Do you sell goods or services outside the Benelux? If so, it is recommended that you protect your trademark or design 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 of course important to protect your trademark in the areas where you use it and protection is needed. On the other hand, protection in too broad an area leads to unnecessary risks and can even result in you losing your rights. So, only protect your trademark where needed. You can choose from various areas.
Trademark law always applies to a specific country. A national trademark registration only provides protection in the country where you have applied for registration. Do you intend to use your trademark in Spain only, for example? Then file your application for a trademark registration directly to the official trademarks office in Spain.
Via BOIP, you register your trademark for the whole of the Benelux in one go. This was jointly agreed by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property (BCIP). Although a Benelux trademark provides protection for three countries, it is still referred to as a national trademark.
It is not possible to register a trademark only in the Netherlands or Belgium or Luxembourg. A Benelux trademark registration is useful for entrepreneurs who are largely active in the Benelux countries. An EU trademark can be an attractive option if you are or plan to be active in countries outside the Benelux.
You can also register your trademark in countries outside the Benelux. There is an official authority, like BOIP, in charge of trademark registration in every country in the world. Some countries have joined the Madrid System, an international treaty that simplifies obtaining trademark protection. You can file an international application to BOIP for these countries.
In countries that have not joined the Madrid System, e.g. South Africa, you can only apply for trademark registration directly from the relevant authority in that country. If you are interested in obtaining protection in several countries, it can quickly become a complex and expensive matter, as you need to go through a separate application procedure for each country. Communications with the relevant authorities usually take place in that the official language of that authority. Sometimes, it is also necessary to have a local representative or correspondence address. IP professionals often have local agents with whom they work in each country. It is therefore best to use the services of an IP professional to help register your trademark in countries outside the Madrid System.
An EU trademark provides trademark registration in all 28 European Union countries in one go.