What a trade mark protects
Registering a trade mark gives you exclusive rights (The holder or holders of the IP can exclude anyone else from using the IP in question) over distinctive signs – such as names, logos, colours, images, patterns, shapes, packagings of goods, or sounds – which identify your products and distinguish your goods or services from others.
How long can you protect your trade mark for?
In most countries, trade mark protection lasts 10 years, starting from the date of your trade mark application. You can then renew your trade mark protection for 10 years each time, for as long as you like. When you own a trade mark, you can sell it to someone else or give them permission to use it through a trade mark licensing agreement.
How you register a trade mark
- If you only trade in one EU country, you will only need protection in that country. In this case, you can register a trade mark at national level. Contact your national office.
- If you only trade in Belgium, the Netherlands or Luxemburg, you should register your trade mark at the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP). This gives you protection in these three countries.
- If you need protection in all EU countries, you should register your trade mark with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The EUIPO website also features a digital office, where you can learn more about trade marks in the EU, and get personalised support on intellectual property.
- For international protection, in particular if you trade outside the EU, you can register your trade mark with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
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