The Spanish legislation considers that property rights are to be protected by legislation and by other actions. These are not only exploitation rights, but also moral ones. The main bodies involved are the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce and the Ministry of Culture.
The legal protection of design is included in the Spanish industrial property protection. There are four types of industrial property right, each of them protecting different content:
- Industrial designs (protecting the external appearance of products), which is regulated by Law 20/2003 (July 7th) on the Legal Protection of Industrial Design.
- Trademarks and trade names – distinctive signs (protecting graphic and/or denominative combinations), which is regulated by Law 21/2001 (December 7th) on Trademarks. The new Trademarks Act (in accordance with the Royal Decree Law 23/2018) came into force in January 2019. This legal reform wanted to adapt the Spanish regulations to the Directive of the European Union.
- Patents and utility model (protecting inventions consisting of products and procedures susceptible to reproduction and reiteration), which is regulated by Law 24/2015 (July 24th) on Invention Patents.
- Semiconductor topographies (protecting the pathways making up an integrated circuit), which is regulated by Law 11/1988 (May 3rd) on the Legal Protection of the Topographies of Semiconductor Products.
The Spanish Patent and Trademark Office supervises the procedure and the protection granted by intellectual property rights across the country. The Strategic Plan 2017-2020 for Industrial Property recognises the importance of design and intellectual property within the knowledge economy and claims that intangible assets are to be a competitive factor for Spanish firms. The Plan proposes 27 measures to enhance the differentiation and economic return of the Spanish productive system based in the protection of intellectual property. The Plan was framed within the Strategy Europe 2020 for a new and sustainable economic model. The Plan involves the industry, commerce, education, promotion, training, research, justice and foreign affairs departments. The Office also promotes and collects educational and research initiatives for secondary and higher education students and for the industry.
There is an Intersectoral Commission in charge of acting against activities that violate intellectual property rights. The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Fiscal Affairs are responsible for prosecuting these cases. The Fiscal Agency (AT) reported that during 2017 the Department of Customs and Special Taxes intervened EU 3.1 million of counterfeits and fake products. If they would have reached the marked, the value would be around EU 60 million (an estimated 24 million in jewellery, 12 million in watches, 6 million in clothes and 4 million in sports shoes).
The European Union Intellectual Property Office is located in Alicante (Spain).