What is the EUIPO?

Trademarks are effective strategies for increasing brand identification. The appropriate use of your trademark and registration might increase your company’s earnings. If a single trademark application grants the same authority throughout 28 member nations, what happens? With trademark applications made to the European Union, yes.

The four-tier system

To register trademarks, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) uses a four-tiered procedure. The applicant may choose from any of the following approaches to submit a trademark application:

  • The national route: Some applicants run small firms and want to limit the protection of their mark to a single member state. Therefore, businesses have the option to exclusively file for a trademark in the member state where their company is headquartered. In certain circumstances, one can submit a trademark protection application directly to the relevant national IP office.
  • The regional route: The Benelux Office of Intellectual Property (BOIP) is the place to go if you want to apply to register a trademark in Belgium, the Netherlands, or Luxembourg. In the European Union, the BOIP is the only regional IP office.
  • The European route: The applicant can submit a direct trademark registration application for €850 to the EUIPO if they wish to register their brand in additional member states.
  • The international route: One may also secure international trademark protection through the EUIPO. Your trademark will be protected in nations that are signatories of the Madrid Protocol if you register it this way.

TRADEMARK REGISTRATION PROCESS

The trademark application is filed at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). It is important that foreign applicants who do not have a mailing address in any of the member countries of the EU act through a professional representative or a legal practitioner certified by the EUIPO Office list.

The application can be written in any official language of the European Union, but the applicant must specify as a second language English, German, French, Italian or Spanish. This second language can be used as a procedural language in case of opposition, limitation, or nullification procedures.

Besides, EUIPO has a procedure called Fast Track Application and is available to all applications. Fast Track application allows the applicants to have their application examined immediately. For this procedure, applicants need to pay within the filing or immediately afterward if they pay by bank transfer. The applicant must also use the terms in the EUIPO’s database for classification purposes.

The application process includes an examination on formal, absolute grounds and a search for prior trademarks. The processing time from application to registration is approximately 7 months.

Opposition Period: It is important to know that any third parties may file an opposition within 3 months once the trademark application has been published.

Trademark Validity: A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from the application date and may be renewed for periods of 10 years indefinitely. The applicant must present the proper renewal within the prescribed period, although they still have an extra period of 6 months to finish the renewal.

Requirement of Use: Also, the trademark should be used within 5 consecutive years following the registration to avoid cancellation. Any third party can file a cancellation action for non-use at the EUIPO Invalidity Division or through a counterclaim in an infringement action before a national court.

HOW DO WE HELP?

Brealant offers EUIPO trademarks and designs registration, which cover most countries in Europe. Currently, the 28 member countries of the EU are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

A European Union Trademark (EUTM) grants you exclusive rights in all current and future Member States of the European Union through a single registration. It is valid for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely, 10 years at a time for each renewal.

On the other side, a design is the appearance of a product: its shape, patterns, and colors.  The difference with patents is that a patent covers the function, operation, or construction of an invention. A patent may be granted for any invention, in all fields of technology, provided that it is new, involves an inventive step, and is susceptible to industrial application. But a design only covers the appearance of a product. A design does not protect the function of a product, unlike patents.

When protecting a product with both a patent and design registration, the timing of the applications will be crucial, as it must be ensured that the publishing of one or other of the rights does not preclude the finding of novelty for the other application.  For more information about patents, please consult the European Patent Register (EPO).