In this article, we’ll talk about trademark registration in the EU, detailing all the costs and procedures for registering a trademark and possible reasons for refusals.
What is the Trademark Registration?
A trademark helps customers to associate the product with a specific sign, to give the products, services, or person its identity. Trademark registration is the registration of a commercial product to a country’s trademark system.
Registration is important for protection against the abuse of inventions and customer relations. A trademark is not only important for the inventor, but also for the customer because he has the right to recognize the product in order to connect his experience with that trademark.
Gurcan Partners is a Law and the Consulting firm operates in 9 countries, of which 5 offices are part of the EU. Intellectual Property Law is one of our main practice areas.
The Madrid Protocol (international trademark registration)
Usually, the trademark registration does not include the protection of the brand in another country. But the Madrid Protocol makes registering a trademark internationally possible for 3 regions: the Benelux, the OAPI, and the EU.
The Madrid Protocol makes registration processes much faster than on a national level only because there are time limits inside the regulations.
Whic EU Member Countries does the Madrid Protocol cover?
With the Madrid Protocol, a possible trademark registration can be made within the Benelux countries Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Another region in which a trademark registration will be accepted is the OAPI, the so-called African Intellectual Property Organization. The Madrid Protocol is also the reason for recognizing a trademark registration within the European Union. These are 27 countries which include the Benelux as well as the rest of the EU member states, except for Malta.
When required, adding other countries to the trademark registration is also attainable.
What Are The Costs For Registering Your Trademark in EU?
When applying for trademark registration by the Madrid Protocol, the total amount of money spent will be much less than the cost for registering in every country separately.
Information on specific prices is written on the EU official website. A basic fee for the individual EU trademark is 1000 Euros but by electronic means, it will only cost 850 Euros.
Pay Attention These While Registering Your Trademark
During registration, the definition of the product has to be clear, so that competitors know which areas the protection includes. It is possible to register a wordmark, figurative mark, shape mark, position mark, pattern mark, color mark, sound mark, motion mark, multimedia mark, and hologram mark.
Trademarks in the EU are being registered at the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office).
Absolute Grounds and Reasons for Refusal of a Trademark
Absolute Grounds are the regulations that determine why a trademark registration can be refused by the EU. Section 4 of the Trade Mark and Design Guidelines determines the rules. The possible reasons for a refusal are listed within 16 chapters:
EUTMR definition (chapter 2), non-distinctive trademarks (chapter 3), descriptive trademarks (chapter 4), customary signs or indicators (chapter 5), no technical results or substantial value to the goods (chapter 6), contrary to public policy or morality (chapter 7), deceptive trademarks (chapter 8), conflict with flags and other symbols (chapter 9), conflict with geographical indications (chapter 10), conflict with traditional terms for wines (chapter 11), conflict with traditional specialities guaranteed (chapter 12), conflict with earlier plant variety denominations (chapter 13), acquired distinctiveness through use (chapter 14), European Union collective marks (chapter 15), European Union certification marks (chapter 16).
Important to note is that the trademark has to be distinctive, meaning that customers will know the brand as soon as they see it. Another rule of trademark registration is that a trademark cannot become a monopoly by describing the item being sold, otherwise competitors will not be able to produce under their own trademark’s name.
Our related Practice Areas:
- Intellectual Property Law in Germany
- Intellectual Property Law in Hungary
- Intellectual Property Law in the Czech Republic
- Intellectual Property Law in Poland
- Intellectual Property Law in Estonia
Gurcan Partners is a Foreign Economic Relations Board, Hungary Business Council, Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, and International Chamber of Commerce member international law and consultancy firm.
All rights reserved. All rights of Trademark Registration in the EU article belong to Gurcan Partners. The author has no responsibility for the information in this article. This article is prepared just to inform.
Gurcan Partners Budapest Office
Adams, S. R., 2001, ‘Regional Patent Systems: A Challenge for the International Searcher’, Science and Technology Libraries, pp. 89-99
EUIPO, 6 May 2021, ’Fees payable directly to the EUIPO’, European Union Intellectual Property Office, accessed 10 August 2021, <https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/fees-payable-direct-to-euipo>
EUIPO, 2 March 2020, ‘Trade marks examples’, European Union Intellectual Property Office, accessed 10 August 2021,<https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/trade-marks-examples>
EUIPO, July 2021, ‘EUIPO Statistics for European Union Trade Marks – 1996-01 to 2021-07 Evolution’, European Union Intellectual Property Office, accessed 10 August 2021,<https://euipo.europa.eu/tunnel-web/secure/webdav/guest/document_library/contentPdfs/about_euipo/the_office/statistics-of-european-union-trade-marks_en.pdf>
EUIPO, 01 March 2021, ‘Section 4 Absolute grounds for refusal’, European Union Intellectual Property Office, accessed 10 August 2021,<https://guidelines.euipo.europa.eu/1922895/1787752/trade-mark-guidelines/section-4-absolute-grounds-for-refusal>
Kopp, S. W., Kozup, J. C., Suter, T. A. & Taylor, C. R., 2005, ‘Protecting the Global Brand in the European Union’, pp. 23-34
Schautschick, P & Greenhalgh, C, 2016, ‘Empirical studies of trade marks – The existing economic literature’, Economics of Innovation and New Technology, pp.358-390
Shane, J. C., BS in Agricultural Science, 2000, ‘Patent and Trademark Searching on the Web: Some Cautionary Advice’, MSLIS University of New Mexico, Science & Technology Libraries, pp. 83-91