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Trademark Registration in the Netherlands

Registering a Trademark in the Netherlands

Updated on Tuesday 04th August 2020

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Business owners in the Netherlands may want to register their trademarks to increase the value of their company and benefit from international protection. Trademark registration in the Netherlands can be made either through the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property or through the World Intellectual property Organization.
 
Our law firm in the Netherlands offers complete legal solutions to companies and our attorneys who specialize in the trademark legislation (that applies according to the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property) can offer you legal and practical guidance.  
 

Trademark registration in the Netherlands

 
 
The Netherlands is part of the Benelux countries (comprising Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) and trademark registration can be made only for the Benelux area (only available for the three countries). The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) deals with trademarks and designs registrations in the Benelux and it is based in The Hague, Netherlands.
 
An international trademark registration can be made at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The international trademark registration is governed by the Madrid Agreement and The Madrid Protocol. The Madrid Union is composed of the States that took part in the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol. A total of 92 countries, including the Netherlands, benefit from the Madrid system for trademarks and service marks protection. An international trademark registration can prove more advantageous when compared to national registrations. Please contact us for more information in this matter. Our Dutch law firm will provide you with all the necessary information. Below, we answer some commonly asked questions about trademarks and the registration process in general. Feel free to read out short guide and reach out to us if you need assistance during this process.
 

What is a distinctive trademark?

 
When interested in trademark registration in Netherlands, investors must first comply with the requirement to select a distinctive trademark for their company. How is this defined and what should one avoid? Below we offer some general guidelines that can help clarify the issue of distinctiveness:
 
  • Description: the trademark should not describe the product or service literally; for example, “milk” cannot be the trade name or logo for a company that produces and bottles milk;
  • Misleading: the trademark is not allowed to mislead the customers, such as using one symbol or word to describe something different or another category of goods (an image of chocolate is misleading for a nutritive supplement);
  • Emblem: the trademark cannot include flags, official emblems or armed forces bearings; for example, including all of part if the Dutch flag;
  • Protected items: the sign cannot be a trademark if it is the same as a protected denomination for a plant or a protected geographical indication as well as a protected traditional term for certain goods such as wine.
 
If a trademark is declared unsuitable (on the grounds described above or as rules by a court of law) then its registration is null and void.
 
Entrepreneurs should note that trademark registration in Netherlands is largely guided by two principles: the trademark should not be descriptive and it should not lack distinctive character. Our lawyers, upon request, can further explain these important grounds. 
 

What are the types of trademarks?

 
According to the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP), there are several types of trademarks:
 
  1. Word marks: these are based on words and they are the name under which certain goods or products are marketed;
  2. Figurative mark: this is the pure figurative one, the logo or label with no text and the one with word elements that is protected as a whole, for all of its elements (the words are not registered separately); 
  3. Color and sound mark: as the name suggests, they are based on colors (or combinations of colors) or sounds (a distinctive jingle, for example);
  4. Pattern mark: this is a set of elements that are repeated in a pattern;
  5. Shape mark: the case of a product can be a mark, such as in the case of uniquely designed perfume bottles;
  6. Others: position and motion marls as well as hologram marks; a multimedia mark can also be recognized and it is a combination of image and sound.
 
All of these possibilities allow those who are interested in trademark registration in Netherlands to uniquely define the elements or the combinations that will be specific to their business.
 
What’s more, marks can be individual or collective. The first type is used by a single company and it differentiates its products from those of other businesses (most trademarks fall under this category) or they can be collective, used by the members of an association.
 

What is the general procedure for trademark registration in Netherlands?

 
When registering a Dutch trademark at the Benelux Office of Intellectual Property, individuals must file an application before the Benelux Office and wait for an examination that will determine the distinctiveness of the mark. After these formalities, the application is published in the Benelux Bulletin (available online) to check for oppositions. After the mark has been published, the oppositions (if any), can be filed within a period of two months. Trademark registration in the Benelux has a validity period of 10 years. It can be subsequently renewed for another 10 years.
 
The Madrid system of international trademark registration can be used by natural persons or legal entities. They must file an application for international registration. The application must contain an identical reproduction of the mark and a list of the goods and services that require protection. This registration remains valid for 10 years and it can be renewed further for periods of 10 years.
 
Entrepreneurs who are interested in trademark registration in Netherlands should know that a number of fees apply for basic registrations as well as for any other modifications or for renewals. Some of these are the following:
 
  • 244€: the Benelux 10 year trademark application registration;
  • 440€: the accelerated registration for the Benelux 10 year trademark registration;
  • 263€: the 10-year trademark registration renewal fee.
 
The values listed above are the starting prices for each of the described action. The fees are VAT exempt. 
 
Other fees related to trademark registration in Netherlands can include the following:
 
  • 24€: for changing the appointment of a representative for the first trademark (12€ for the second to the fifth trademark);
  • 20€: for typing mistake corrections after registration, for the first trademark; a 10€ fee applies for each subsequent trademark;
  • 263€: the renewal fee for an individual trademark via BOIP (an online process that includes one class).
 
Fees also apply for filing an opposition to a trademark (lodging an objection). The fee per opposition is 1,045 € and other additional costs can apply (such as the translation of the arguments for the opposition). Please note that these fees were valid at the time this article was published.
 
If you want to open a Dutch company, our law firm in the Netherlands can offer you more information about the intellectual property law