Are you from a European Union member state and planning to start a business and register your trademark. If yes, you must have come across the concept of community trademarks while researching. The first question that comes to people’s mind while thinking about a Community trademark is,” Why should one get a community trademark?” “How is it different from a normal trademark and what are the advantages of a community trademark?” This article lists everything that you need to know about community trademarks. Moreover, you will also get an answer to the question, i.e., “Why you should get a community Trademark?”
Community Trademarks in the EU
Suppose you are living in one of the European Union countries and you want to register a trademark for your business. So now you have two options. Either get the trademark registered in your country’s trademark office and get trademark rights under its jurisdiction only, i.e., only the specific country. However, if you wish to expand your business on a multi-national level, you will have to get the trademark registered every time you began operations in a new EU country. So, is there a simpler way to get one trademark and operate in all EU countries?
Yes, community trademarks are the perfect options for people who want to start a business on a larger level in two or more EU countries. The community trademark framework was created by the European council’s directive number 4094 in 1993.
Also Read: A Guide to trademark search in UK
What is a Community Trademark?
It is a registered mark that safeguards your brand in all the EU member states. As the owner does not have to go through the registration process in every nation, community trademarks encourage international business and branding. A community trademark divides the goods and services according to international classification standards. One trademark can represent various classes of goods and services depending upon how you filled the trademark application.
The CTM System
The Community Trademark is a registration-based system that was established in 1996. Here, a registration-based system implies that the trademark’s registration decides the ownership of the trademark. Besides, the CTM system differs from the use-based system of the United States where mere usage of the trademark determines its ownership. On the other hand, in the EUTM system, the individual who files first for a trademark is kept on top of the priority list. Moreover, the CTM system also checks for the early filing date given to the member nations of the Paris Convention. In this case, a CTM application filed later is the one filed within six months of the filing date for national registration.
The administration of the CTM system is the responsibility of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) located in Alicante, Spain.
How Long Does a Community Trademark Last?
A European Union Trademark stays valid in all the European Nations for 10 years after its registration. However, it can be renewed any number of times for 10 years at once.
Which Countries are covered under Community Trademark System?
By getting a community mark, you can operate your business in the following countries:
- The Netherlands
- Czech Republic
- Slovak Republic
The Community trademark office aka European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) is located in Alicante, Spain.
Why Should You Get a European Union Trademark?
A Community Trademark enables you to safeguard your business identity in 27 countries by just one application. Not only it’s a cost-effective option for companies, but also saves you from the hassle of registering individually in every country you want to expand your business in.
Here are some key advantages of getting a CTM or EUTM:
- The CTM owner gets an exclusive right to use a trademark. Thus, no one can use your company’s trademark without your permission.
- Others can’t even use a confusingly similar CTM for supplying the same or similar goods and services.
- You can get a CTM even if your business or company is from a non-member country. Moreover, if your country is a part of the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the Paris Union Convention, you can still apply for CTMs.
- Also, if a new nation joins the EU, CTM automatically expands to that country.
- The intellectual property rights under a registered CTM prevent others from using your CTM on their brand’s packaging, using your CTM to sell or stock their products, selling goods or services by using your community mark without your permission, and using your trademark for marketing, advertising, or on business documents without permission
What if I don’t use my registered CTM?
If you don’t use your trademark for five years, it may get revoked. However, you need to use it in just one European Union country and whenever you want in that 5-year window. Moreover, your mark will only get revoked if you don’t use it and a 3rd party challenges the CTM.
Shall I get a community trademark if I already have a trademark?
If you have a nationally registered mark in any EU member state, still you should get a CTM. Moreover, you can claim seniority of that mark while filing for a community trademark. In addition, it will give you an option to request priority registration.
What can be Trademarked?
Can I trademark a business name? Can I trademark a word? Or can I trademark 3D symbols in the EU? These are the most common questions we get. So, here is a list of signs that can be trademarked:
- Sound marks
- 3D symbols
So, any sign that can be represented graphically can become a trademark. But a trademark can’t be:
- Offensive in any EU member country
- In violation of Community Trademark rights
Where to File a Community Trademark Application?
You can file your application at:
- The EUIPO located in Alciante, Spain
- Any EU member country’s Trademark Office
Languages of CTM Application
You can file a CTM application in any of the 24 languages of the EU but the application should also indicate a second language out of the five official languages, i.e., Spanish, German, Italian, French, and English. Also, the legal proceedings with respect to opposition, invalidation, and revocation must take place in one of the five official languages. However, parties can mutually decide to use some other language as well. If one party or both the parties agree for the post-application process to be in the English language, they will have to file their CTM application in a non–official language and then choose English as the official language.
Should I Choose Class Headings or Specifics?
As class headings have a wider scope, you can pick individual goods or services. But, choosing class headings has its own pros and cons.
- You can cover more goods and services in your trademark application
- Even if your company grows, your marks will stay protected
- Having a broader increase the chances of opposition.
- Also, if you don’t use the mark for all mentioned goods and services, the chances of cancellation of that specific part of your application are high.
Why Choose TMReady
Before filing for a community trademark or any trademark for that matter, a trademark search is a crucial step. TMReady’s trademark search services provide advanced search reports that help you to tweak your mark beforehand. Moreover, TMReady covers Europe, China, the USA, Japan, Korea, etc. along with offering multi-country trademark searches. We have a dedicated team of professionals who use conventional and advanced software tools to conduct comprehensive trademark availability searches. Moreover, we also provide trademark monitoring and paralegal services. So if you are a business owner with a trademark, you can contact TMReady to make sure your trademark is safe from infringement. And if you are planning to get a trademark, registered, we can provide you with the best trademark search services at the most affordable rates. To know more about our services, visit us here