Protection of your trademark or design outside the Benelux is recommended if you are going to offer or sell your goods and services outside the Benelux. There are various options for protection outside the Benelux, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
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It is important to protect your design in the areas where you need protection. Protection in a larger area can, however, lead to unnecessary risks and even result in you losing your rights. So only protect your design where needed.
National design registration
Design law always applies to a specific country. A national design registration only provides protection in the country where you have applied for the registration. Do you only want to protect your design in Italy, for example? If so, file your application for design registration directly to the Italian designs office.
Via BOIP, you register your design for the whole of the Benelux in one go. This was jointly agreed between the three countries in the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property (BCIP).
It is not possible to register a design only in the Netherlands or Belgium or Luxembourg. A Benelux design is useful for entrepreneurs who are largely active in the Benelux countries. A Community design (EU) can be an attractive option if you are or plan to be active in a greater number of countries.
International design registration
Protection outside the Benelux is also possible. This is recommended if you are going to put your goods on the market outside the Benelux.
There is an official authority, like BOIP, in charge of design registration in almost every country. You can contact these authorities directly to obtain a national design registration. Some of these countries are parties to The Hague Agreement, a treaty that regulates international registration of designs. You can apply for an international design registration for these countries.
Unlike an international application for trademark registration, no previous registration in the Benelux is required as a basis for an international application for design registration.
In the EU
You can also choose to apply for design registration in all 27 EU countries in one go: the registered Community design. Another option is the unregistered Community design.