Benelux includes 🇧🇪 Belgium, the 🇳🇱 Netherlands and 🇱🇺 Luxembourg. A mark in Benelux will cover all 3 countries.
💡 The best idea for your first mark is a wordmark, which means a simple word without any design, like "Apple", "BMW". It gives the broadest scope of protection. Additionally, wordmarks are rarely changed, unlike logos. Usually a wordmark is a foundation of your Intellectual Property, most businesses start from it.
A logo as the first mark is rarely recommended as it has limited uses. You can't use it when speaking and it can be only seen when displayed or printed. This is an important limitation of its use.
A combined mark is a solid choice in Benelux as in Benelux it is registered as a combination of the logo and wordmark.
Read more about how to renew a mark in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg; What can be registered; Classes and how to manage your mark after registration:
1. What can be registered in Benelux?
Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are treated as one common area - common area - BE-NE-LUX - with a uniform trademark law and one trademark office. Benelux trademarks are therefore valid in the three Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg). There are no national trademark laws in any of the Benelux countries, therefore, the national trademarks are not registered in these countries. There are currently two ways to obtain trademark registration covering these 3 countries: to apply for registration at the Trademark Office of the European Union - this will cover all 28 countries of the EU - or to apply for the trademark at the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP).
The main difference is the price - the fee for registering a mark in Benelux is considerably lower than the fee in the European Union.
1.1 Trademark Classification in Benelux
A trademark must be filed or registered in association with products on which it is going to be used (for example, Coca-Cola is for beverages), the same applies to services. All products/services are divided into 45 classes. The names of the products and services are standard but in some countries, you can add custom terms.
The terms are created by the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP), the EUIPO and by the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization).
The main list of acceptable descriptions of goods and services is the Nice classification, but each country will have an additional set of terms and might use slightly different items.
1.2 Registrable and unregistrable marks
If you want to choose the best items to cover all your products and services you can have us help you. Choosing the right services is crucial as if the list is too short, your mark will have no room to develop, and if it is too vague it might be objected by the Trademark Office. An ideal list includes around 10 items, a combination of general and precise terms.
Did you know that there are marks that can NEVER be registered? Those are generic or descriptive marks, for example, you can't register CAR for cars, FAST CAR for cars. The same applies to misleading marks or marks that are offensive. Also, a country might have its own rules, for example, in the UK you can't register images of crowns similar to the Royal Crown and in China disparaging marks are not allowed. If any word has even a very slight offensive meaning, most likely it will be refused in China.
1.3 Weak and Strong Trademarks
There are strong marks and weak marks. A weak mark in the course of an extensive use might become strong, think of Booking.com as an example. But strong marks are easier to defend and register. Marks that are descriptive to some degree are considered weak, while strong marks have no meaning, for instance, Google.
The strongest marks are fanciful or made-up words, but from the marketing point of view, a suggestive mark might be preferable. A suggestive mark is a mark that SUGGEST a quality of the product. Microsoft is a suggestive mark, you understand that it has something to do with software and this makes it easier for a regular customer to remember the mark.
1.4 Similarity in Benelux
Confusingly similar marks in Benelux can potentially block your mark and prevent it from getting registered. Confusingly similar marks can sound similar, mean similar things or look similar. The general conception of similarity is that the new mark might mislead consumers into believing that there is an association between the prior mark and the new mark.
There is no 100% algorithm to determine similar marks, each case is different and we rely on the experience of our attorneys.
1.5 Trademark Study in Benelux
A study is a very detailed trademark search, when we check all the valid trademarks to find out if your mark can be registered. You get a report with the list of all similar marks and our recommendations if you should file your trademark as is or if you should change something about your mark, for example, if you should add a logo to the mark.
Getting a study makes the process more predictable. It's like getting a map before going into a forest. You know what to expect and you can get prepared for what lies ahead.
2. Free Trademark Search in Benelux
We offer an online free trademark search in Benelux, you can request it on this page. It's free and we'll check the register within a day. Our search is carried out by professional trademark consultants and this will increase its value.
We may spot that your mark is descriptive or generic and inform you beforehand. Some marks can't be registered in Benelux and we will notify you if this is the case.
We send search results within a day and we might contact you even earlier to ask about your business niche and your products. You will get a list of identical marks and can request additional details. That's free as well. Sometimes we can get additional details of a trademark only from a special paid database. In this case, we will inform you beforehand.
3. Trademark Registration in Benelux
3.1 Your Registration Plan
Step 1. Start with a Free TM Search. We will check if there are any obvious conflicts. You will know if it's worth moving forward with the mark.
Step 2. Learning more about your brand. To file a trademark, we will need to know the owner address and name, the trademark and if it has a logo and what services/products it covers.
Optional Step 3. Attorney's opinion (a.k.a. Study) In some cases we may recommend asking our attorney to review the case and prepare a detailed registration report. That's an optional non-obligatory service.
Step 4. Request registration and submit your payment. The process is completely online and we'll request your mark within 3-5 days and you will get a filing confirmation."
3.2 Recommendations for applicants in Benelux
There is only examination on absolute grounds; the official search has been abandoned. This means that even if there is an identical trademark. the examiner will not issue an objection due to likelihood of confusion with such a trademark but merely informs the trademark owner that there is a potential conflict, allowing him to file an opposition. After the examination on formalities and absolute grounds, the application is published in the online Benelux Bulletin for opposition purposes.
The entire straightforward process takes around 4 months. Also, an expedited registration procedure might be requested, the expedited process takes only a month.
3.3 Brand Registration Process in Benelux
- Applying for your mark (we pay all the government fees and submit the application)
- Formal examination (if the list of goods/services is correct, if other details are correct)
- Substantial examination (if the mark is unique and registrable)
- Publication (allowing the public and other business to object against the mark registration)
4. Benelux Trademark Registration: Required documents
4.1 Documents required for filing a mark
In Benelux we will require no additional documents to file a mark. The process can be completed online, you can just provide us with the documents required.
5. Other process details
5.1 Benelux first to use or first to file?
This is a first to file country, which means that whoever filed a trademark first will own it, even if someone else used it before.
5.2 How long does the process take in Benelux?
The entire process in Benelux takes 3-4 months provided that there are no problems during the examination and publication stages. That's the average time required to register your mark.
6. What are the benefits of owning a trademark?
6.1 What means to own a mark
When you register your trademark in Benelux, you’ll be able to:
1. Take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission, including counterfeiters
2. Put the ® symbol next to your brand - to show that it’s yours and warn others against using it
3. Sell and license your brand
4. Register it on Amazon
6.2 What can you do with a registered mark?
You have an ownership confirmation and the mark becomes a point of value collection, meaning that whatever you invest into your brand or into its reputation will not disappear, but will ""stick"" to your trademark. Getting a registration will seal your ownership over this value.
That's similar to buying a land lot to build a house. Would you like to build a house on a land lot that's not even yours? Of course not. Ownership matters.
7. Why Bonamark?
Bonamark takes care of more parts of the process than any other company out there. We are not here to just file anything without thinking.
We are here to check everything, prepare the documents required in a way to avoid the most common objections, enhance your product list for the optimal scope of protection and make sure that you don't have to pay extra and spend more time than you have to.
8. After TM registration
8.1 Trademark Certificate
A trademark is registered for 10 years and a digital copy certificate is issued. An example is attached below
8.3 Trademark Validity in Benelux
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years starting from the filing date. The trademark can be renewed for periods of 10 years
You must use the mark in Benelux as you registered it. If you don't use your mark for 5 consecutive years, the mark will become vulnerable to cancellations and others will be able to cancel it if they decide to start this legal procedure.
In most countries, you will not lose a mark automatically if you don't use it. Notable exclusions are the USA, Mexico, the Philippines where you must submit a Declaration of Use every 3-5 years.
8.4 Competitors and similar marks
The Trademark Office might refuse any similar mark for similar products, but we recommend getting a Trademark Watch in order to track any similar marks independently. This way you will be able to spot any similar marks and submit an opposition during their publication stage in order to prevent those marks from registering.
8.5 How to maintain your mark after registration?
1.You have an obligation to use the mark in commerce. If you stop using the mark for 5 consecutive years your mark might be cancelled by anyone who starts the cancellation process
2. You must keep your details up to date, if the name of your company was changed you should submit the change at the Trademark Office, the same applies to the address. Otherwise, there might be difficulties when you have to enforce your mark and if you decide to sell it.
3. We offer Change of Address and Change of Name services and will help you to keep your details up to date.
4. Keep your trademark certificate safe. You don’t want to lose it.
Official Trademark Office in Benelux
- Name of Office: Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP)
- Address: Bordewijklaan 15, 2591 XR Den Haag, Netherlands
- Phone number: (31 70) 349 11 11
Our local intellectual property IP attorneys will prepare and file your trademark for registration in the country, via the Benelux trademark office. Trademarks are filed at the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP), Benelux uses the "first-to-file" policy. No evidence of use is required upon filing of a trademark application. However, the Benelux trademark law protects unregistered trademarks if the mark is recognised as a well-known mark in Benelux.
Benelux has been a member of WIPO since 1975.
Registering the brand in Benelux is highly advisable if you plan to sell in this market within the next 3-5 years.
The Benelux is a politico-economic union of three neighbouring states in western Europe: Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The countries formed a trademark treaty and created one mutual Trademark Office in 2005, they concluded a treaty establishing a Benelux Organization for Intellectual Property which replaced their trademark offices upon its entry into force on 1 September 2006. This Organization is the official body for the registration of trademarks and designs in the Benelux.
🆕 Trademark Renewals in Benelux
✅ [Click to read more] How to renew a mark in Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)
A trademark is renewable for a period of 10 years and valid from the filing date.
- A mark can be renewed within 6 months before the expiration of the current trademark registration.
- In Benelux we will require no additional documents. The process can be completed online, you can just provide us with the documents required.
- The process takes approximately 1-2 weeks, and a Renewal Certificate is issued.
Trademark renewal in Benelux price
The price is 479$ for one class. The government fee is included in the price.
Trademark renewal process
Please contact us using the following form in order to request a trademark renewal in Beneulxl. The process is rather simple, our attorney will become your representative and will pay the renewal fee.
What if the deadline is missed?
After the expiration date a grace period of 6 months is provided to the registrant to renew the trademark paying an extra fee (135 EUR).
After the end of the grace period the mark expires without any ways of restoration, a new mark must be filed.
📆 Renewal deadline in Benelux calculation (example):
- Filing date: 01.09.2019
- Registration date: 01.09.2021
- Expiration date: 01.09.2029
- The earliest date for filing a renewal: 01.03.2029
- Grace period starts and ends: 01.09.2029-01.03.2030
Please be informed that the dates are determined to the best of our knowledge and we take no responsibility if the calculations are incorrect. We recommend that you contact us with an actual case in order to determine the renewal date with the highest accuracy possible.
Benelux Trademark Services
Benelux Trademark Services
We offer the following services in Benelux:
- Trademark Search
- Trademark Registration
- Trademark renewal
- Trademark opposition
- Defenses in case of oppositions or objections/office actions in Benelux
- Trademark assignment
- Change of name/Change of Address
If you are interested in any of these services, please do not hesitate to contact us.