5 Reasons to Register Your Trade Mark in the EU
Australia and the European Union (EU) have a free trade agreement, making the EU an excellent option for Australian businesses looking to expand into overseas markets. The EU also provides several trade mark registration methods, making it a relatively accessible option. This article will take you through five reasons to register your trade mark in the EU, to help you determine if registering your trade mark in the EU is the right option for your business.
1. Access a Diverse Customer Base
There are 28 members of the EU, comprising more than 500 million consumers in total. The EU is also:
- the world’s largest trading bloc;
- the second-largest economy: and
- one of Australia’s largest trading partners.
These reasons make the EU an excellent market to expand your business.
Additionally, the EU’s large population and its diversity make it an excellent place to do business. Hence, registering your trade mark is the first step to solidifying your distinctive brand and marking your space in the European market.
2. Take Advantage of the ‘First to File’ System
The EU has a ‘first to file’ system. This means that whoever files their trade mark application first is granted trade mark protection. This contrasts with many other countries, including Australia, which have a ‘first to use’ system. This means that whoever uses the trade mark first, regardless of whether it is registered or not, will have priority. The first to file system means registering your trade mark in the EU, regardless of whether you are currently trading in the EU, is a great way to secure the rights to your trade mark in case you one day wish to expand your business.
3. Apply to Several Countries with One Application
Applying for a trademark in the EU is a straightforward process, making it very appealing to register your trade mark. Instead of applying to all 28 member states directly, you can apply for a single trade mark to the EU’s Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). You can also file this application in just one language. If your trade mark is approved, you will automatically have trade mark protection in all 28 member states. Furthermore, registration is relatively quick, with a ‘fast track’ option being available that helps reduce registration time drastically.
4. Protect Your Trade Mark
Registering your trade mark in the EU is a great way to protect your trade mark from infringement. Trade mark registration will stop other businesses in a similar industry as you from having the same or a similar trade mark. You might find that another business is infringing on your trade mark. By having a registered trade mark, you have several enforcement options to prevent this, protecting your brand and increasing the value of your trade mark.
5. Avoid Trade Mark Infringement
As well as trade mark registration protecting you from having your trade mark infringed, registering your trade mark in the EU will help prevent you from infringing on others’ trade marks. The application process to apply for a trade mark will ensure that your trade mark is not similar or identical to an EU trade mark, preventing you from being part of a trade mark infringement dispute.
There are several reasons you should register your trade mark in the EU, including the ability to:
- access a large and diverse customer base;
- apply for registration to 28 member states with just one application;
- protect your brand in the EU; and
- avoid infringing on an EU trade mark.
If you need help determining whether you should register your trade mark in the EU or simply need help with the application process, our experienced trade mark lawyers can assist. Get in touch with them on 1300 657 423 or by filling out the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you plan on trading in Europe, protecting your trade mark in the EU is a great way to protect your intellectual property with just one application. While not all European countries are part of the EU, the EU’s intellectual property office makes trade mark registration in EU member states a streamlined process. Some advantages of registering your trade mark in the EU include having access to 28 countries with one application, having access to a diverse customer base, and protecting your brand in the EU.
You can register your trade mark in Europe by either applying directly to specific countries or applying to the EU as a whole through the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Alternatively, you can use your existing Australian trade mark to file for an international trade mark using the Madrid Protocol. However, it is important to note that not all EU members are part of the Madrid Protocol.
EU trade mark registration is valid for 10 years from the filing date. After this, you will have to renew your trade mark and pay the applicable fee if you want protection to continue.