Having a trademark or design is essential for the proper protection of a company’s products and services. The number of companies registering a tradename or design remains large. The new fees for registering a trademark or design have recently been published.
A trademark is a mark used to distinguish goods or services. A trademark right offers wide protection against fakes or copies of the (company) name or logo or of other distinguishing marks. Registering such marks is therefore essential.
A standard Benelux trademark registration will cost €248 euros in 2018. The fee had remained the same since 2005. The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property decided this on 28 September 2017.
The new fee for registering a (single) design is €112 euros. A design right provides you with a simple mechanism to protect the appearance of a product. Just as with a trademark infringement, in the event of a design infringement it is possible to levy an attachment on infringing designs, the trademark or design holder can take ex parte measures, claim an injunction in preliminary relief proceedings, claim compensation and profit remittance and full payment of legal costs.
Importance of registration
A tradename or design has important advantages. If you bring a distinguishing product on the market, registering a trademark or design can quickly repay itself. A trademark or model gives 10 and 5 years protection respectively and can often be extended. The costs of extension are often lower than for registration.
After a successful registration, your trademark or design is included in the official Benelux register. You will also receive an official registration record. With this evidence, you can take legal action against competitors who are copying your trademark or design without your permission. You can act both against fakes (identical copy – piracy) and corresponding products or product names. You are also able to issue licences for a trademark or design and so profit from the registrations. Finally, a trademark or design has financial value when you sell your company.
Joost Becker, lawyer specialising in trademark and design law