A new Industrial Property Code, adopted by Decree-Law 36/2003, has been published in Portugal and will come in force on July 1 2003.

As stated in the preamble of the decree, an updated, modern and effective code has been introduced in order to implement the EU Biotech Directive (98/44/EC) and Design Directive (98/71/EC). In addition, the new code incorporates the rules of the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement signed within the framework of the World Trade Organization, of which Portugal has been a full member state since January 1996.

The new code has also taken into consideration the European Commission's most recent proposals on utility models.

It further incorporates the provisions of Decree-Law 106/99, which implements EU Regulations 1768/92 and 1610/96 on the creation of supplementary protection certificates for medicinal products and plant protection products respectively.

Additionally, the new code foresees:

  • the introduction of provisional protection for all industrial property rights, and the acceptance of industrial property certificates issued by international organizations in order to confer titles at a national level;

  • the principle of restitutio in integrum (ie, 'restitution to the original position'. If protection is revoked because the right holder has failed to observe a time limit, despite taking all due care, the right holder is entitled to request that its rights be re-established);

  • a legal framework for the topography of semiconductor products;

  • the possible registration of trademarks which are requested by a Portuguese resident, but which are composed of foreign expressions; and

  • the possible use of arbitration in certain circumstances

For further information on this topic please contact C├ęsar Bessa Monteiro at Abreu, Cardigos & Associados by telephone (+351 21 7231800) or by fax (+ 351 21 7231899) or by email ([email protected]).