Glossary

Intellectual Property (IP) is a field of law and of specialist expertise with its own jargon. This glossary lists a number of terms that you will come across frequently on our website. In the glossary, we have explained what we mean by these legal and other specialist terms in straightforward language. It is not our intention to provide legal definitions of these terms. For that reason, no rights can be derived from this glossary. The official definitions of the terms used are provided in the relevant legal texts.

Please, let us know if a term that you are looking for is not included here.

Copy

A copy of a trademark application or trademark registration or, for example, of documentary evidence of modifications to your trademark registration in the register, such as a copy of the deed of assignment of a trademark.

There are two types of copy:

  • a non-authenticated copy: not officially certified by BOIP; can be printed out free of charge
  • an authenticated copy: officially certified by BOIP; can be ordered for a fee.

More about copies


Well-known trademark

In the case of a well-known trademark, a trademark right is granted to the holder of rights that are so familiar to the public that they might be construed by them as being a trademark. In such cases, the owner generally does not have a valid application or registration number in the Benelux. Well-known trademarks are rare in the Benelux. Holders of well-known trademarks must present documentary evidence demonstrating that their trademark is 'well-known'.


Seizure

A court order under which the owner (holder) may no longer make free use of his goods. A registered trademark or design is movable property with a monetary value. It is therefore also possible for a trademark or design to be seized. If that happens, the owner (holder) is no longer allowed to make free use of it.


Classification

The goods and services which the owner wishes to protect by trademark are first described, then categorised in specific classes of goods or services. This is based on the international Nice Classification. More about classification


Date of priority

If the owner has applied for registration of the trademark or design in another country within the previous six months, he is granted a right of priority when applying for a new registration. That means that the date of the first application also applies to the new one.


Applicant

The person or company who applies for a registration, i.e. files an application, or the person or company on behalf of whom the application for registration is made.


Filing date

The date on which a trademark or design right is applied for and on which the application meets the statutory application requirements.

More about the application requirements for trademark registration
More about the application requirements for design registration


Application phase

The period between applying for registration, i.e. filing an application, and the actual registration of the trademark or design, i.e. entry in the register. During this period, the application is still pending and official registration has not yet taken place. Consequently, the applicant does not yet have a registered trademark or design.


Cancellation

Your trademark or design is struck from the register. This can happen as a result of:

1. Voluntary cancellation
An owner (holder) voluntarily withdraws his registration from the register. He might do so, for example, because he has stopped using the trademark or design. BOIP always requires the approval of the owner (holder) as well as of any licensee, pledgee, or judgment creditor before effecting voluntary cancellation.

2. Judicial cancellation
The court decides to strike a trademark or design from the register pursuant to a dispute. BOIP requires a copy of the relevant court ruling before entering a judicial cancellation in the register.

3. BOIP cancellation procedure (only for trademark registrations)
A person or company may ask BOIP to strike a trademark from the register by means of a cancellation procedure. More about the cancellation procedure


Earlier trademark

This is a trademark for which another owner applied for registration prior to your application.


Earlier design

A design which was entitled to exclusive rights based on a Community design, a Benelux design or an international design prior to the filing date or the date of priority of your design application.


Representative

A legal professional who can assist you with applying for, maintaining, monitoring and protecting a trademark or design registration. The representative does not work for BOIP, but rather for a legal consultancy or law firm, for instance. More about protection and maintenance

BOIP is an independent, official authority. BOIP staff members are therefore unable to advise on the protection of intellectual property. BOIP is 'only' allowed to provide information. You can however seek advice from an external IP professional, such as a representative who is a member of the Benelux Association of Trademark and Design Law.


Holder

The owner of a registered trademark or design. This is the person or company in whose name the registration is listed in the Trademarks or Designs Register. A registration may have several owners.


IP professional

A legal expert in the field of Intellectual Property (IP), such as a trademark consultant, a lawyer or a representative. The IP professional can assist you with applying for, maintaining, monitoring and protecting your trademark or design registration. IP professionals do not work for BOIP, but rather for a legal consultancy or law firm, for instance. More about protection and maintenance

BOIP is an independent, official authority. BOIP staff members are therefore unable to advise on the protection of intellectual property. BOIP is 'only' allowed to provide information. You can however seek advice from an external IP professional. This could be a member of the professional association of relevant legal specialists, the Benelux Association of Trademark and Design Law.


Class

The category to which the goods and services listed in the trademark application are allocated. Goods, also referred to as products, and services are classified according to the international Nice Classification. Class is sometimes abbreviated to CL. More about classification


More recent trademark

A trademark for which a subsequent applicant has filed a trademark registration. This applicant has, in other words, filed more recently than another party.


Madrid System

A system providing for the protection of international trademarks. An applicant can obtain trademark protection in various countries under a single application. More about international trademark applications


Trademark

A sign that entrepreneurs use to differentiate their goods and services from those of their competitors. More about trademarks


Trademark application

Entrepreneurs can apply for trademark registration at BOIP.


Trademark registration

BOIP registers a trademark in the Benelux Trademarks Register if the application meets all of the statutory requirementsMore about the registration procedure


Design application

Entrepreneurs can file an application for design registration at BOIP.


Design registration

BOIP registers a design in the Benelux Designs Register if the application meets the formal requirements. More about design registration


Design registration

BOIP registers a design in the Benelux Designs Register if the application meets the formal requirements. More about design registration


Design registration

BOIP registers a design in the Benelux Designs Register if the application meets the formal requirements. More about design registration


Opponent

The owner (holder) or licensee of a trademark that was applied for or registered at an earlier date who files an opposition (objection) to a trademark applied for or registered later for the same or similar goods and services.


Opposition

A simple and relatively inexpensive procedure to resolve a trademark dispute without resorting to the courts. The owner (holder) or licensee of an earlier trademark can file an objection to the registration of a more recent trademark. The later trademark application is identical to or closely resembles the earlier trademark and is for the same or similar goods or services. More about opposition


Suspension

Postponement during or of legal proceedings. This may arise in various situations.

Automatic suspension in the event of an opposition
BOIP automatically suspends the opposition procedure in the following cases:

1. If the opposition is based on an application for trademark registration, an unregistered trademark
2. If an action for revocation or for a declaration of lapse has been instituted against a trademark
3. For the duration of the trademark refusal procedure
4. If BOIP considers this necessary. This may arise if proceedings relevant to the trademarks in question are pending before the court and may have an impact on the BOIP case in question.

Suspension of an opposition
The opponent and defendant jointly request postponement of the time limit before the official opposition procedure begins. Or the opponent and defendant jointly request postponement of the time limit for filing documents to support their arguments.

Automatic suspension through a cancellation procedure
BOIP automatically suspends the cancellation procedure in the following cases:

  1. If the claim is based on a trademark application;
  2. If an action for invalidation or revocation is instituted against a trademark;
  3. If BOIP considers this necessary. This may arise if proceedings relevant to the trademarks in question are pending before the court and may have an impact on the BOIP case in question.

Suspension of a cancellation
The applicant and defendant jointly request postponement of the period for submitting documents to support their arguments.

Suspending publication of a design
The owner (holder) decides to postpone the publication of his design, e.g. because he does not yet want competitors to become aware of it. A design registration cannot be viewed until it has been published.


Transfer

Ownership of a trademark or design changes hands. A trademark or design can be fully or partially transferred. BOIP can note a full or partial transfer in the register as a paid service. 


The Hague Agreement

A convention providing for the international registration of models. An applicant can obtain design protection in various countries under a single application. More about international design applications


Pledge

Collateral security with which movable property can be encumbered. For example: a person establishes a pledge on an item of movable property (a car) in order to take out a loan. If the loan is not repaid, the ownership of the car transfers to the lender. A registered trademark or design is also movable property with a monetary value. It is therefore possible to establish a pledge on a trademark or design.


Publication

Publication of a trademark
If a trademark application meets the application requirements, BOIP publishes the trademark in the Trademarks Register. A trademark's publication date is important because it marks the beginning of the two-month period in which other owners of trademarks that were registered or applied for earlier can file an objection (opposition) to the trademark application. More about opposition

Publication of a design
If a design meets the formal requirements, BOIP publishes the design registration in the Designs Register. The publication date of a design is important because this is the date from which the design can be viewed by all in the public register. The design is thus placed in the public domain. More about design registration


Fee

Legal term for a fee charged by BOIP with respect to an application to register a trademark or design, the renewal or modification of a registration or the filing of an opposition. The amount of the duty is legally provided for in the Implementing Regulations. As well as a basic fee (or basic duty), various surcharges may apply. More about current fees


Registrar

A registrar is a company that offers domain name services and has direct access to a domain name registration system. Examples of registrars include internet service, hosting and access providers, but also web design, branding and advertising agencies. The registrar is a company's first point of contact. 


Renewal

Re-application for an existing trademark or design registration in order to renew it.

Trademark renewal
A trademark registration is valid for ten years from the filing date. The registration can be renewed for an unlimited number of ten-year periods. A registration lapses if not renewed after ten years. More about trademark renewal

Design renewal
A design registration is valid for five years. It can be renewed (extended) by five-year periods, up to a maximum of 25 years. Here too, a registration lapses if not renewed after ten years. More about design renewal


Expiry date

The date on which the validity of a trademark or design registration ends. This date is stated at the top of the trademark or design summary in the Trademarks or Designs Register.


Defendant

In opposition procedure
Owner of a trademark applied for at a later date, against which an opposition (objection) has been filed.

In cancellation procedure
Owner of a trademark registration facing a cancellation procedure against his trademark.


Applicant

Person or company requesting BOIP to initiate a cancellation procedure.


Goods and services

A trademark is always registered for specific goods (or products) and services. We refer to the description and categorisation of the goods and services covered by a trademark registration as 'classification'. More about classification

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