eagerness of many patent translators to be up to date in their areas of specialization makes some of them even become opinion leaders in such fields.

Consequences of an incorrect translation

An incorrect or low quality translation may restrict the scope or a patent and may have disastrous financial and legal consequences.  Unfortunately this is a fact, an inventor may achieve different levels of protection for a same patent depending on each country, not because they are granted under different patentability criteria, but because the translation of the patent claims may have included one or more errors, which may even make a patent ineligible for its most attractive potential market.

Ana Rojo, a well-known Associate Professor of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Murcia, states in her book “Step by Step: A Course in Contrastive Linguistics and Translation”, a case in which the European Patent Office granted a patent for cloning human cells, when the application only referred to animals.  The patent claims in German and French used specific terms (“tier” and “bête”, respectively), referring to animals, whereas the English translation included the term “animal”, which in English may also refer to humans.

Nevertheless, we must not forget that translation is an art, not a science.  It is more that likely that two experts working on a same document end up with translations with subtle differences.  One of the advantages of using a company with an internal service specialized in patent translation is the ease of communication with clients and the use of approved glossaries, thus ensuring consistent, reliable translations.  SHIP Global IP has an in-house multidisciplinary team of translators, proofreaders, linguists, lawyers and engineers.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

This treaty establishes a procedure for patent applications with validity in all the member countries. It is a service offered by the WIPO (World Industrial Property Organization). Via this procedure, the applicant achieves protection for a patent in up to 148 countries. The quality of the patent translation is very important. At SHIP we are aware that a PCT, once it has passed the national phase, can have its scope reduced or even be declared void by the different national offices if the translation is not correct.

European Patent Office

This application procedure is the European route for obtaining protection in the countries attached in the European Patent Convention. There are currently 38 member countries. Patents filed via this procedure must be filed in German, French or English. The advantage is that protection is achieved in all the countries of the Convention with a single application.

The translation of a patent is an essential phase in the management of intellectual property rights and here at SHIP we are very aware of that. This is why throughout our professional career we have developed an infrastructure based on the creation of a network of expert intellectual property agents and the development of a translation activity specialized in intellectual and industrial property, covering all industrial property services from A to Z, that is, throughout the entire life cycle of a patent.










The EU trademark reform is a relevant advancement in administrative practice. Its goal is to make the system more efficient, clearer and more harmonized.

Since October 1st, Regulation (EU) 2017/1001 of the European Parliament and the Council of June 14th,  2017 on  the European Union trademark has entered into full force.

This new regulation consolidates the most important changes in the regulation to date and is effectively adapted to the new challenges for “unconventional” trademarks, which are becoming increasingly common.

The most relevant modifications of the regulation to become effective this month are:

  1. The elimination of the requirement that the trademark have a graphical representation: starting on October 1st, rights over a trademark will always be over “what is seen” in the application as long as the representation is clear, accurate and complete in and of itself, easily accessible, intelligible, lasting, and objective. For some kinds of trademarks (position, for example) the Office recommends including a description, but this will no longer be mandatory. “Hologram”, “sound” or “multimedia” are perfectly (a priori) registrable as EU trademarks.  For example, in accordance with existing technology, MP3 and MP4 files will be accepted. 
  1. The European certification trademark is created. Until now, only member states had this trademark. Starting on October 1st, any non-natural person may own a trademark certifying the quality of the products and/or services they produce or market to third parties. This must always be established by drafting a use regulation to the effect. 
  1. Procedural changes will be applied to different aspects, such as: 
  • the demand for priority which, from now on, must always be made along with the submission of the application.
  • a trademark’s acquisition of distinctive character as a subsidiary or secondary pretension, which must be requested after the trademark’s date of submission.
  • geographical indications are considered a relative cause of action in oppositions and annulment proceedings.
  • provisions on opposition or cancellation proceedings are harmonized.
  • it will not be mandatory to translate proofs of use to the procedural language if the documents are in any of the official EU languages, unless this is expressly requested, etc.
  • the “hand delivery” and “in the Office’s mailbox” delivery options are eliminated.

 Part of this Regulation entered into force already on March 23rd, and included some changes:

  • The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) is the current name of what was until then known as the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM)
  • The name of the Office’s administrative trademark was changed from “community trademark” to “European Union trademark”.
  • The fee system applicable to the trademarks changed. Some amounts were reduced and the structure of the application fees was changed by eliminating the single fee for three classes.
  • Changes were also introduced into the examination proceedings, third-party observations, opposition, annulment and appeal.

Link to a video summarizing the main modifications




Patents are one of the most important elements in intellectual property rights and their development was extended during the second half of the 19th century, coinciding with a phase of economic development in which know how was increasingly valued.

Normally any creations by a company or a natural person can be registered, from songs, sheet music, books, prototypes or industrial products and trademarks. In this article we shall speak of the usefulness of patents from a company's perspective.


What is a patent good for?

Basically, patenting an industrial prototype or product guarantees that you and your company will have exclusive use thereof during a certain period of time or that, if you share it with other companies, these will have to pay you royalties.

From the point of view of company protection, large corporations have the habit of patenting any inventions that they think will bring them profit in the short or medium term. They thus ensure that they will receive remuneration for their invention for a certain number of years.

It is extremely important to indicate that, if an invention is not patented, the competition will have the right to use it freely, without having to make any kind of payment. In any case, and since laws are offering more and more guarantees, the organization responsible for processing the application must give a definitive response within a certain time and maintain the order of seniority.

The main offset to the exclusiveness obtained with a patent is the obligation to exploit the patent or utility model, either on your own or through some other authorized person, such that the invention is put in the service of society that, once the period of protection is over, may use it without restrictions.

Similarly, if the patent is not exploited or the corresponding annual payments are not met, the protection may expire and thus leave the inventor or the company unprotected.



Patent term varies according to the country, although in Spain it is fixed at 20 years. However, the inventor has the obligation of exploiting it before four years from the time in which they filed the application because otherwise it may expire and become part of the public domain.

There are exceptions that shorten this period, 15 years for utility models, or that extend it, such as for pharmaceuticals and pesticides, up to 5 years by applying for a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC).



There are several types of patents, according to the degree of territorial coverage offered. This way you could patent a product for a single country, for the European Union or worldwide.

Logically, and according to the territorial scope of the patent, the costs will be greater the more countries it covers. At SHIP we help you manage your patent throughout its entire life cycle, whether in the national or the international scope.



Nowadays, having patents for your company's inventions is critical for providing that competitive advantage that makes the difference on your competitors and that in the medium term will help improve the profits for your company.

It is not only about doing things right in terms of resource management, but also about offering something that the others don’t have, and patents allow exploiting a marketing bonanza for a certain time.