Protection of intellectual property

Intellectual property is a person’s legal right for the results of their creative activity.

Intellectual property rights include:

  • copyright and copyright-related rights;
  • industrial property.

Copyrights protect the authors of literary, artistic, and scientific works from the unlawful use of their work. Copyright applies without any official registration or formalities.

In Estonia, copyright generally applies during the author’s lifetime and for 70 years after their death.

In Estonia, copyrights are regulated by the Copyright Act.

Copyright-related rights are derived from the work protected with copyright and include the rights of performers (dancers, actors, musicians, etc.), producers of phonograms, and television and radio service providers.

The Estonian Authors’ Society helps to protect the rights of authors in relation with the use of their work. The Estonian Organisation for Copyright Protection helps to protect authors against copyright violations.

If you wish to use works protected by copyright in catering or accommodation establishments, in trade or service companies, at music or sports events, etc., you must conclude a contract with the Estonian Authors’ Society (in Estonian).

Industrial property

Industrial property includes rights of use of trademarks, industrial design, patented inventions, utility models, geographical indications, new plant varieties, etc. Protection against unfair competition and trade secrets are also historically categorised as industrial property. Industrial property is different from copyright and related rights because it is not assigned automatically.

Industrial property rights must be applied for with the Estonian Patent Office.

Main objects of industrial property are:


A trade mark is a sign which can be used to distinguish the goods or services of one person from similar kinds of goods or services of another person. A consumer must be able to identify certain product or as produced by a specific company by looking at the trade mark.


Inventions are protected with patents or as utility models. An invention is a new technical solution, created to solve a technical problem that is new, is not self-evident for a specialist of the field, and can be industrially applied.


Industrial design is a two- or three-dimensional appearance of a product which can be formed, either separately or in combination, from the form, configuration, ornamentation, colour solutions, texture, materials, etc. of a product.

In Estonia, industrial property rights are regulated by the Principles of Legal Regulation of Industrial Property Act, Trade Marks Act, Patents Act, Utility Models Act, Industrial Design Protection Act, Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits Protection Act, Geographical Indication Protection Act, Competition Act and Plant Propagation and Plant Variety Rights Act.


Related authorities

Last amended: 05-10-2017 10:28 | Compiled by: Patent Office