Until recently, trade mark owners requiring protection throughout the European Union had to file
separate applications in each member country. It is now possible to file a single application in
English for a European Community Trade Mark, which protects your trade mark in all members
states of the European Union. Registration of the trade mark has the same effect as a national
trade mark registration in each country.
The duration of a European Community Trade Mark is 10 years from the date of filing the
application in the European Community Trade Mark Office. Protection can be maintained
indefinitely subject to payment of renewal fees every 10 years.
Countries Protected by a European Community Trade Mark
The Office examines your application and conducts a search for identical or similar European
Community registered trade marks or trade mark applications. The national registers of several
European Union member countries are also searched.
However, an application will not be refused on the ground that there is a pre-existing right to a
trade mark. The applicant is notified of any conflicting third party rights, and holders of the cited
Community Trade Mark registrations and applications are notified of the conflicting application. It
is up to the applicant to decide whether to continue with the application in the light of any
conflicting trade marks.
Once the trade mark application is examined and reported to the applicant, the trade mark
application is published.
Opposition to the registration of a Community Trade Mark may be filed within three months from
the time of publication of the trade mark application. The owner of a conflicting trade mark may
oppose the trade mark application.
It is important for trade mark owners to maintain a watch for