You don’t automatically gain trademark protection when you have a business. For that you have to register a trademark. How does that protection work though, and what do you have to do for it?
- Trademark protection means that you have an exclusive right with respect to your trademark.
- That exclusive right gives you – and you alone! – the right to use your trademark.
- With trademark protection you have a stronger legal position if others get in the way of your trademark.
How can you get trademark protection?
It is rather a legal concept but ‘trademark protection’ means that you have an exclusive right with respect to your trademark. In the Benelux (and in many countries outside the Benelux), you only have that right if you register the trademark in the official trademarks register. That is how it is regulated by law.
Trademark protection does not come automatically then; you have to apply for it. For Benelux trademarks you can apply to register your trademark with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP). BOIP is the official body for trademark registration in the Benelux.
How to register a Benelux trademark. Check the 4 steps.
You can register your trademark from €244. Your trademark is then protected for 10 years and in 3 countries: Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Our 4 steps ensure you have everything you need to register your Benelux trademark.
4 steps for trademark registration
What does an exclusive right to your trademark mean?
If you have trademark protection, you – and no-one else – have the right to use that trademark. In other words: you have the exclusive right. An exclusive right to your trademark also means that you can take action if someone else applies to register a trademark or uses one that is very similar to yours.
Two things to be aware of:
The trademark protection is valid for the area in which you have registered your trademark (for example, the Benelux) and for the products and/or services you registered it for.
Is there an authority that monitors for any infringement of my trademark?
No. Once you have registered your trademark, you yourself* have to keep an eye on whether someone else uses your trademark (or something that is very similar to it) or applies to register it as a trademark. If you have not given permission to them to do so, you yourself have to take action.
Help is at hand: our online trademark notification service
A subscription to BOIP Trademark Alert does the searching in the BOIP Trademarks Register for you. You automatically receive an alert if someone applies to register a trademark that is very similar to yours. You then determine yourself what you want to do with that information. An annual subscription costs €53 per trademark and the first 3 months are free of charge.
BOIP Trademark Alert
You can also see trademark protection as like having a shield and a sword. You can defend yourself with it or use it to attack someone else. You do have to use the shield and sword yourself though. You can also choose not to actively use them and leave another trademark for what it is. You determine what you do with your trademark protection.
* If you ask an IP representative to take care of things for you, they can keep an eye on the relevant trademark registers for you, and they can take action in case of infringement.
Is someone using a trademark that is similar to yours?!
Does that immediately lead to trademark infringement? In this article, we explain what you can do.
Read the article on trademark infringement