You can sell products or offer services in the EU without having a registered trademark. So you might ask, why should I register my trademark? There are several reasons why registering your European trademark is a good idea.
Rights Throughout the EU
By obtaining an EU registration of your trademark, you can have more confidence that you have rights to use your mark throughout the entire European Union, without worrying that your trademark rights will be limited because of someone else’s activities (because of that person’s legal rights in a trademark.). It is also wise to research whether someone else is already using a mark similar to yours by doing a comprehensive trademark availability search before applying to register your trademark.
Working with Your Distributors
If you plan to work with re-sellers or distributors to sell your products or services, having a trademark registration lets you control your own brand. Many times, a re-seller who sells products or services, especially for an international company or one based outside the country, might register the trademark of the company for whom they sell goods. They may do this either in a good faith effort to protect the brand that they are selling to you, or they may want to pressure you to continue working with them.
Either way, if your re-seller owns a registration for your trademark, you probably cannot force them to transfer it to you without a costly lawsuit. The better path is to register your trademark yourself before you begin working with re-sellers or distributors.
Help Securing Domain Names
Disputes about the ownership of internet domain names are common. For example, if you own the trademark SPORTSSHOES and the domain name sportsshoes.bg, someone else may have registered the domain name sportsshoes.com before you. Many of these domain name disputes, including all disputes for .com domain names, can be resolved using an Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedure. In some cases, a lawsuit in a BG is also used to seek a transfer of a domain name that was acquired by someone else in bad faith.
If you have registered a trademark that appears within a disputed domain name, the trademark registration provides evidence of your rights to the mark. The court looks very favorably on the owners of registered trademarks.
Consistent Use of Trademark Symbols
If you have registered your trademark in other countries, your brochures, products, website, and other materials may include the circle-R symbol ® to indicate the registered status of the trademark. The ™ symbol can be used without having a registered trademark. By registering your trademark, you can use materials that have a ® symbol, without the need to change materials to use the ™ symbol.
Who can apply for a European Union Trademark?
- A natural person or
- A legal entity
What may be registered as an EU trademark?
An EU trade mark may consist of any signs capable of being represented graphically, particularly words, including personal names, designs, letters, numerals, the shape of goods or their packaging that can be used to distinguish the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.
Therefore, signs that may be registered as a trade mark include the following:
- word marks, including letters, numbers or a combination of letters, numbers and words;
- figurative marks, whether or not they include words;
- figurative marks in colour;
- colours or combinations of colours;
- three-dimensional marks;
- sound marks.
Enforcement in BG Courts
No one wants to deal with a lawsuit, but if someone is using your trademark without your permission, a trademark registration gives you several advantages in court. For example, instead of you being required to prove that your trademark is valid, the court will start from the position that your mark is valid; the other side will have the burden of proving that your trademark isn’t valid.
Of course, in case of using the trademark without permission, you have always the right to request immediate suspension and to claim damages.
Innovires lawyers can assist you with:
- Checking the trademark availability
- Checking the legal grounds to register your trademark
- Fill and submit the application
- Guide you through the whole process of European trademark registration
For more information and assistance, please contact us.