Table of Contents
For complete and up-to-date information on the Benelux trademark, see the website of the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property.
Submitting the application
Since 1 October 2013, all procedures with the BOIP can also be carried out in English.
Where and how?
The application can be filed directly at the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP). The easiest way nowadays is to submit your application online via BOIP Online Filing. The BOIP also provides an explanatory note that can help you with your trademark application.
When filing your trademark application, it may be useful to have an expert who assists you - although this is not an obligation. Trademark agents have extensive experience and can prevent errors in the application or the absence of fulfilment of certain conditions for protection from leading to the application being rejected.
For an application to be valid, you also need to pay the filing fee on time.
Formal examination (and possibly prior art search)
In the first phase of the registration procedure, the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property will examine whether all the formalities have been fulfilled, by checking that the application is complete. If this is not the case, the Office will then invite you to remedy these deficiencies within a certain period of time. When the essential formalities are in order, you will receive a filing date. This date is very important, as it determines your right of priority over other applications if this is your first application. So be complete!
Before filing the trademark application, as well as at the time of filing, it is strongly recommended to carry out a prior art search. Indeed, if another person has already registered a trademark identical or similar to the trademark you wish to file, for identical or similar goods or services, this trademark is no longer available. You can, therefore, save time and money by searching for trademarks that may conflict with your own before filing your application. See "Before registering a trademark".
Conducting a search yourself is free of charge, and the information collected is essential to your application. The owner of an earlier trademark may decide to contest your application by filing an opposition (see below).
It is, therefore, advisable to reconsider your application, if it appears that someone else already registered an identical or similar trademark for identical or similar goods or services.
Examination of the absolute grounds for refusal of registration
The Benelux Office may refuse an application for registration on the basis of so-called "absolute grounds for refusal". These are the requirements regarding distinctiveness or legality of the trademark. For example, if the Office considers that the word mark you wish to register is purely descriptive of the characteristics (type, quality, destination, etc.) of your product, your application will be refused. Generally, this refusal is first communicated to you on a provisional basis so that you can respond to the Office's objections. If the Office persists in its opinion, the registration of the trademark will be fully or partly refused.
Applicants may appeal against this refusal to the Benelux Court of Justice.
Following the formal examination, the trademark application is published. Applicants or holders of earlier trademarks may file an opposition to the registration of the trademark during a period of two months. The person filing the opposition must demonstrate that he is the holder (or applicant) of an earlier trademark which is identical or similar to the sign applied for and that this trademark has been registered for goods or services identical or similar to his own goods or services. The opposition is also available to the holder of a well-known trademark, under certain conditions. The opposition is processed by the BOIP which, depending on the merits of the application, may accept or reject the application for registration of the trademark.
The parties concerned may appeal against the Office's decision to the Benelux Court of Justice.
Registration and publication of the trademark
If all goes well, the trademark is registered in the Benelux register. The registration is published in the Benelux Trademarks Journal. From this date of registration, you become the holder of the trademark and you can exercise your rights.
Term and renewal
More information on the term of the trademark and its renewal.
More information on the fees to be paid for trademark protection.