Who Needs to Register an EU Trademark?
The short answer is, anyone who is trading in the EU, or intends to.
As a result of the UK leaving the European Union, new EU trademarks no longer provide protection in the UK. The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) created comparable UK trademarks for all businesses with an existing EU trademark in line with the Withdrawal Agreement and this new UK trademark is separate from the original EU trademark. If you file an EU trademark now, then you will need a separate UK application if you require protection in the UK.
Leaving the EU also caused lots of businesses to question whether they need an EU trademark, as well as a UK trademark, and many aren’t aware of the scope of protection their current trademark provides. If you’re wondering whether you need to register an EU trademark for your business, Trademark Eagle has put together some useful information.
Does a UK trademark provide protection in Europe?
No, it does not. It’s key to be aware that trademark rights are territorial and national trademarks are not protected outside of their jurisdiction. So, a UK trademark only provides protection in the UK.
Once you have registered a UK trademark, your rights will be protected in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and it is still possible for someone else to register a similar trademark elsewhere in Europe, and further afield. All European Union member states also have their own national registers too, which can be used to file a national trademark application. However, the costs of national applications are often greater than filing for an EU trademark, which covers the 27 member states in 1 application.
It’s worth noting that it isn’t possible to purchase a ‘worldwide’ trademark and it’s very common for large businesses that operate all over the world to register trademarks in the different countries in which they trade. However, some systems can provide protection in multiple countries, such as the Madrid Protocol system which is a registration process administered through the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and we are happy to advise you on international marks filed using this system.
When should you file for an EU trademark?
Simply put, if you don’t trade outside of the UK, a UK-only trademark should be sufficient. However, if you operate in the European Union, then it’s incredibly important to ensure you’re able to trade in these countries and a search is strongly recommended before you begin trading. If someone else already owns the same trademark, or a similar mark, then this may preclude you from safely using your mark in the EU. Securing protection for your trademark in the EU gives you an assurance that you own the brand, and it enables you to take action against someone who acquires a competing trademark right.
When deciding whether you need to protect yourself in the UK or EU, or both, you need to consider the future plans for your business. Even if you’re currently operating a small local business in the UK, if there’s a chance that you will operate in any EU country in the future, having an EU trademark is strongly recommended. Conducting a trademark search of the EU Register and filing an application will help you to get the necessary protection you’re going to need in the future.
It’s never too early to register an EU trademark if you intend to do business in other countries and just because you solely operate in the UK now, doesn’t mean that you should wait to make an EU trademark application. If you delay filing, you risk someone else registering your trademark in the EU before you and this can cause all sorts of issues when you decide to expand your business. So, it’s often beneficial to apply for a UK and EU trademark at the same time.
Where does an EU trademark cover?
When you register a trademark at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), it will cover all member 27 states of the EU. As mentioned above, EU trademarks are no longer protected trademarks in the UK. Therefore, if you want to operate in the EU and the UK, you will need to make two trademark applications.
Registering an EU trademark is a cost-effective way to get protection throughout the European Union without having to bear the cost and hassle associated with making several applications to national registers. Obtaining EU-wide protection will make trading abroad or expanding into Europe much easier and it can help to prevent common problems with trademark infringement.
How long does it take to register an EU Trademark?
EU trademarks are registered on a first come first served basis and therefore, you shouldn’t put off making an EU trademark application. Typically, the registration process for EU trademarks will have a processing time of around 6 to 9 months, which is slightly longer than UK trademarks, and you won’t be protected until the registration process is complete.
This timeframe doesn’t include any objections and sometimes, it can take longer to register your application than anticipated. EU trademarks are published for a non-extendable period of 3 months and during this time oppositions can be filed. To try and prevent delays in the registration process, it’s beneficial to get some advice from Trademark Eagle before making your EU trademark application. We can help you to avoid objections before filing and we conduct trademark searches of the EUIPO before advising on the best way to prevent objections and oppositions.
Getting assistance with an EU trademark application
If you would like to register an EU trademark for your business, this is something Trademark Eagle can assist you with. Currently we look after around 900 EU trademarks. We offer a leading online trademark registration service, and our experienced team can help you to protect your business with an EU trademark. Our professional service will make registering a trademark as hassle-free as possible and we are so confident in our ability to help you search, register and protect your trademark that we provide a money-back guarantee http://localhost/trademarkabout-us/the-trademark-eagle-promise/.
A note about European trademarks vs trademarks registered in the EU
Europe is made up of 44 countries currently. Of these only 27 are members of the EU. As we have said, an EU trademark covers the 27 countries in a single application. However, if you want to register in any of the other countries (Switzerland and Norway as examples) then you will need to file a separate application and Trademark Eagle are happy to discuss the best way for achieving the protection you need.
To find out more about UK, EU or international trademark applications, get in touch with Trademark Eagle today.