Overview of Benelux Trademark Registration Service

LegalForce is one of the Largest Trademark Filers in the world. Filing a trademark application is easy and painless. You can finish your trademark in 5 minutes.

Benelux Trademark Registration

Standard Package of Trademark Services $899 USD + govt fee

(749.17 Euro)
  • In the Standard Package, Filing a trademark application is easy and painless. You will be guided through a simple workflow to fill out the information needed to publish your trademark on Trademarkia or file your trademark with the government. If you select the government option, a licensed trademark attorney will represent you in the filing your trademark after performing a conflict check.
  • Go through a simple workflow

    All information provided will be kept in absolute confidentiality. Centralized, secure access for your brand trademarks.

  • Select which of the 170+ countries you wish to register

    Top Global IP Attorneys - Easy Online Form, Credibility, and Experience!

  • LegalForce does the rest. All processes will be performed in a timely manner

    Your trademark application will be filed correctly. You will be informed periodically about the process.

World Class Global Trademark Attorneys at Leading Law Firm.

LegalForce - one of the Largest Trademark Filers in the world. You can file and register your trademark in 170+ countries in the world through LegalForce Attorneys, including in the United States, China, Japan, the European Union, Korea, and many others. With the Standard Package, you follow step-by-step instructions designed by world class global trademark attorneys at leading law firm.

It's easy and the protection lasts indefinitely in most countries

Trademarks are names, logos, or short slogans that help distinguish a good or service from other goods and services in a particular geographic area. Once a trademark is issued by a government agency, the protection lasts indefinitely in most countries – so long as you use your mark in commerce. Filing for Trademark Protection through LegalForce Trademarkia is easy! See why LegalForce Service is superior to other options >>

Automated reminders keeps you up to date

Trademarkia can also automatically provide you with reminders and keep you up to date of your status after you file your trademark application. Trademarkia's automated reminders help you so that you don’t have to deal with government bureaucracy or forget important dates.

Background

In 1965, the treaty establishing a Benelux Court of Justice was signed. It entered into force in 1975. The Court, composed of judges from the highest courts of the three States, has to guarantee the uniform interpretation of common legal rules. This international judicial institution is located in Brussels. The Benelux is particularly active in the field of intellectual property. The three countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg (België/Belgique/Belgien - Les Pays Bas/Nederland/Die Niederlande - Lëtzebuerg/Luxembourg/Luxemburg), established a Benelux Trademarks Office and a Benelux Designs Office, both situated in The Hague. In 2005, they concluded a treaty establishing a Benelux Organisation for Intellectual Property which replaced both offices upon its entry into force on September 1, 2006.

Who May Apply?

Any natural person or legal entity may apply for and register a Benelux trademark.

What Can Be Registered?

The definition of a trademark is so wide that all signs can be registered, provided they meet the requirements set forth in the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property (BCIP), i.e., the sign must be - capable of being represented graphically; and -capable of distinguishing the goods and/or services of an enterprise.

What Cannot Be Registered?

In addition to those signs which do not meet the requirements set forth in Article 2(1) of the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property (BCIP), certain other signs may not be registered as trademarks, namely: (1) marks which are devoid of any distinctive character; (2) marks which consist exclusively of signs or indications that may serve, in trade, to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographic origin or time of production of goods or the provision of services or other characteristics of goods or service; (3) marks which consist exclusively of signs or indications that have become customary in the current language or in bona fide and established trade practice (4) signs which consist exclusively of - the shape resulting from the nature of the goods themselves; - a shape of goods necessary to obtain a technical result; or - a shape which gives substantial value to the goods; (5) marks which are contrary to public policy or accepted principles of morality; (6) marks which can deceive the public, e.g., as to the nature, quality, or geographic origin of the goods or service; (7) signs which are liable to create confusion with a well-known mark within the meaning of Article Gbis of the Paris Convention and which belongs to a third party that has not authorized the use of such sign; (8) signs which consist of or include armorial bearings, flags, and other emblems of state (Article 2(4)(a) BCIP in conjunction with Article 6ter Paris Convention); and (9) marks for wines or spirits which contain or consist of a geographic indication of origin, with respect to wines or spirits not having this origin.' The first three absolute grounds for refusal set out above do not apply where the trademark applicant can prove that his or her sign has acquired distinctiveness through use before the application was filed. It must be shown that the trademark has acquired distinctive character throughout those parts of the Benelux in which grounds for refusal exist. For marks consisting of one or more words of an official language of the Benelux, it must be established that the mark has acquired distinctiveness through use throughout the linguistic area in which the mark is deemed to lack distinctiveness. The seventh absolute ground of refusal is linked to the protection granted to well-known or famous marks under Article Gbis of the Paris Convention. This protection exists even if the well-known trademark is not registered but is restricted to trademarks relating to goods, not services. Article 16 of TRIPS, however, extends this protection to services marks. Unfortunately, no definition of a well-known mark is provided in either Article Gbis of the Paris Convention or Article 16 of TRIPS. Therefore, whether a trademark can be considered well-known must be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Rights

A trademark registration does not entitle its owner to prohibit a third party from using in the course of trade: (a) his or her own name or address; (b) indications concerning the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographic origin, time of production of the goods or the provision of the service or other characteristics of the goods or service; and (c) the trademark, where necessary to indicate the intended purpose of goods or services, provided the trademark is used in accordance with honest practices in industrial or commercial matters. In addition, a trademark right cannot be raised against the use, in the course of trade, of a similar sign which is protected by earlier local rights in one of the Benelux countries (e.g., copyright). A trademark owner can also not use his or her rights against goods which have been put on the market within the European Economic Area by the trademark owner or with the owner's consent. This is the exhaustion of rights rule.

Filing Requirements

Applications can be filed either on-line or in hard copy, in Dutch or French. The following information must be provided in the on-line or paper application form: a) the name, address, and, where applicable, corporate form of the applicant; b) the name and address of the applicant's representative, if applicable;' c) the trademark; d) the goods and services for which the trademark is applied, with reference to the Nice Agreement classification numbers; e) the type of trademark, i.e., word mark, figurative mark, a combined word and figurative mark, a three-dimensional mark or any other type of mark; f) a color claim, if applicable, accompanied by the official color references; and g) the signature of the applicant or of his or her representative. For figurative marks, including color marks, sound marks, and 3-D marks, the mark must be reproduced within the specific box provided on the application form. Two additional copies of the sign must be included. The reproduction must be of a high quality in order to allow scanning. It must be a professional quality print on matte paper in a square or rectangular format of no more than eight by eight centimeters and at least 1.5 by 1.5 centimeters. All elements of the trademark must be clearly legible and distinguishable. A description of the mark not exceeding 50 words, detailing its distinctive features, can be added. Seniority can be claimed under the Paris Convention, provided the Benelux application is filed within a period of six months after the earlier application. Applicants that do not have a domicile or registered" office within the European Union or the European Economic Area must provide an address within the EU or the EEA. It is not required to submit a power of attorney with an application.

Evaluation & Review

Upon receipt of an application, the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) will assess the mark against the absolute grounds of refusal to determine if it is fit for registration.' Trademarks registered under the accelerated procedure2 are also examined on absolute grounds of refusal. The trademark will, in other words, still be assessed on absolute grounds for refusal after registrationY3b ut the owner can immediately rely on its registration. The owner must, of course, take into account the risk of cancellation of its registration on the basis of absolute ground. If the BOIP concludes that one or more absolute grounds of refusal apply to the trademark application, it will temporarily refuse to register it.

Duration

Trademarks are registered for a term of 10 years, starting from the filing date. The registration can be renewed indefinitely for subsequent 10-year terms. As a rule, renewal must be requested and the corresponding fees paid within a period of six months prior to expiry of the registration. However, it is possible to request renewal up to six months after expiry of the renewal deadline, provided an additional fee is paid. The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property sends a reminder to trademark owners six months before the renewal deadline.

Use

A registered trademark must be put to genuine use within a period of five years from its date of registration, unless the lack of genuine use can be justified with reference to an acceptable cause. Article 2.26(3) BCIP cites three examples of genuine use: -Use of a trademark in a manner that differs slightly from the manner in which it is registered, but which does not affect the mark's distinctive character; -Affixing the trademark to goods for export purposes only; and -Use of a trademark by a third party, provided the trademark owner has consented to such use.

Domain Names

DNS.BE (www.dns.be) is the administrator of the .be ccTLD. Names within the .be domain must be registered through an accredited agent. Applicants are deemed to be aware of DNS.BE's general terms and conditions, which state inter alia that a domain name should not violate third-party rights, including trademarks. Domain names are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Apart from regular proceedings based on trademark law, there are two specific remedies against the abusive registration of domain names in Belgium: ADR proceedings and cease-and-desist proceedings. DNS.BE dispute resolution policy: Disputes involving .be domain names can be brought before the Belgian Centre for Arbitration and Mediation, CEPANI. Such proceedings are swift (they take approximately 55 days) and are conducted online. The claimant can request the assignment or cancellation of a domain name. In order to prevail, the claimant must be able to demonstrate that (i) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark, trade name, company or statutory name, a geographic designation, a personal name or the name of a geographic entity in which the claimant has rights; (ii) the domain name holder has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name; and (iii) the holder's domain name has been registered or used in bad faith. Bad faith will be found if the circumstances indicate that the domain name was registered or acquired primarily for the purpose of selling, renting or otherwise transferring it to the trademark holder or a competitor of the latter, for valuable consideration and in excess of the costs directly related to the domain name. Cease-and-desist proceedings The Act of June 26, 2003, on the abusive registration of domain names allows claimants to petition the courts to uphold their rights in domain names. The act provides for specific cease-and-desist proceedings, i.e., proceedings on the merits initiated and conducted with the speed of summary proceedings. The act applies to the holders of any kind of gTLD or ccTLD residing in Belgium and all .be domain names. Article 4 of the Act provides that a registration shall be deemed abusive (i) when the registered domain name is identical or confusingly similar notably to a trademark or trade name and (ii) the registrant has no right or legitimate interest in the name in question and (iii) proceeded to register or use it for the sole purpose of harming or unduly deriving profit from a third party. A permanent and immediately enforceable order to strike or assign the domain name as well as publication of the decision, if appropriate, can be obtained. The Netherlands: The central registry for domains in the .nl ccTLD is SIDN (Stichting Internet Domeinregistratie Nederland-www.sind.nl). An application to register a name within the.nl domain must be made through a registrar. SIDN registers names on a first come, first served basis. SIDN may, however, reject an application if the registration is manifestly illegal (which is inconsistent with public order and decency). Domain disputes may be referred to the Dutch courts if the parties fail to resolve the matter. The courts will then determine whether the domain name should be relinquished or transferred. SIDN also offers alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The dispute resolution rules offer a speedy, straightforward, and inexpensive alternative to judicial proceedings. Disputes are resolved by qualified independent specialists in the field of domain names and intellectual property rights. SIDN is not involved in the resolution of disputes. Participation in ADR does not preclude either party from taking legal action before, after, or simultaneously with the dispute resolution procedure. Luxembourg: Restena Foundation (www.dns.lu) is the administrator of the ccTLD.lu. Names within the .lu domain must be registered through an accredited registrar. Domain names are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Conflicts pertaining to domain names which cannot be settled between the parties must be submitted to the courts. Domain names referring to Luxembourg cities or regions shall be automatically refused.

Enforcement

Enforcement proceedings are specific to each of the Benelux countries. Summary proceedings and proceedings on the merits are available in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, of course, but are conducted in accordance with the applicable procedural laws. Also, proceedings can be specific to one country, such as, e.g., measures which can be obtained on an ex parte basis. The next paragraphs provide an example hereof. Civil remedies: In the event of trademark infringement, several remedies are available including injunctions, damages, surrender of profits for bad faith infringement, supplier information, recall, delivery up of production and sales data andlor infringing goods and publication of the decision under certain circumstances. These remedies can be requested either in proceedings on the merits or in preliminary proceedings, for the most part. The Belgian Judicial Code' provides for a specific procedure, the so called "descriptive seizure" (saisie-descriptionheslag inzake namaak), which entitles the holder of an intellectual property right, including trademark rights, to petition the competent court to do the following on the basis of an ex parte application (i.e., without fist informing the alleged infringing party): -Appoint an expert to describe (i) the allegedly infringing goods and methods as well as (ii) any instruments pertaining directly to the infringement and all plans, documents, calculations, etc. which evidence (a) the alleged infringement and (b) the extent of the infringement; - Prevent the infringing party from disposing of the allegedly infringing products generally subject to a penalty. The advantage of this procedure is that it is swift and effective since the other party is not aware of the requested measures (i.e., the element of surprise). The expert can moreover examine the accounts of the alleged infringing party with a view to establishing the existence, origin, and extent of the infringement. When an alleged infringer is served with a descriptive seizure order, it can object by filing a motion to set aside (tierce opposition/ derdenverzet) the court's decision. The applicant for descriptive relief must, within one month after submission of the expert's report, bring an action on the merits against the alleged infringer. If an action on the merits is not commenced within this time period, the descriptive seizure order shall cease to have effect. In the Netherlands, the owner of a registered trademark can petition the competent court on an ex parte basis to order a bailiff to seize the infringing goods andlor safeguard relevant evidence and proceed to make in any place a detailed description of the goods and/or take evidence, with or without samples. A party who improperly maintains a request for seizure can be ordered to pay damages. In Luxembourg, there is no procedure for descriptive relief with respect to trademarks. However, Article 72 of the Luxembourg Act of April 18,2001 on copyrights and related rights provides for a so-called descriptive seizure procedure (saisie-contrefacon). Therefore, in those rare cases where a trademark is also protected by copyright, the trademark owner can, in theory, petition the president of the competent court of first instance (tribunal d'arrondissement) to appoint an expert to describe any objects relating to the infringement of the copyright in question. Criminal sanctions: In Belgium, the criminal sanctions for trademark infringement are a prison term of three months to three years and/or a fine of EUR 100 to EUR 100,000. In the Netherlands, the maximum penalty for trademark infringement is a one-year prison term or a fine of EUR 67,000. Intentional infringement on a commercial basis-a new offense targeting professional counterfeiters--can be punished by up to four years in prison or a maximum fine of EUR 67,000. In addition to responding to requests by IP right owners, public prosecutors may act on their own initiative to protect such rights if doing so would further a particular public interest. In Luxembourg, only civil remedies, not criminal sanctions, are available for trademark infringement. Customs intervention: When, under the Anti-piracy Reg~lat ionc,~us toms officers detain goods suspected to violate certain intellectual property rights, the holder of these rights must take action within three to 10 days to have the counterfeit nature of the detained goods confirmed. In many instances, a criminal complaint is filed. There is, however, also a possibility to start civil proceedings. In Belgium and the Netherlands, trademark holders can also make use of a simplified procedure provided for by Article 9 of the Anti- . piracy Regulation. In brief, this procedure allows the trademark holder to request the addressee of the counterfeit goods, the person who submitted the customs declaration, or the holder or owner of the goods to voluntarily abandon them for destruction. If the person contacted does not expressly object to destruction of the goods within the specified time period (three to 10 days), which can be extended by another 10 days if the circumstances so justify, consent will be deemed granted. The customs authorities will then be instructed to proceed with the destruction.