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Page 6. “Intellectual Property in Denmark”


The system for the protection of intellectual property rights is well-developed in Denmark. Business names,  trademarks,  inventions  and  designs  can  be protected  against  competitors  by registration.  The intellectual  property  rights  mentioned  above  may often be licensed, however, there are no specific laws governing licensing.

Denmark  is  a  signatory  to  most  international  conventions regarding intellectual property rights.


Sanctions  for  the  infringement  of  intellectual  property rights would vary between different types of intellectual  property.  In  most  cases  infringements would  give  rise  to  both  criminal  and  civil  liability.

The means of preventing infringements in Denmark were  recently  improved  by  the  introduction  of  an act  which  confers  upon  the  holder  of  intellectual  property  rights  the  power  to  carry  out  civil  law searches  of  premises  (infringement  investigation), including  searches  for  counterfeit  goods,  in  order to secure evidence. If there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that someone has committed an infringement,  the  court  may  order  a  search  for  objects or documents deemed to be of importance to the  proceedings. This  enforcement  tool  is  valuable and unique to the rightful holder when enforcing his rights in Denmark.


A  patent  would  protect  technical  inventions  and provide its owner with the exclusive right to exploit the  invention  for  a  certain  time.  Patents  would  be protected against competitors by registration.

The right to a patent would belong to the inventor or  his  successor(s)  in  title. The  Danish  Patent  and Trademark Office may only grant patents upon application and registration. An application shall contain a full description of the invention, including any drawings, a claim of the invention that the applicant wants to protect and an abstract, etc. The Danish Patent and Trademark Office would conduct an initial formal examination of the application. The applicant would receive a preliminary finding from the Danish Patent and Trademark Office stating whether the invention may be patentable.

A patent may only be granted in respect of a new invention. The requirements in Denmark are the same as for European patents, i.e. they are based on the principle of absolute novelty. In general, the patent shall  be  granted  for  any  invention  which  could  be applied in industrial use, is new and would involve an inventive step. The maximum duration of a patent would be 20 years from the application date.


Trademarks would be protected against competitors by  registration  or  if  the  trademark  is  well-known among its users.

Exclusive protection of trademarks may be obtained either  by  registration  with  the  Danish   Patent  and Trademark  Office  or  by  the  proprietor  by  use.  It would normally take up to half a year to register a trademark. The requirements for making an application for the registration of a trademark would be as follows: a combination of words, letters or numerals, drawings, symbols, etc, a declaration of the goods or services and a list of the classes for which protection is required. The Danish Patent and Trademark Office would examine whether the application complies  with  formal  requirements,  such  as  classification,  the  trademark’s  distinctiveness  and  any  potential conflict with prior trademarks, names, trade names etc. Third parties could object to the application within two months from the day when the application was published. The duration of the protection would be indefinite but subject to renewal every 10 years. A trademark registration may be cancelled if the trademark has not been used for the last five years and the registrant is unable to show any valid reason for not having used the trademark.


The types of works that copyright would protect are literary works, e.g. novels, newspapers and computer programs and artistic works, e.g. paintings, drawings, photographs,  sculptures  and  works  of  architecture etc. Copyright is an unregistered right which is established  once  the  requirements  of  copyright  are fulfilled.

The protection of copyright would not depend upon formal procedures. The work would be protected by copyright as soon as it is created and is sufficiently  original. The  author’s  work  would  be  protected when  it  is  created.  The  author  may  assign  his  financial rights to his work but not his moral rights, which would always remain with the author. Copyright protection would normally last throughout the author’s lifetime plus 70 years. In respect of neighbouring rights, such as rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organisations, the protection would last for 50 years from the day of creation.


Protection could be available for products resulting from their aesthetic aspects or their ornamentation. A design refers to the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation.

The  registration  of  designs  would  normally  serve as  protection  against  competitors’  abuse.

Designs meeting certain requirements may also benefit from protection even without prior registration (unregistered Community Designs). A design would be protected by law to the extent that it is new and has an individual character.

An application for registration with the Danish Patent and Trademark Office should contain, inter alia, personal details about the applicant, an indication of the products in which the design is intended to be incorporated or to which it is intended to be applied, and illustrations of the design. Applicants would be permitted to combine multiple variations of the same design in a single application. The Patent and Trademark  Office  would  assess  whether  the  application complies with formal requirements. Apart from that, the Danish Patent and Trademark Office would only examine whether the design for which protection is sought falls within the definition of design and that it is not contrary to public policy or accepted principles  of  morality.  If  the  application  is  accepted,  it would be open to objection for two months.

Registered  designs  would  be  protected  for  5  years and  renewable  for  another  two  five-year  periods.

Denmark is a signatory to the Paris Convention and the Locarno Agreement.

Confidential information and trade secrets

Confidential information and trade secrets are governed  by  the  protection  of  the  Danish  Marketing Act, which prohibits abuse and disclosure of trade secrets and associated activities e.g. corporate espionage  and  unauthorised  commercial  use.  Corporate espionage  would  be  punishable  by  imprisonment, but  unauthorised  commercial  use  would  only  give rise to civil liability in the form of damages. The law does not, however, reduce the necessity of confidentiality agreements between business parties.

Page 6. “Intellectual Property in Denmark”

Read More. Go to:

  1. Establishing Business in Denmark
  2. Buying a Danish business
  3. Danish business with others
  4. Denmark Employment
  5. Property and Environment in Denmark
  6. Intellectual Property in Denmark
  7. Danish Business Environment
  8. Profit and tax in Denmark
  9. Denmark Company Liquidation
  10. Denmark company formation