THE DIFFERENT TRADEMARK REGISTRATION SYSTEMS EXPLAINED
In principle, trademark law is regulated nationally, thus by country. Fortunately, there are several registration systems for registering a trademark in multiple countries simultaneously. Depending on your territorial interests and other issues, such as budget, time schedule and any obstacles revealed by a trademark availability search, your trademark attorney can advise you on the best registration strategy for you. Below you can read more about the different types of registration systems to register a trademark.
Benelux trademark registration
This is a registration for the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg that is handled by the trademark office in the Benelux. The registration period of a trademark is three to four months on average. First, the trademark application is assessed and then published for opposition purposes. During two months, third parties can file an opposition (official objection). If this does not happen, the trademark will be registered.
European trademark registration
The European trademark registration provides protection in all member states of the European Union. This is an attractive option, as it gives you trademark protection in a large area in one go. The registration period is five to six months. First, the trademark application is assessed and then published for opposition purposes. During three months, third parties can file an opposition (official objection). If this does not happen, the trademark will be registered.
The European registration does have one disadvantage: it is indivisible. If someone files a successful opposition – and this is already possible based on one national trademark in, for example, France – the entire European trademark registration will be cancelled. You will not obtain the registration in France and not in the rest of the EU either. So you understand that it is very important to first have to conduct a thorough trademark availability search to see if the trademark is available for use and registration.
International trademark registration
This is another cost-efficient form of registration. It is a bundling of national applications filed at one time. Many countries are members of this system, such as the United States, Russia, Switzerland, Japan and China, but the European Union can also be chosen as a registration area. The turnaround time for an International trademark registration is three months, after which the national procedures start. The trademark is then assessed per country under national law. This assessment may lead to a refusal of the trademark for a particular country (up to 18 months after the registration of the International registration).
Fortunately, often refusals can be overcome by filing responses. Also, an advantage of the International registration is that a refusal in one country does not affect your trademark registration in another country.
National trademark registration
Some countries are not members of the International registration system, nor are they EU members. For these countries, a national trademark registration is the only option. These registrations are filed directly with the trademark office of that country through the agent network of Knijff Trademark Attorneys.
Registering a trademark abroad involves a lot of work. Fortunately, there are trademark attorneys for whom trademark law is a piece of cake and who will be happy to help you search, register and monitor your trademark. At Knijff over seventy professionals work on thousands of trademarks worldwide every day. Of course, we would also be happy to do that for you.
Would you like to have your trademark professionally registered? Then contact a trademark attorney.