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Trademark registration in Belgium

Belgium, due to its location in the center of Europe, plays an extremely important role. Belgium is considered the heart of Europe, with a prime location between major countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK. This facilitated trade and transportation, making Belgium an important economic center. Belgium has an efficient rail and road transport system, fast connections to major European cities, facilitating logistics and international trade. All these factors help Belgium have a strategic position in the international community, and at the same time contribute to the development of the European region, so more and more businesses want to invest and expand their business scope in this country. To be successful in the competitive market in this country, businesses need to own their own brand with their own essence, the prerequisite is to register a trademark to distinguish it from other competitors. Viet An Law would like to guide customers preliminarily on trademark registration procedures in Belgium through the article below.

Belgium Intellectual Property

Legal basis

  • Economic Law (updated on April 21, 2022);
  • Royal Decree of 4 September 2014, on the implementation of the patent-related provisions of the Law of 19 April 2014, Introduction of Book XI, “Intellectual Property” in the Economic Code and Introduction of separate provisions for Book XI in Book I,  XV and XVII of the same Code

General overview of “trademarks” in Belgium

Definition of “trademark”

A trademark is an intellectual property right. Intellectual property (often abbreviated as IP) is the general term for rights related to specific and innovative ideas. For example, trademark rights protect names and logos, design rights protect designs, and patent rights protect technical innovations.

Benefits of trademark registration

Trademark the business exclusively about it: When a business registers the name and/or logo of its company, product or service as an official trademark, the business is the sole person who may use that trademark.

Trademark registration means that the business owns the trademark: So the business not only has the exclusive right to use it, but also legally owns it. It is important to know that without registering a trademark, the business does not own the company name,  his product name or logo. You can come up with your own idea to design it or hire someone to design it for you, but legally, you don’t own it.

Trademark registration allows a business to sell or license its use. Another benefit of owning is that the business can sell or license this ownership. Maybe the business is not thinking about it at the moment, but if, for example, a few years from now, you receive an offer to buy the company or request a franchise to use the brand, you will benefit more because you have registered the brand!

Trademark registration helps businesses protect the company from counterfeiting issues. Brand ownership can prevent others from doing business under a business’s name or logo. This gives businesses a strong legal advantage. Legal issues will cost time and money, but without trademark registration, businesses will not have much legal power to protect their trademarks.

Trademark registration makes your business’s brand more credible. By registering a trademark, businesses can use the symbol ®, i.e. “registered trademark”. This shows customers the professionalism and reputation of the business. The logo ® also shows that the business holds exclusive brand rights, which appeals to potential investors.

Investing in your brand will pay off. As mentioned, trademark registration gives the business ownership. Along with ownership, investing in the brand will naturally lead to an increase in its value. By registering a brand, businesses are investing in something that belongs to them, which can bring greater financial benefits over time.

Trademark registration documents in Belgium

The applicant will need to provide the following information:

  • Ownership and contact information;
  • A sample of the applicant’s trademark (for example, an image of the logo or a sound recording of the sound);
  • A list of products and/or services to which the applicant’s trademark intends to apply and the corresponding group number;
  • Proof of payment;
  • Power of attorney (in case the applicant submits an application through a representative).

How to file for trademark registration in Belgium

If you want to register a trademark in Belgium, please visit the following link and follow the instructions:

https://my.boip.int/myportal/auth/login?service=https%3A%2F%2Fmy.boip.int%2Fauth%2Frealms%2Feutm-filing%2Fbroker%2Fcas%2Fendpoint?state%3DZnbxBKj1CbEn2jhcxVcXT-86xexGF-M855oXc7ijRcw.7_4zDqS6I2g.eutm-efiling

Process of Trademark Application Processing in Belgium

After submitting the application, the state agency will process the application through the following processes

Confirmation of receipt of trademark application

Upon receipt of the applicant’s trademark application, confirmation of receipt will be sent to the applicant’s registered email. The applicant’s application will appear in the Trademark Database of the Belgian Intellectual Property Office (BOIP) within one day.

Check the application form

The Belgian Intellectual Property Office (BOIP) will check whether the applicant’s application meets the form requirements for trademark registration. If the applicant’s application is valid, the BOIP will specify the date of filing and conduct further checks on the classification of goods/services.

Trademark disclosure

If the applicant’s trademark meets the requirements and after a thorough examination of the group of products and services to be trademarked, the applicant’s application will be officially published on the Benelux Trademark Database.

Note:

  • If the applicant’s application is invalid for any reason, the BOIP will contact the applicant, often requesting additional information.
  • If the information is not received or not received on time, the applicant’s application will be rejected and the fee paid will not be refunded.

Other trademark owners who have pre-registered or are requesting the same or similar products or services as the applicant may submit objections (petitions) to the applicant’s trademark application. They have two months to do this, from the date the applicant’s application is published.

Check on legal content

Once published, the applicant’s trademark will be checked to see if it meets legal requirements. If it fails to respond, the BOIP is forced to reject the entire application or reject only specific products and services. In case the application is rejected in its entirety, the application fee will not be refunded. However, the applicant can object to the written denial within six months. The BOIP will consider the applicant’s objection. If the objection is not sufficient grounds to overturn the refusal decision, a final refusal decision will be issued. The applicant may appeal the final decision to one of the Belgian courts of appeal.

Decide

If there is an objection and the objection procedure is conducted, based on the documents and evidence presented by both parties, the BOIP will make one of the following three decisions:

Accept all objections

In this case, the trademark of the other party (respondent) will be removed in whole or in part from the Trademark Database (i.e. only for objectionable products and services). The defendant must pay 1,045 euros to the opposing party.

Accept partial objections

If the BOIP partially agrees with the objection (i.e., the BOIP rules in partial favor of the opposing party), the trademark of the other party (the respondent) will be partially removed from the Trademark Database. In other words, products and services that are objectionable and deemed to have grounds for objection will be removed from the Trademark Database.

Refusal of objections

If the objection is dismissed, both trademarks will be retained in the Trademark Database. The party filing the objection (the opposing party) must pay 1,045 euros to the defendant.

Trademark registration in Belgium through the Madrid System

The Madrid system is an international system that allows applicants to register trademarks in multiple countries with a single application. Belgium is a member of the Madrid System, therefore the applicant can register his trademark in Belgium through this system.

Belgium is an official member of the Madrid System of Trademarks, which allows local and foreign individuals and businesses to use the system to register their trademarks in the country. Here is a summary of Belgium’s role in the system:

Member States:

  • Belgium has joined the Madrid System, so the applicant has the right to file an international trademark application through the system.
  • In addition, individuals and businesses based in Belgium can use the Madrid System to register international trademarks.

Belgian Intellectual Property Office:

  • The BOIP serves as the national office for Belgium within the Madrid System. They are responsible for: Receiving and processing applications for international trademarks specifying Belgium; Conduct national inspections based on Belgian trademark law; Trademark registration and management for Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg); Talk to WIPO about the international registration process.

Indications during registration: Applicants from any member state of Madrid may designate Belgium in their international trademark application. The selection of Belgium will incur an additional fee for each designation.

Benefits of using the Madrid System for Belgium:

  • Save money to register a trademark in many countries, including Belgium.
  • Simplified application process through a single application.
  • Centrally manage the applicant’s international trademark portfolio.

Trademark registration service in Belgium of Viet An Law Firm

  • Carry out the search and notify customers in writing the results of trademark search in Belgium;
  • Drafting dossiers and directly submitting and monitoring the status of trademark applications filed in Belgium on behalf of trademark owners;
  • Inform, advise and handle deficiencies/refusals of competent State agencies (if any) in the process of monitoring trademark applications in Belgium;
  • Support follow-up, representative resolution of objections and feedback with intellectual property representatives carrying out procedures in Belgium.
  • Receive dispatches, certificates and hand over to customers (if any).

If you want to apply for trademark registration in Belgium, please contact Viet An Law Firm for the most effective support.

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