What is the difference between UK and EU Registration?

A UK Trademark registration protects your rights in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and is ideal if you do not trade anywhere outside the UK. UK Trademarks are registered on a first come first served basis.

A Community Trademark (EU trademark registration) protects your rights in the 28 member countries of the EU, making the Community Trademark the mark of choice for many businesses who currently trade abroad, or who plan to expand into Europe, and for those with an exit strategy in mind. Community Trademarks are registered on a first come first served basis and (as use of a Community trademark in one member country is deemed use throughout the EU) are a cost effective way of obtaining wide ranging rights by way of a single application.

The member states of the Community Trademark system are:

Austria Belgium Bulgaria
Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic
Denmark Eire Estonia
Finland France Germany
Greece Hungary Italy
Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg
Malta Netherlands Poland
Portugal Romania Slovakia
Slovenia Spain Sweden
UK    

Our online application process allows you to choose UK or EU trademark registration.

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How is the EU Trademark registration process different to the UK?

The European Union Trademark covers all 28 member states of the EU, including the UK, and is a cost-effective way of obtaining Europe-wide protection through a single application. The UK system is less expensive, but protection remains limited to the UK.

There is also a slight difference in the time it takes to obtain a registration. Where a UK trademark can achieve registration after having been filed after as little as 3 months, a European Union Trademark Application takes 5 – 9 months.

Both these timeframes exclude objections or third party oppositions. UK Trademark applications are published for a statutory period of 2 months in order to allow for observations or oppositions, and interested third parties are able to extend this by a further month. EU Trademarks are also published for opposition purposes, but this is for a non-extendable period of 3 months.

Why are there EU Trademarks and national trademarks coexisting?

In the words of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) “National and EU systems have not been conceived to compete against each other. On the contrary, they complete and complement each other”. EU trademarks do not “take priority” over national trademarks. All European Union member states maintain their own national registers, which are a way of getting less expensive protection for those who only want to trade in one of the member state. That said, national trademarks can be used to prevent registration of an EU trademark and an EU trademark can be used to prevent registration of a national mark. There would be little point in registering trademarks if you couldn’t use them to prevent a third party obtaining a competing right.

The type of trademark you buy will therefore depends on the intentions you have for your business. If you intend to operate exclusively within the UK, a national trademark will certainly suffice. If you intend to do business in more than one EU country however, a European Union trademark will offer the necessary protection.