Trademark and brand

In the context of EU intellectual property, a trademark is a sign that identifies a company. It makes it possible to distinguish one brand from another, or more precisely, to differentiate the products or services of one company from the products and services of another company.

In fact, any distinguishing mark can be considered a trademark: it can be a word, design, logo, and even a specific shape, color or sound. In particular, a registered trademark is a symbol that is considered worthy of protection and protection by the legislator. Any sign that can characterize the company can be registered and becomes the company's trademark. Because of this, a trademark is a different legal term than a trademark that is widely used in marketing studies. A trademark can be said to be what you protect when you want to register a trademark. Every consumer who knows a company has an idea of its products and services, as well as a general idea of the company as such. That idea is the brand.

European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)

European Union Flag Each EU Member State has its own Intellectual Property Office, but the EUIPO is currently gaining traction as a trademark and design register for all EU Member States. For a fixed fee, an application for the registration of your trademark can be submitted to the EUIPO, which grants you an exclusive right and legal protection against infringement within the EU internal market. The EUIPO last year enabled the registration of almost 120,000 trademarks and played a crucial role in harmonizing national trademark systems.

Trademark registration in the EU

The company that registers a trademark receives an exclusive right of use along with legal protection. In this way, the brand itself can gain a value that can grow over time, depending on the value and awareness of the brand. The trademark owner can prevent the use of a similar trademark for a similar business purpose if an unauthorized third party undertakes such an attempt. Therefore, it is very useful to register a trademark if you want to prevent a competitor from using a similar mark to identify their products or services.

The trademark owner has the right to use the well-known symbol ®, which makes it clear that no other company can use this trademark as it is already registered and under legal protection.

Registering a trademark can also give you the opportunity to enter into franchise agreement agreements and receive a share of the use of the trademark by the contractors. In this way the formation of a chain becomes possible.

However, registration can be refused if it does not meet certain requirements. In particular, the requirement of distinctiveness means that, for example, words describing the company's goods or services are too general, which means that they cannot be registered as a trademark.

Trademark protection in the EU

Once you have received a registration issued by the EUIPO, you have legal protection against third parties who apply for the registration of a similar mark in a similar field of business. In this case, you can lodge an objection directly with the EUIPO by filing an objection.

Most importantly, you have legal protection against any infringer - any competitor who uses your trademark without your consent. In this situation, it is advisable to send a cease and desist letter to make infringers aware of the possible consequences.

Depending on the circumstances of the infringement, you can try to reach an agreement with the other party as part of a mediation process or you can take legal action before the competent civil court directly with the help of a lawyer. If the trademark is registered by the EUIPO, the competent national civil court of an EU member state is entitled to order enforcement measures to prevent the infringement in all EU member states. It should be noted that these measures can anticipate legal protection even before the final decision, as the competent civil court can also issue temporary injunctions with effect in other EU countries.

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Trademark and brand
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