You can only obtain a valid trademark, if you are the first person to register it. A trademark must meet the availability requirement, which means that an identical or similar trademark must not have been registered previously by someone else for the same territory (see the principle of territoriality) and for similar products or services (see principle of speciality).

Before filing, it is very important to check whether the sign you want to protect has already been filed or registered as a trademark.

Thanks to information technologies, it is, now, possible for everyone to carry out such a search easily in the databases of the trademark offices.

A new search tool, the TM view database, has now been made available online, as part of the cooperation between the European Union Intellectual Property Office, which is responsible for registering Community trademarks, and the national trademark offices.

The database contains information on all trademark applications and registered trademarks from national trademark offices in the European Union, the OHIM  and a number of international partner offices outside the EU - in particular  the United States, Russia, Korea , Morocco , Mexico  and Turkey .

TMview displays various trademark information. This information is: accessible free of charge, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, updated daily by the trademark offices, and available in 27 languages.

To search for possible trademarks filed or registered for the Benelux, you can also consult the free online trademark register provided by the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property. You can also ask this Office to make a paid search for previous applications for you.

The websites of the European Union Office for Intellectual Property and the World Intellectual Property Organisation also offer online search tools in their registers, either for Community trademarks for the EUIPO (eSearch tool), or for international trademarks for the WIPO (Madrid Monitor tool).

You can check not only whether a sign has already been filed or registered by others, but also for which products or services it was done. The principle of speciality) means that you can register the same sign for totally different products or services - unless it is a well-known trademark.

Experts such as trademark agents can also access specialised databases; their advice will be useful for more detailed searches, which can offer greater security.

Last update
15 February 2023