To register a European Union trademark, an application must be filed at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Once the application has overcome the substantive examination, it is registered with unitary effects, that is, it becomes a single trademark registration which is effective throughout the EU (27 Member States).
The following information is required to file an application:
Once the application has been filed, the EUIPO conducts an examination to ensure that the application data are correct and that technical requirements have been met (absolute grounds for refusal), following which the application is published in the European Union Trade Marks Bulletin.
The processing of the application takes approximately five to six months. However, if objections or observations are made or oppositions are filed by third parties, processing may take over twelve months.
After overcoming the various formalities, the trademark is granted, the registration is published in the European Union Trade Marks Bulletin and a certificate of registration is issued.
Finally, the applicant of an EU trademark or owner of a registered EU trademark may request the conversion of its mark into a national trademark in one, several or all of the Member States, if the marks ceases to be effective because it was refused, withdrawn, surrendered or not renewed.
How long does an EU trademark registration last?
The mark is granted for ten years from the filing date and can be renewed indefinitely for successive ten-year periods.
What are the steps involved in keeping an EU trademark registration in force?
In order to keep the registration in force it has to be renewed every 10 years and the relevant fees must be paid.
In addition, in order to maintain the rights in a trademark registration it must be put to use on the goods and services it protects. Any changes in the representation of the mark, such as when a logo is brought up to date, should also be assessed from a trademark standpoint, since it may be necessary to file a new application.
Finally, if the trademark owner changes its name or address, or assigns ownership of a registration to a third party, those changes must be registered on the Trademarks Register.
What are the advantages of registering an EU trademark?
A single registration is valid in all EU Member States.
The EU trademark gives its owner an exclusive right in all current and future EU Member States at a reasonable cost.