How to Register a European Community Trademark
The registration process of a European Trademark can be a minefield if not carefully and meticulously carried out.
Knowledge is Power, Searching is Everything.
Like many processes the initial groundwork conducted at the start of a Trademark process is vital. Before commencing with any application you will need to ensure that your application does not infringe on any other registered Trademark. Not conducting searches ensures that you are unaware of any examination or potential opponents that could arise and unless you are extremely lucky, many applications filed without the proper searches will usually result in failure.
Whilst there are many online searches available to check the availability of your Trademark, they will usually only highlight exact or very similar variants. Trademarks can be opposed by other similar registrations that feel your application could be deemed similar to their own and therefore potentially threaten their Trademark. This can lead to loss of fees and also further costs through opposition proceedings. A 'Full Trademark Search' or 'IP Report' can be conducted by most Trademark professionals and can ensure that you are aware of any potential pitfalls, prior to starting your application.
When considering a European Trademark Application you will need to ensure alongside other UK Trademark Registrations and European (or "Community") Trademarks, individual European Trademark Offices are also searched. Whilst not automatically notified, other similar earlier Trademarks filed in individual member states can successfully oppose your application as you will be attempting to gain rights within that country via your Community Trademark application. Many searches will not include these individual countries, prior to commencing with any European "Community" Trademark Application ensure these individual Trademark Offices are checked. Our IP Report includes all relevant European Trademark Offices and can be sent within 24 hours, find out more.
When to Register
It is better to be proactive and seek to register your trademark early. If a search highlights that your chosen term is available, registering it there and then would be advisable. If you do not take the opportunity to secure your trademark at this point, you run the risk of another entity securing the trademark prior to you and owning the intellectual property rights to your name. This can then lead to you being enforced to change your name through a costly rebrand. Whilst you may hold prior use of the name, the burden of proof will fall on you to prove so which can lead to costly legal fees trying to enforce your position.
How much does it cost?
European Trademark Application costs can vary, mainly due to the number of classifications your application may require and also whether you seek to use representatives to manage your application. A standard Community Trademark Application includes up to three classifications within its standard application fee with additional classification fees applicable to applications with more than four classifications.
To enquire about our fee structure please click here or alternatively give us a call.
How long does it take?
A Community Trademark Application must pass two main stages in its process to be classed a registered Trademark. Any unforeseen events throughout this such as examination queries or opposition notices can cause delays with your application and therefore increase the approximate time scale.
It will take approximately 4-6 months to successfully register a Community Trade Mark application considering no examination delays or opposition proceedings are raised. Below we detail the stages of an application, found in 'The Filing Process'.
The filing process including preparation, examination, publication & opposition.