What is a trademark?

A trademark may consist of any signs, provided that such signs are capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.

This is their principal function as provided in Article 4.1 of the Spanish Trademarks Law (Law 17/2001). But trademarks may have other functions:

  • Indicate the commercial origin of the product.
  • Be used as an advertisement.
  • Give information about the product.
  • Synthesize the prestige or the manufacturer's know-how.

On condition that the trademark can be represented in a manner which enables the competent authorities and the public to determine the clear and precise subject matter of the protection afforded to its proprietor, the sign can be composed of...

The combination of these signs allows companies to use different types of trademarks in their economic traffic:

  • Words and word combinations.
  • Images, designs, symbols and drawings.
  • Letters, numerals and their combinations.
  • Three-dimensional shapes, including wrapping, packaging and the shape of the product.
  • Sounds, if they can be reproduced, for example by a sound file.
  • A colour or combination of colours that have gained distinctiveness by use.
  • Any combination of the signs which are above-mentioned.

The combination of these signs allows a company to use different types of trademarks:

  • Denominative

Those trademarks consisting of combinations of letters and numbers or words.


  • Figurative

Those trademarks composed of graphic symbols, logos, drawings, etc.


  • Mixed

Those trademarks consisting of the combination of word and graphic elements.


  • Three-dimensional

Those trademarks that consist of a disposition of the graphic elements in three dimensions capable of being distinctive: packaging and wrapping, the shape of the product or its appearance, etc..


  • Sound

Those trademarks consisting of a succession of sounds capable of being distinctive with the ability to be reproduced, either through an audio file that reproduces the sound or by an exact representation in musical notation (pentagram). 


  • Position

Those trademarks that allow to protect the concrete placement of a sign on a product.


  • Pattern

Those trademarks consisting of the repetition of series of elements arranged on a regular basis.


  • Colour

Those trademarks that identify a reproduction of a colour or combinations of colours, based on chromatic reference systems, such as, for example, the RGB model, the RYB model or the Pantone's model.


  • Motion

Those trademarks that consist of a sequence of still images or video that represent the changes or movements of a trademark.


  • Multimedia

Those trademarks that consist of a combination of motion and sound trademarks, through an audiovisual representation.


  • Hologram

Those trademarks that consist of holographic elements of a trademark through different views, either through still images or video file without sound.