Outside the Benelux

There are various options for protection outside the Benelux, each with their own particular pros and cons.

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A registration at BOIP provides protection in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. It is also possible to arrange protection outside the Benelux. This is advisable if your client sells goods and services outside the Benelux.

There are various ways of protecting your trademarks and designs outside the Benelux: national design, Community design (EU) or international design. Each has its own particular pros and cons. Registration is required in some cases, but not in others.

National designs

You can opt to file national applications in other countries. This is the only option in countries that are not signatories to the international treaties governing registration of designs. You will therefore need to research the rules applied in the country or countries in question. This is often an expensive option, especially when several countries are concerned. Fortunately, protection can be obtained for more and more countries by means of an international design or Community design.

Community designs (EU)

A Community design offers protection for all (currently 27) countries of the European Union. There are two types of Community design: registered Community designs and unregistered Community designs. Both are governed by Council Regulation 6/2002 on Community Designs (the Community Designs Regulation). Like Benelux designs, Community designs must be new and have individual character. More about Community designs

Claiming priority

If you file an application for the same design in other countries (or with WIPO or EUIPO) within six months of the first one, the later application can be given the same date as the first one. This is referred to as claiming priority, or the priority right.

International designs

The international registration of designs is provided for in The Hague Agreement. The Benelux is a signatory to this international treaty. Subjects of Member States can obtain protection in the countries that are signatories to the Agreement by filing an international application.

International designs applications are to be filed directly with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland. More about international designs

Impact of Brexit: Community designs and international applications and registrations designating the EU are subject to measures put in place since 31 December 2020 that ensure design owners do not lose their existing rights. In short, this means that registered designs will be automatically converted and that, for ongoing applications, an application can be filed in the UK within the nine months following the end of the transition period, i.e. within nine months from 31 December 2020, and the priority date will be retained. More information is available from the websites of EUIPO and UKIPO.
More information about the consequences of Brexit for Benelux trademarks and designs

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