Searching in the Trademarks Register

Understanding the search results

Understand the Trademarks register´s search resultsAfter searching in the Trademarks Register to check whether your trademark has already been registered in the Benelux, one of the following three situations will apply:

Your trademark: is not yet in the Trademarks Register

If your trademark is not yet in the register and you are sure that your trademark is distinctive, you can apply to register your trademark with us or have an IP professional do it for you.

Your trademark: is not in the Trademarks Register, but a trademark that resembles it is

Example: You want to register Ajax as a trademark for fire extinguishers, but there is already an Ajaks trademark registered for fire extinguishers. Or perhaps, you have done an image search in our register and turned up various images that look somewhat like the logo you want to use.

Of course, you want to know whether these search results can pose a problem for your trademark application (notably whether the holder of the pre-existing registered trademark can successfully object to your trademark application). It is not easy to answer that question, as it will depend on the particular circumstances of the specific case. Read the explanation below:

If the public in the Benelux might be confused when presented with your trademark, the holder of a pre-existing trademark could, in principle, successfully object to your trademark application. By confusion, we mean that the public might think that the goods and services you intend to offer under the trademark you are applying for actually come from the holder of the trademark registered earlier.
However: any similarity between trademarks and/or between goods and services, and the question of whether confusion may arise, always has to be assessed on a case-by-case basis in light of the specific circumstances and the applicable legal principles. If you need help interpreting the results of your search, please contact our Information Centre. Would you like specific advice regarding existing trademarks that may prejudice your trademark application? If so, please turn to an external IP professional for advice.

Note: Are you planning to register a trademark for the Benelux? If so, not only must you check whether your trademark has already been registered by searching in the register, but you must also check whether your trademark is distinctive.

There is: an identical trademark in the Trademarks Register already

If an identical trademark already appears in the Trademarks Register, check whether the goods and services for which the trademark is registered correspond to the goods and services for which you use or wish to use your trademark. Here are two examples:

  1. You want to apply for the word mark "Ajax" for fire extinguishers, but the same word has already been registered as a trademark for fire blankets.
    It is possible that your trademark infringes the trademark rights of another party. To avoid a dispute, it is best to stop using your trademark for the goods and services concerned and to devise a new trademark that does not encroach on anyone else's territory. An IP professional can advise you on this.
     
  2. You want to apply for the word mark "Ajax" for fire extinguishers, but the same word has already been registered as a trademark for toothbrushes.
    The goods and services for which you want to register a trademark do not correspond to those covered by the trademark found in the register. Therefore, you can apply to register your trademark. Take care that your trademark does not correspond to one known in the Benelux. If it does, you would be ill-advised to apply to register the trademark, even if it is for different goods and services. In such a case, consult an IP professional for advice.

Are you wondering which trademarks might pose a risk to your trademark application? Remember that other parties may decide to object to your application, for example if your trademark is identical or very similar to a trademark previously registered for the same or similar goods and services. When in doubt, it is wise to seek advice from an external IP professional.

If you have trouble interpreting the results of your search, please contact our Information Centre.

Note: Are you planning to register a trademark for the Benelux? If so, not only must you check whether your trademark has already been registered by searching in the register, but you must also check whether your trademark is distinctive.

Note: Are you planning to register a trademark for the Benelux? If so, not only must you check whether your trademark has already been registered by searching in the register, but you must also check whether your trademark is distinctive.


Note: a search result is of indicative value only


Compose a search

Using the "simple search" function, you can search in our register for trademarks, but also for application and registration numbers.

Please note: You will not only see results that match the search content exactly, but also results in which the exact search content occurs, regardless of where it occurs in the trademark.

Example 1:
If you search for "4", not only will you find trademarks that consist of "4", but also trademarks in which the number 4 occurs.

Example 2:
If you search for "cola", not only will you find trademarks that contain the exact word "cola", but also words in which the letters "cola" occur, such as "colac" and "COLAD":

Example of search results in the Trademarks register

You see the following information for each Benelux trademark:

In the case of EU trademarks and international trademarks, you will only see the application number, filing date and the goods and services for which the trademark is registered. If you click on "More Details", you will be linked through to the European or international trademarks register as applicable, where you can view all the information regarding the relevant trademark.

In the case of a Benelux trademark, if you click on "More details", you can view all the information available to the public about that trademark, for instance:

  • owners and any representatives,
  • priority,
  • seniority,
  • licences and proprietary rights,
  • modifications,
  • whether the trademark has been refused by BOIP.

How to search the Trademarks registerHow do I search?

The criteria you use to do a search determine the search results.

Example: If you search for the number 4 using "simple search", you will not only find trademarks that consist of "4", but also all trademarks in which the number 4 occurs, as well as all trademarks with a number 4 in their application or registration number.

You can refine the search results by using "advanced search". For example, by doing an advanced search, you can search not only for trademarks, but also for modifications in a trademark registration (such as a change of address, a transfer or a licence, etc.), or indeed for BOIP decisions (such as refusal, opposition and cancellation decisions). You can perform an advanced search on trademarks that combines word and/or device components with the specific goods and services for which you use or want to use your trademark, all in one go. For example, you can search for trademarks that contain the word component 'dear' and that are registered for goods in class 25 (clothing).

Unfortunately, even if you refine a search, there is no guarantee that you will find all the trademarks that may impede your trademark being registered. Such a search only gives an indication of what similar trademarks pre-date yours, but it is never complete.

If you choose to entrust the search work to an IP professional, he or she can assist you by conducting a customised search.


Extra tips

What else should I pay attention to?

Can my name/word be a trademark?

If a sign that you want to apply for as a trademark is already registered as a trademark for a certain class of goods and services, it does not mean that the sign is automatically still available as a trademark for all other goods and services. You must always consider whether the sign can serve as a trademark for the goods and services for which you want to use it.

Example: You search for "pear" in the register. The only search result you get for "pear" is a trademark for computers. This does not necessarily mean that this word can automatically be registered as a trademark for any other product. In the case of "fruit, in particular pears", that word is not distinctive, but descriptive, and therefore cannot be registered as a trademark. An application for the "pear" trademark for "fruit, in particular pears" will therefore be refused. It is, therefore, important to make sure that the trademark does not consist of a description of the goods and services for which you wish to register the trademark.

Also check that your trademark does not correspond to one known in the Benelux. If it does, you would be ill-advised to apply to register the trademark, even if it is for different goods and services, given the broad scope of protection that well-known trademarks enjoy. In such a case, consult an IP professional for advice.

Can my sign/logo be a trademark?

You must always consider whether the sign/logo you want to have registered as a trademark can serve as a trademark for the goods and services for which you want to use it. Please bear in mind that certain device components can also be descriptive with respect to some goods and services, but that the same device components can be used without any concern as a distinctive sign for other goods and services.

Example: The image of a fish as a trademark for fish products is descriptive and would, therefore, be refused as a trademark. On the other hand, the image of a fish can be used unreservedly as a distinguishing mark for eyeglasses.

Merk

 

Need help?

Help with your search in the Trademarks registerAre you planning to apply to register a trademark? Our Information Centre is happy to help you with the practical aspects.

Would you like a comprehensive investigation into whether your trademark is available and specific advice on how best to apply for your trademark? Please contact an IP professional.

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