Trademark Registration in Belgium
Register a Trademark in BelgiumUpdated on Thursday 06th August 2020
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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.
Do you need a trademark?
Trademarks are useful for expressing the uniqueness of a company. They help customers differentiate between companies and distinguish between products or services. A company’s distinctive element can be its logo, however, legal entities can also choose to trademark sounds, a combinations of colors or words as well as other elements that are important to their image and how they are set apart on the market from other companies.
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.
Beglium is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
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.
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.
Trademark registration with BOIP is valid for ten tears 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:
- 244: the application fee for Benelux trademark registration (valid for 10 years);
- 440: the accelerated application fee for the 10-year Benelux trademark protection;
- 263: the renewal fee for another ten-yea period;
- 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.
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 throughout the trademark registration in Belgium procedure and can tell you more about the filing process for the trademark application.
Please contact our attorneys in Belgium for more details about doing business in Belgium.