Distinctive signs are principally governed by the Trademark Act (17/2001), which was partially modified by Royal Decree-Law 23/2018 in order to incorporate the EU Trademarks Directive (2015/2436), and it is complemented by Royal Decree 687/2002, which was also modified by Royal Decree 306/2019 in order to adapt to the Trademark Act as amended.

Royal Decree-Law 23/2018 has been approved to be processed by an urgent procedure as a bill, to allow for possible modifications. It mainly entered into force on 14 January 2019. The outstanding part will take effect on 14 January 2023.

Civil actions for trademark infringement are comprehensively covered in the Trademark Act, while criminal actions for infringement are defined in Book II(XIII)(11)(2) of the Criminal Code.


At an international level, the Trademark Act has adapted Spanish law to the general legal framework established within the international community. In particular, the following international treaties have been integrated into Spanish law:

  • the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property;
  • the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (Madrid Agreement (1891) and Madrid Protocol (1989));
  • the Nice Agreement on the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Registration of Marks;
  • the Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks;
  • the Trademark Law Treaty; and
  • the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

For further information on this topic please contact Sonia Santos or Jesús Arribas at Grau & Angulo by telephone (+34 93 202 34 56) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The Grau & Angulo website can be accessed at

This article first appeared in World Trademark Review Yearbook: A global guide for practitioners 2021/2022, a supplement to World Trademark Review, published by Law Business Research - IP Division. To view the guide in full, click here.