Are you going to do business abroad? Here’s how to form a sound basis for your international trademark protection

Taking the step to do business abroad is exciting and is full of opportunities for moving your business forward. If you have not yet registered your trademark, this article will tell you what your options are.

Mensen die op een perron op de trein wachten

Whether you have worldly ambitions or you are thinking about tentatively expanding your market to a neighbouring country, one thing is certain: you must register your trademark rights in good time. This is because there is actually no such thing as ‘worldwide trademark protection’. You have to arrange your trademark protection in each country or region where you are active and where you want protection.

Our tip for entrepreneurs in the Benelux is: start small. Start by registering a Benelux trademark and then organise trademark protection in different countries if you are considering expanding your business.

Is trademark registration useful for your business?
You only actually own your name or logo if you have registered your trademark. If you have, then you have a monopoly on your brand. There are many advantages to that. Read all about it on our page All about trademarks’. 

Trademark protection in the Benelux

There are no trademark laws specific to Belgium, the Netherlands or Luxembourg as individual countries. It is only possible to register your trademark for these three countries together. For that, you can apply for a so-called Benelux trademark with BOIP. Fee: from €244 for 10 years.

Interesting testing ground for marketing

The Benelux is an interesting testing ground for a wide range of trademarks. With so many languages and cultures close at hand, discovering whether your trademark can hold the market position you are thinking about is relatively easy. For instance, you might find out that your trademark is not properly understood in French. Making a discovery like that in the Benelux means you can re-direct your brand positioning and marketing at the right moment.

Limiting risk with a Benelux trademark application

If your trademark application does not meet the requirements, you may have to deal with your trademark being refused. Someone may also file an opposition against your trademark because, for instance, it is too similar to an existing trademark. That is true for trademark applications in the Benelux, the EU or in many other countries in the world.

The advantage of the Benelux is the fact that it is a relatively small region. That makes the risk of opposition or refusal smaller too. By researching properly, you can also lower that risk yourself even further. That makes a Benelux trademark application, if you don’t yet have a trademark registration, a safe and affordable first step.

Register your trademark in four steps
Registration protects the value of your brand. Be aware: There is a lot to consider when applying for trademark registration. And there are costs involved. Use these four steps to check what opportunities and possibilities are open to you.
Start the four steps

International trademark protection

If you want to address things fully straight away and protect your brand in several countries at once, there are different options open to you. It is advisable to think carefully (with a legal professional) about trademark strategy.

In many cases a Benelux trademark registration is a sound basis for trademark protection internationally. You can read more about this in our comprehensive article: Thinking about doing business internationally with your trademark? The routes to international trademark protection

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