Once you have decided to sell your products through a partner platform such as Bol.com or Amazon, you will be keen to get things set up quickly. It might come as a bit of a shock if it transpires that you need to register a trademark to do so. After all, you will have hoped to start selling without delay.
When it comes to selling certain products, one of the things that partner platforms require is that the brand name under which the products are sold is officially registered in the Benelux as a trademark. This is due to the importance these platforms attach to ensuring that the products sold through them are reliable.
Here are a few key tips for you if you are considering selling products through a partner platform and registering your trademark.
There is a lot to consider when applying to register a trademark. BOIP only issues a trademark registration after a legal process has been completed. The process starts with an application to register the trademark. Fees are charged for an application, i.e. a one-off payment for a period of 10 years (starting at 244 euros).
A trademark application must meet a number of legal requirements. If your application does not meet the requirements, the application may be refused and, unfortunately as a result, your trademark cannot be registered in the Trademarks Register.
Another possibility is that owners of an identical or similar trademark object to your application during the application procedure (i.e. they file an opposition). In the event of a well-founded objection, your trademark will not be registered. If your application is refused, or if another party successfully objects to your trademark and it cannot be registered, you will, unfortunately, lose the fees paid for the trademark application
In order to register a trademark successfully, it is therefore important to prepare your application well. To this end, before applying for to register a trademark, check the aspects listed below.
Checklist (for more info, click on check)
Check in the Trademarks Register to ensure that your trademark has not already been taken or has already been registered by someone else. Doing a Google search or searching in a business register is not enough.
The fact that a trademark does not appear in the Trademarks Register does not necessarily mean that it is available. You should, for instance, also look on the internet to see if the brand name is already being used in a given sector.
Check whether the trademark is sufficiently distinctive. For example, your brand name or logo must not describe or praise the product or service. If it does, we are obliged to refuse to register it. In the event of refusal, the fees that you paid to apply will not be refunded.
Determine the type of trademark you are going to register. When you initiate your application to register your trademark with us, you stipulate the type of trademark in question. The most common types (over 90%) are word marks and device marks with word elements in them (logos).
Determine the products and/or services for which you want to use the trademark over the coming years. These products and/or services must be stated in your trademark application. The fact is that you cannot add products or services after registering the trademark. You must list the products concerned using internationally-approved product descriptions (classification).
Please note that these descriptions may differ from the product descriptions used by the partner platform. If you use the partner platform’s descriptions in your application, we will not be able to accept them as they stand, rather we will have to ask you to provide us with the product descriptions from the classification referred to above. That will lengthen the turnaround time for your application.
Questions about the checks?
Would you like more information regarding these checks? If so, please contact us by e-mail or phone. You can also register for an on-line consultation. An appointment lasts a maximum of 25 minutes. It is not possible to request a specific time, rather you will be notified as soon as possible of the appointment time in the form of a notice for your calendar.
Can a trademark registration be fast-tracked?
No, in principle that is not possible. Trademark registration is a legal procedure that takes an average of three months. The chart below sets out the procedure and the different phases schematically. You can find more information on the steps in the procedure here.
Why register a trademark?
By registering your trademark, you obtain the exclusive right to use it to promote the products and services for which you have registered it.
As an entrepreneur you invest time, energy and money in your business. You build up a good name and thus create value. This value resides inter alia in the name of your product or service or in the logo. You don't want competitors to copy or use them without your permission. That is why your trademark needs to be protected. If you register your trademark officially, it is protected by law and competitors cannot simply piggyback on your success.
An officially registered trademark not only puts you in a stronger legal position, it is also more valuable than an unregistered one. For example, you can you can use the ® sign, and you can license your trademark for use by others.
Did you know that…
- The basic fee to register a trademark is 244 euros?
- BOIP is an independent body and not a commercial entity?
- Your application may be refused and your money not refunded?
- Your trademark will only be legally recognised if it has been registered? In other words, only once the application procedure has been completed and the trademark has been registered in the Trademarks Register definitively.
- With an officially registered trademark, you are in a stronger position and can take more effective action against those misusing your trademark?
If you have further questions about registering a trademark, we suggest to contact us.
BOIP is an independent body and as such cannot give you bespoke advice. However, an external IP professional can advise you on the best protection for your brand and handle the entire registration procedure for you if you so wish.