The following modifications will be made to the Benelux Trademark Act in January 2019.

1 | New fee structure
In line with the fee structure in use by EUIPO, the BOIP will introduce a one-fee-per-class system on 1 January 2019. It will replace the current flat fee system for registrations in up to 3 classes. From January, you will pay a basic fee covering one class, for both applications and renewals.

The aim is to encourage trademark owners to make a deliberate choice rather than register trademarks for three classes simply because the fee allows them to do so. The modification should make for better organised registers.

2 | Graphical representation of the trademark no longer required.
Trademarks must meet a number of requirements, including being distinctive. However, as from 1  January 2019, the graphical representation requirement will no longer apply.

This change allows registration of trademarks that cannot be represented or that are difficult to represent, such as multimedia signs, holograms and sound trademarks.

3 | Expansion of exclusion grounds
The following exclusion grounds used to apply to 3D trademarks only, but will apply to all trademarks from 1 January 2019.

A sign shall not be accepted as a trademark if its shape or another characteristic:

  • results from the nature of the goods themselves;

  • is necessary to obtain a technical result;

  • gives substantial value to the goods.

These grounds for exclusion will not apply to word signs or logos. For colour and other signs, these grounds represent an additional hurdle.

4 | Difference between certification signs (quality marks) and collective signs (association seals)
The Benelux trademark law used to provide for two types of trademarks: the individual trademark and the collective trademark. Most registered trademarks are individual trademarks. Examples of collective trademarks are the Woolmark sign and our own BMM Certified Trademark Attorney.

The Certification sign will be added as a third trademark category in 2019 and will protect Quality Marks that may be used for products that meet objectively set criteria, without an organisation membership being required. Quality Marks which used to be covered under the Collective signs must now be converted. We advise holders of collective signs to contact us. Together we will make sure your signs continue to be protected.


Do you want more information about the changes to the Benelux Trademarks Act?