Placing the ® symbol – for ‘registered trademark’ – against the name of your product signals credibility. It can be the deciding factor that persuades customers to buy your product rather than that of your competitor, which is exactly what you want of course. Above all, the ® symbol should be used when you want people to see that your trademark is ‘registered’.
Use of the ® symbol originated in the United States. There, you can only use the ‘registered trademark’ symbol if you have indeed registered your trademark.
In the Benelux, you can also use the ® symbol if you have not registered your trademark – at least, there is no law that prohibits you from doing so.
Misleading your customers however, by simple fact of using the ® symbol, is not permitted.
By this we mean that you have registered your trademark in the Benelux Trademarks Register. Do you know what is surprising though? You might also come across the ® symbol with trademarks that are not registered in the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg). Here, we explain how that works.
No specific law in the Benelux regarding the ® symbol
The ® symbol originated in the United States. There, you can only use it if you have indeed registered your trademark. This is not the case in the three Benelux countries. Here, there is no law which states when you may and may not use the ® symbol.
What do you need to think about when registering your trademark?
Prepare your registration properly. By doing so, you will reduce the risk of other brands wanting to withhold your registration, or of your application being refused. On our page ‘All about trademarks’ you can read about what you need to take into account when registering your trademark.
No misleading allowed
You might be thinking, ‘Oh that’s good to know. Why would I register my trademark then? Clearly anyone in the Benelux can just go ahead and place the ® symbol against the name of their product’. It is not as straightforward as that though, because in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg it is prohibited to mislead consumers. Doing so can bring complaints and get you into difficulties. You may, in fact, only claim things about your product that are true. If you have not registered your trademark and, at the same time, you use the ® symbol, you are being misleading. This is because the ® symbol implies trademark registration, and it does so also in the Benelux.
Credibility and monopoly
The ® symbol signals credibility to your customers. It also shows your competitors and potential investors that your trademark has been officially registered. It lends greater value to your trademark because you hold a monopoly position. It also makes it less attractive to copy because your legal position is strong. In short: use the ® symbol to strengthen your registered trademark.
It helps you develop a brand that customers trust
Do you want your customers to trust and to keep trusting in your brand and products? Then register your trademark. You can do that from € 244, for 10 years. Our 4 steps will help you arrange it. Oh, and when it’s registered, don't forget to put the ® symbol against the name of your product!