A registered trademark is a good thing for any brand. On the other hand, your national trademark only protects you legally in your state. To get legal protection for your mark outside of your home country (for example Germany, Czech Republic, France, or the United States), you need to register it in the other countries, which may be relevant for your business. If you target the Europe, an optimal way is to protect your brand with the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office). The EU is made up of 27 countries and the magic happens when you get a protection of your trademark in all of them at once.
Here are the six steps that are usually needed to register a trademark in the European Union:
How do I register my Trademark in the EU? 6 STEPS!
Find your future EU trademark.
Fill out an application.
It's test time.
Getting it published in the EU Trademark Bulletin.
You get a trademark.
Check and re-up
Learn more below!
Step 1: Find your trademark
Once you've chosen a good trademark, you'll start the process of registering it with the EU. The first step in this process is to search carefully for trademarks. Purpose is to see if an identical or similar mark has already been registered in the EU before you start the application process with the EUIPO. Even though it's frustrating to find out that your mark (or similar mark) has already been registered, knowing before you file will save you time and money, and you'll be able to make some changes to your mark before you file your application. Remember, that in case of a trademark application with the EUIPO you face not only previous registrations/applications with the EUIPO, but also all the national registrations/applications and also non-registered claims. It is therefore very common, to have at least some potentially serious collisions discovered within the search.
It might seem like a good way to save money if your do an online search for free or on your own, but it's actually not. Most likely, only exact matches to your trademark will be shown (or will be discosed to you by "free search service" of a legal specialist. Most trademark disputes don't happen when two marks are identical. Instead, they happen when two marks in the market could lead to confusion about business origin of the goods/services. Work with an experienced trademark attorney to significantly decrease a chance that your application doesn't get turned down or that your rights aren't violated in the future.
Step 2: Fill out an application
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You can file your trademark application after a thorough trademark search shows that there either are no dangerously similar marks or you accept the risk. This can be done on paper or through the EUIPO website. Most of the time, it's easier and cheaper to apply online, and it's the best option for people who are filing from outside the country.
Step 3: It's test time
During this time, an EUIPO examiner will look over your application for a trademark. About a month after you send in your application, the EUIPO will let you know if there were any problems or questions that came up during the review. This could be a worry about the class you chose, how you wrote the mark, or how different it is from other marks. You'll have two months from the time you get this notice to fix any mistakes and give the right answer. If you need it, you'll have two more months to get your answer ready.
Step 4: Getting it published in the EU Trademark Bulletin.
After the review period is over, your trademark will be listed in the EU Trademark Bulletin. During these three months, other people with trademarks can look over your publication. If they think that your mark is too similar to theirs, they can file an objection. If someone doesn't like your application, it could be delayed or even thrown out. It can take two years or more to fight against something. Because someone could file an opposition against you, it is even more important to do a trademark search before you file your application.
Step 5: You get a trademark
After the publication period, if no oppositions have been filed, the EUIPO will move to approve your trademark. About six months after your mark is published in the EU Trademark Bulletin, you will get a certificate of registration. As the owner of a trademark in the EU, you can now use your mark legally in any of the 28 EU countries. You can also start to put the ® symbol on packages, signs, and websites where people can see your trademark.
Step 6: Check and re-up
The EUIPO gives trademarks, but it doesn't keep track of how they are used or enforce the law. The person who owns the trademark will decide. To keep your trademark unique and under your control, you must keep an eye on how it is used in the EU and, if necessary, take legal action. Most of the time, a "cease and desist" letter is all that is needed to put an infringer on notice. But sometimes you need to go to court to stop someone from using a registered mark without permission. Many lawyers who specialize in trademarks offer monitoring services and can help their clients through legal disputes if they happen.
A trademark registered in the EU is valid for 10 years from the date it was given. To keep your trademark, you must renew it with the EUIPO every 10 years. Keep in mind that the EUIPO won't send you a reminder as your renewal date approaches. Renewal must be started by the person who owns the trademark. If you don't renew your trademark by the due date, you could lose it.
You might want to register your trademark in the European Union if you do business there now or plan to in the future. With just one application, you can get important protections from the law in 28 countries.
Start by looking carefully for trademarks. Then, send the EUIPO a request. Once the examination and publication in the EU Trademark Bulletin are done, you will get a trademark that won't expire as long as you keep using the mark and file renewals every 10 years. To start the process of registering an EU trademark today, talk to a lawyer who specializes in trademarks.