In addition to checking compliance with the formal requirements, we also perform a substantive examination of trademark applications. This is an examination on absolute grounds. The Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property (BCIP) establishes a number of legal grounds, on the basis of which BOIP is obliged to refuse registration of an application (art. 2.11.1).
The time limit for lodging an objection, in writing, against a refusal on absolute grounds is up to six months.
Legal grounds for refusal (art. 2.11, paragraph 1 BCIP)
You will find the relevant legal provisions regarding refusal on absolute grounds in the BCIP.
Objection to refusal
The time limit for lodging an objection, in writing, to a refusal on absolute grounds is up to six months. If you lodge an objection to a provisional refusal, it is important to file all of your submissions in a timely fashion, within the period allowed for lodging objections. You may no longer do so once that period has elapsed.
Moreover, if you lodge an appeal against BOIP's final decision, the arguments advanced during the period for lodging objections determine those that can be raised on appeal.
Appeal against refusal
Within two months of notification of BOIP's final decision, the applicant may petition the Benelux Court of Justice d’appel for an order to register the trademark. For more information about the lodging of an appeal, the applicable procedural rules, the court registry fee, contact details, etc., see: http://www.courbeneluxhof.be.
BOIP's methods and approach
Examination on absolute grounds is performed in the public interest, which forms the basis for any refusal. In deciding whether to grant or refuse a trademark, BOIP is guided by the boundaries and interpretations established by statutory and case law. BOIP does its utmost to conduct the examination in as factual and specific a manner as possible. In so doing, it adopts an approach which, as much as possible, is in tune with the actual (economic) environment in which the trademark is going to be used.