A trademark is a sign aiming at designating a product or a service and at distinguishing these latter from those offered by a competitor.
It may be one or several words, a combination of words and visual elements, a logo, a color or a combination of colors, the form of a product or even a sound.
A trademark must designate products and/or services for which the protection is required.
Be careful about the classification: the wording of the goods and services covered by an application should be very accurate as this will define the scope of protection. Our trademark Counsels may assist you in this regard.
It is important to opt for a trademark which is sufficiently distinctive to be “registrable”, otherwise it might be refused. A trademark which is exclusively descriptive or lacking of distinctive character might be refused. The assistance of a trademark Counsel might therefore be decisive.
Who may be the owner?
The applicant may be:
• an individual
• a company
• several individuals or companies (co-ownership)
To file an application either as an individual or as a company might have consequences on a tax point of view. It is important to ask yourself this question…
Various systems coexist:
• the Benelux trademark: covering the Benelux countries.
• the European Union trademark: covering the 28 EU countries
• the International trademark: which may extend to any country member of the Madrid agreements (over 100 countries for the time being)
• the National trademark: only solution in some countries or when you wish to limit the protection to only one country
The protection is territorial and the various existing systems are somewhat complicated. Our trademark attorneys may help you to make the right decision as far as filing strategy is concerned. To opt for one way instead of another one is not without consequences, one should be rightly advised.
• it gives you the right to use or not to use the registered trademark
• it prevents third parties to use a similar or resembling trademark for identical or similar goods and/or services
• it has a dissuasive effect (using the symbol ® may discourage aspirant counterfeiters from copying!)
• it generates revenue when authorizing third parties to use (license, assignment…)
• it is a real asset in a company, worth to be valorized
• it helps building your reputation and to associate your trademark with an indication of origin and a level of quality
• it helps building and reinforcing your image
We may assist you in obtaining rights but also to enforce them afterwards. We may also write or review contracts with respect to your IP rights in order to value them.
• by determining the availability of the trademark (preliminary searches)
• by defining the best strategy of protection
• by filing applications and prosecute them until registration
You should be very careful about prior rights of third parties: if the trademark is not available, you should face oppositions or nullity actions, which could lead to additional costs but also represent a serious problem on a commercial point of view
If it is quite simple to file a Benelux trademark application, it is a completely different story when you wish to be protected in other territories. We may help you in this regard.
The costs for trademark procedures include the following elements:
our professional fees comprising :
• fixed fees for well-defined services (such as for filing a trademark appli-cation),
• variable fees for intellectual work (such as responding to an official ac-tion or handling an opposition procedure); the amount of these fees de-pend on the time spent on the case and on the experience and level of specialization of the person in charge.
outlays comprising :
• official fees which we pay on your behalf to the authorities,
• foreign agent fees which we pay on your behalf in case of foreign filings,
• some administrative costs.
We provide you with a detailed cost estimate. Initial contact in the form of a preliminary meeting of about one hour is free of charge!
In most countries, a trademark registration is valid for 10 years. It may be renewed indefinitely, provided renewal taxes are paid.