Investors who are interested in opening a company in Belgium and growing their business here can apply for trademark registration in Belgium with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP). This Office offers registration options not only for trademarks but also for designs and ideas and it is suitable for those who are interested in entering the Benelux area.
Intellectual property (IP) is a broader term for ideas, identifiers and concepts that cannot be expressed tangibly but are created by entrepreneurs who are interested in protecting them. Countries have well-developed IP and Belgium is no exception. Our team of lawyers in Belgium is able to provide interested individuals with specific data about the laws in force.
In this article, we describe the use and the process of trademark registration in Belgium for those who are ready to take this step. For more details, as well as assistance for investors who need it, reaching out to our team of lawyers is a suitable option.
| Quick Facts || |
| Types of marks available for trademark registration in Belgium || Word mark, colour mark, shape mark, multimedia mark, hologram mark, motion or position mark |
Multiple class application
| Yes |
Pre-application trademark availability verification
| Yes |
| Language of the trademark application || |
Dutch, French or English for trademark registration in Belgium with the BOIP
| Minimum filing requirements in Belgium || The applicant's identification details and address, the legal form of the company, the trademark class and the types of goods or services it will serve, trademark representation |
| Mandatory trademark representation || |
| Trademark registration fee in Belgium || |
From € 244 for a Belgium trademark registration with the Benelux Intellectual Property Office
| Time to complete the trademark registration (approx.) || 3 months |
| Trademark application through local representative || Yes |
| Power of attorney requirements || Yes, the power of attorney is used when the application is submitted on behalf of another party |
| Opposition period || 2 months |
| Trademark validity || 10 years |
| Trademark renewal conditions || The request for renewal must be submitted in due time |
| Conditions to revoke the trademark || Trademark is unused |
| Assistance for trademark registration in Belgium || Complete assistance form our team of lawyers in Belgium |
Types of trademarks in Belgium
Before investors commence the process of trademark registration in Belgium, it is useful to know what is considered such as mark:
- Words: a word mark is a common form and this is the distinctive name under which a certain product is marketed;
- Logos: these are figurative marks and they can either be simple ones (logos or labels) or more complex ones that also contain words;
- Colors and sounds: companies can register a certain color or a combination thereof if they are essential for recognizing that company; the same can apply for sounds, most notably jingles;
- Others: businesses can also register a certain shape (for a recipient, for example) as well as a pattern composed of a set of elements that is part of the company’s identity; other types of marks can be motion marks, hologram or multimedia marks; our attorneys in Belgium can help you with more details.
Another important issue to keep in mind if interested in trademark registration in Belgium is that trademarks can be individual or collective. The first category is used only by the company that owns it (and most trademarks fall under this category) while the second can be used by the members of an association.
Trademarks in Belgium must be registered in order to grant their owner exclusive rights. In order to be valid, trademarks in Belgium must be distinctive, lawful and must be available.
Our law firm in Belgium
can assist you throughout the trademark registration procedure
and can help you determine which are the products or services that you must seek protection for.
Before registering a trademark in Belgium
The first step business owners in Belgium
must take is to design a sign that will serve as a trademark for their company
. In principle, any signs can be considered trademarks. They can include words, images, colors, shapes and even sounds. The trademark must be associated with specific products or services, thus the entrepreneurs must also decide for which products he or she will register the trademark
It is very important to check the availability of a trademark in Belgium before going forward and registering it. The chosen sign must be available for the products or services for which the business owner submits the application. The availability can be checked online, using the online trademark register of the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property. The service is free and contains trademarks registered in the Benelux area as well as pending requests.
Before trademark registration in Belgium, entrepreneurs need to make sure that their trademark application will not be rejected. Some of the common grounds for refusal include the following:
- The mark is too descriptive: the trademark (especially a word one) should not clearly describe the properties of the product/service not it should promote these;
- No distinction: the trademark is not a distinctive one among the chosen category of products/services (the description is too precise, for example);
- It is misleading: a trademark will not be accepted if it has the potential to confuse clients (such as using a drawing of a kiwi fruit for a brand of coffee);
- Immoral: a mark will not be accepted if it is contrary to public order or morality (this is rather rare);
- Contains certain elements: trademarks containing flags, official emblems or armorial bearings of other states will not be accepted.
If you would like to know more about the grounds for refusal when applying for Benelux trademark registration in Belgium please contact the experts at our law firm in Belgium.
Choosing products and services
Trademark registration in Belgium involves selecting specific products and services that you want to protect under your trademark. These products and services are categorized into different classes, and you need to specify which classes are relevant to your trademark application.
In summary, classes 1-34 cover products, and classes 35-45 cover services
, according to the Nice Classification, which is the international classification system for trademarks.
Our lawyers in Belgium advise you to choose only the products and services you intend to use the trademark for. This helps avoid the risk of someone opposing your registration if you don't use it within 5 years of registration. Additionally, you cannot add new products or services after your trademark is published, so it's essential to be specific in your application.
Opposition period and publication of trademarks
During a period of two months following the publication of the trademark application in Belgium, applicants or holders of earlier trademarks have the opportunity to file an opposition. To do so, they must demonstrate that they are the holder (or applicant) of an earlier trademark that is either identical or similar to the sign applied for. Additionally, they need to show that their trademark has been registered for goods or services that are identical or similar to those covered by the new trademark application.
BOIP is responsible for processing the oppositions filed against the trademark application. Both the applicant and the party filing the opposition, have the option to appeal against the decision made by the BOIP.
If there are no successful oppositions or if the oppositions are resolved in favor of the applicant, the trademark is registered in Belgium in the Benelux register. The registration is then published in the Benelux Trademarks Journal.
Our Belgian law firm
handles opposition proceedings
and provides expert legal representation for clients involved in trademark disputes.
Trademark protection and registration in Belgium
Individuals who want to protect their trademarks in Belgium need to register their chosen trademark in Benelux. This gives the owner protection for his or her trademark within the Benelux countries (Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands).
For protection outside the Benelux, entrepreneurs can register their trademarks in the European Union. The Community trademark offers protection within the entire European Union, and only one registration is required.
If you have a trademark registered in Belgium and you want to extend your trademark protection internationally, you can also do that. The countries you want to extend your trademark to must also be part of the Madrid System. The Madrid System is an international treaty designed to simplify the process of obtaining trademark protection across multiple member countries. Our Belgian lawyers can assist in international trademark registration.
Trademark registration with BOIP is valid for ten years from the application filing date. The registration can be renewed for ten-year periods indefinitely. It is important to note that the renewal should take place six months before the expiry date of the protection in force or no more than six months after its expiry date.
Some of the common application fees for trademark registration in Belgium are listed below:
- From 244: the application fee for Benelux trademark registration (valid for 10 years);
- From 440: the accelerated application fee for the 10-year Benelux trademark protection;
- From 263: the renewal fee for another ten-year period;
- From 135: the fee for trademark renewal when this is applied for six months after the expiry date.
All of the aforementioned fees are VAT-exempt. Those who apply for registration will commonly require only one class (category of goods and services), however, an applicant can also choose to apply for multiple classes and in this case there is a fee per the second class and per each individual class starting with the third chosen one. If you need to keep track of expenses related to trademark registration, our accountants in Belgium can help.
Please note that the fees listed above can be subject to change. We advise interested entrepreneurs to check the most recent updates or reach out to our lawyers.
The specialists at our law firm in Belgium
can guide you through the trademark registration in Belgium procedure
and can tell you more about the filing process for the trademark application
Seeking professional assistance in trademark registration
Registering a trademark in Belgium involves more than a simple online search or registering a domain name. It can be a complex task to ensure that your chosen name, logo, or product can be effectively protected. By consulting with our attorneys in Belgium, you can receive immediate feedback on several crucial aspects:
- Whether your name, logo, or product can be protected;
- The best strategies for protecting your name, logo, or product, which may involve combining different intellectual property rights;
- The optimal timing for registering or recording your rights.
With the assistance of our team, you can have confidence that your trademark rights are well-protected, even down to the smallest details. This comprehensive protection is valuable, especially if you ever need to address trademark infringement issues.
Our law firm in Belgium has access to the necessary tools and knowledge to effectively manage and oversee your trademark and design rights. We ensure that your rights remain up-to-date and valid.
Investors can also rely on our local team of experts for accounting services once they open a business and register their trademark. Our accountants in Belgium offer bookkeeping, payroll, annual filing services, as well as other types of services such as tax optimization and auditing, for companies that are subject to this requirement. You can contact us for more details.
Statistics about trademark registration in Belgium
If you wish to know more about trademark registration in Belgium, here are some related statistics provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization:
- There have been 281,995 trademark applications in Belgium in 2021;
- 22,610 were resident fillings applications;
- 259,385 applications were filled abroad;
- 11,1% of applications were for advertising and business management.