For full, up-to-date information on Benelux trademarks, see the website of the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property.
Filing the request
Where and how?
The request may be filed directly at the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP). The easiest way is to file your request online via BOIP Online Filing. If you would like to file your request in person, by post or by fax, here is a request form with an explanatory note. Please note that if you file a request by fax, the original forms must arrive at the Office within 14 days.Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP)
NL-2591 XR The Hague
Tel: 0031 (0)70 349 11 11
Fax: 0031 (0)70 347 57 08
You can also file your request through the Belgian Office for Intellectual Property (OPRI) by sending it to:FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy
Directorate-General Market Regulation and Organisation
Office for Intellectual Property
Trademark and Design Division
Boulevard du Roi Albert II, 16
Tel.: 02 277 52 97
Fax: 02 277 52 77
When filing your trademark registration request, you may want to receive assistance from an expert although you are not required to do so. Trademark agents have a great deal of experience and may help you avoid errors in your request or the absence of certain conditions of protection which could cause your request to be rejected.
You must also pay the filing tax on time in order for your request to be valid.
Formal search (and potential search for prior art)
During the first phase of the registration procedure, the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property will check whether all formalities have been accomplished; in particular, they will verify whether your application is complete. If not, the Office will ask you to provide any missing information within a certain period of time. Once these essential elements are in place, you will receive a filing date. This date is very important because it sets your priority right in comparison with other requests, if it is a first request. So make sure your application is complete!
Before filing the trademark request (or at the time of doing so), you can ask the Benelux Office to check whether the sign for which you are requesting a trademark right has not been previously registered. This is highly recommended, as you do not perform this search yourself! The results of this search, called a search for prior art, will be provided to you for information purposes only. The Benelux Office cannot invoke these results in order to refuse your request. However, the holder of a prior trademark may oppose the registration of your trademark. We recommend that you reconsider your request if it seems that someone else has registered an identical or similar trademark for identical or similar products or services.
Examination of absolute grounds for refusal of registration
The Benelux Office may refuse a registration request on the basis of what are called “absolute grounds for refusal”. These are requirements in terms of the distinctive character or legality of the trademark. For example, if the Office considers that the verbal trademark which you wish to register is purely descriptive (type, quality, destination etc.) of your product, your request will be refused. In general, this refusal is provisional in order to give you time to respond to the Office’s objections. If the Office persists in its opinion, the trademark registration will be fully or partially refused.
Applicants may introduce an appeal against this refusal before the Court of Appeal of Brussels, the Court of The Hague or the Court of Appeal of Luxembourg. The closest relevant court is determined by the address of the applicant, the agent or the postal address mentioned in the filing. Therefore, an applicant with an address in Belgium may introduce an appeal before the Court of Appeal of Brussels.
The opposition procedure
Following the formal examination, the trademark request is published. Applicants or holders of prior trademarks may introduce an opposition procedure within two months. The opposing party must prove that they are the holder (or applicant) of a prior trademark which is identical or similar to the requested sign and which was registered for products which are identical or similar to their own products or services. Under certain conditions, holders of well-known trademarks may also introduce opposition procedures. Opposition procedures are handled by the BOIP which will accept or reject the trademark registration request according to whether the request was justified.
The parties may introduce an appeal against the office’s decision before the Court of Appeal of Brussels, the Court of The Hague or the Court of Appeal of Luxembourg. The nearest relevant court is determined according to the parties' addresses. Therefore, if the applicant has an address in Belgium, the Court of Appeal of Brussels will be the relevant court.
Registration and publication of the trademark
If everything is in order, the trademark is registered in the Benelux register . Registration is mentioned in the Compendium of Benelux Patents after this registration date, you are truly the holder of the trademark and may enforce your rights as such.
Duration and renewal
More information on the taxes which must be paid.