How to register a European trademark
A stable economic situation and high level of welfare of the population in the European countries opens up wide prospects for doing business in the EU. Taking into account the high level of competition in the European Union it is necessary for the company, that wishes to achievie a sustainable position, to establish close relationship with potential customers. One of the tools to ensure this relationship is a recognizable brand, due to which the given product distinguishes among other competing products in the minds of the consumer. The initial stage to achieve this goal is the process of registering a brand (trade mark) in the European Union.
There are three ways for applicants to protect a trademark in the European Union:
Registration of a trademark at the national patent office in each country of interest.
Such a procedure is advisable if the applicant is interested in a small number of countries (1 or 2), since the fee of registration under the national procedure increases in proportion to the increase in the number of countries. Or if the trademark is not available for registration in any country of the European Union.
Registration of a trademark under the Madrid system.
This procedure makes it possible to provide legal protection simultaneously in several countries by filing one international application. Such a procedure is advisable, if the applicant is interested in registration of a trademark in several countries.
Registration of the EU trade mark.
The legal protection of the EU trademark is granted on the territory of all EU countries. This procedure is suitable for carrying out activities throughout the European Union. Currently the European Union unites 27 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus,Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) registers trademarks of the European Union. Any natural or legal person who has a permanent place of residence in one of the Member States of the European Union, has a permanent establishment in one of the EU countries, or is a resident of a country participant of the Paris Convention, can register a trademark in the EU.
The procedure for the registration of the European trademark is about 4-6 months.
Apart from the fact that legal protection of the EU Trademark is provided throughout its territory, this procedure has a number of additional benefits:
- Obtaining trademark protection in 27 countries by filing a single application;
- Filing of application in one of the official languages of the European Union (English, German, French);
- Filing of application obeying uniform formal requirements;
- For preventing termination of the trademark on the grounds of non-use for 3 years, it is sufficient to confirm its use only in one of the countries of the European Union.
The disadvantage of this procedure is that in case of refusal of registration in one of the EU countries, the trademark automatically receives a refusal of registration in all other declared countries. Nevertheless, there is a so-called conversion procedure. The conversion provides for transformation of the application of the EU trademark into an application filed pursuant to one of the other two above described procedures, in respect to countries where registration was not refused, while retaining the right of priority.
If you have any additional questions regarding the registration of a trademark in the European Union, please contact us. We will be happy to help you.