• Intellectual property
  • February 18, 2022

How to Register a Trademark in Europe

When you are looking to register your distinctive branding elements (be it words, logos, slogans, designs, even shapes, colours, sounds or smells), remember that trademark rights are territorial. Contrary to popular myth, there is no such thing as a ‘global’ trademark, so you need to consider in which territories you want to protect your mark(s). 

If you decide to protect your trademark in Europe, then the application must be made to the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Following Brexit, applicants for EU trademarks who are based outside the EEA/EU (such as the UK now) also require the appointment of a representative from inside the EU/EEA to handle the application process on their behalf.

Before you embark on the application process, you need to check that your mark is actually registrable. One of the key criteria for trademarks is that they must be distinctive and recognisable and not descriptive of the goods/services being provided. Check out our recent article for further details on what can and cannot be registered as a trademark.

Next, you should carry out a clearance search to check there are no earlier existing registrations for identical or similar marks in a similar field. This step is really crucial - you don’t want to waste money paying filing fees to the trademark office only to find out that there’s an identical or near-identical mark already registered, or accidentally adopt someone else’s mark and end up in a trademark war. The TMview database is a good place to search for other EU trademarks. 

Then you need to classify the goods and services for your trademark by breaking them down and listing them under whichever of the 45 classes (or business categories) are appropriate and align with your business model. It is always worth getting a trademark specialist involved for this step to help you navigate the complexities of the different classes. The last thing you want is to end up with a mismatch between what you have protection for and what you need protection for, making your trade mark effectively worthless. Also, if no classification issues are found during the examination procedure then your application will be processed more quickly.

Once the EU application has been submitted and examined (and the filing fees paid to the EUIPO) it will then be published for a period of 3 months before it is added to the register. That give others an opportunity to oppose it if they wish. If no oppositions are logged, the mark should proceed to the register a few weeks later. Once you’ve got your registered EU trade mark, it is valid for 10 years but can be renewed indefinitely and potentially last forever.

Due to Brexit, EU marks no longer cover the UK! So anyone who wants to have EU-wide and UK protection now needs to register their trademarks in both territories (UK and EU) separately. 

Questions about trademark law?

If you need help with your trademark registration, you can book a free 15-minute consultation with one of our expert trademark lawyers who will be able to help you during your trademark protection journey.

Journey further

In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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