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Protect your trade marks and designs in the European Union

Protect your intellectual property in the European Union

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Register the
FastTrack way

You want to protect your Trade Mark or Design?

TRADE MARK DESIGN

Registering your
Trade Mark
What can be
a Trade Mark?
What are
the benefits?

We would like to offer you a fast and reliable option for registering your European Union Trade Mark.

You can create and submit your application in five guided steps. You will need:

  • Your name and address
  • Your trade mark
  • To check whether your trade mark is free? Search here to find out if your trade mark is available.
  • To identify what your company does. Do you sell products? Do you offer services? Search the appropriate terms here.
  • The basic fee is EUR 850

File a European Union trade mark using the Five-step application

Our Fast Track option for registering your trade mark

Logo Fast Track application
 
  • Create and submit your application in 10 minutes.
  • We will guide you step by step through the application procedure.
  • You can save your application at any time during the process.
  • Get your application published in half the time or less compared with regular applications. Find out more about Fast Track.

 
 

Registering
your Design
What can be
a Design?
What are
the benefits?

We would like to offer you a fast and reliable option for registering your European Union Design.

You can create and submit your application in four guided steps. You will need:

  • Your name and address
  • Your design (seven views)
  • To check whether your design is new. Search here to find out if your design is available.
  • To identify what your company does. Do you sell products? Do you offer services? Search the appropriate terms here.
  • The basic fee of EUR 350.

File a registered Community design using the Four-step application

Our Fast Track option for registering your design

Logo Fast Track application
 
  • To create and submit your application can take as little as 10 minutes.
  • We will guide you step by step through the application procedure.
  • Find out more about Fast Track.
  • Payment available only for credit card or current account. Bank transfers not accepted.

At EUIPO, we offer our design applicants the opportunity to have their designs registered more quickly. We call this accelerated procedure 'Fast Track'.

Once received at EUIPO, your application will be checked by our examiners. If it complies with certain standards and no deficiency is flagged up, it will be treated more swiftly and you could have a registered design within two working days.

For more information on our service standards, see EUIPO's Service Charter on our quality page.

 

What are the conditions for Fast Track?

If you would like your design to be registered via Fast Track, you just need to:

  • Use our Four-step online application form
  • Use DesignClass when you are indicating the products to which your design applies;
  • Include any relevant attachments if you would like to claim priority;
  • Pay via your current account or using your credit card;
  • Use the ID numbers contained in the EUIPO database if you are a representative.

What can a community design be?
This is the appearance of your product or your packaging. A registered design protects your investment in the appearance of your product and prevents other companies from being able to copy it. It adds value to your business and sets it apart from others, all over the European Union!

 

Fast Track conditions

At the European Union Intellectual Property Office (the EUIPO) we offer our trade mark applicants the opportunity for their applications to be examined and published faster when compliant with Fast Track conditions.

When the EUIPO receives an application, our staff examines it to assess whether it is likely to be a valid trade mark. The more complex the application, the more time it takes for our staff to examine it. This is why applications received by the EUIPO that comply with certain conditions will be treated more swiftly and will be faster to reach the first step in the registration process, the publication of the application. We call this accelerated procedure Fast Track.


The examination period is quicker with Fast Track

 

What are its advantages?

  • It is faster. Your application can be published in half of the time or less compared to regular applications
  • It is safer. A Fast Track application requires that you select your goods and services from a database of terms already accepted by the EUIPO and by all IP offices in the EU, known as the Harmonised Database (HDB). This greatly reduces any deficiencies, so you can be sure you are making the right choices

For more information on our service standards, check out the EUIPO’s Service Charter on our quality page.

 

How do I comply with Fast Track conditions?

There are two main conditions for a Fast Track application to be successful:

  • You need to select the goods and services your trade mark will apply to from a database of terms that have already been accepted by the EUIPO. The Five-step form is designed to guide you in your choice so that your application can be processed under Fast Track
  • You need to pay upfront: our examiners can only start examining your application once payment is complete. Subject to prompt payment and provided there are no deficiencies at the moment of filing or during examination of the application, your application will proceed via Fast Track.

If you are paying via current account, please note your account will be debited immediately. If you are paying via bank transfer, you must make the transfer immediately after submitting the application. 

Although some applications may comply with the conditions of Fast Track at the time of filing, they could be lost later on. For example, there could be a deficiency, in that the trade mark you would like to register is not distinctive enough. If your application loses any Fast Track conditions, you will be informed in writing.

 

Fast Track: Full conditions

  1. The applicant must be domiciled in the European Economic Area (EEA). Failing this, the applicant must identify a valid representative
  2. The trade mark should not be either a collective mark or a certification mark
  3. Do not request a national or European search in your application
  4. Regarding priority or seniority claims, either:
    • there should be no priority / seniority claims, or
    • if a priority / seniority claim is indicated, the trade marks on which the claim is based can be imported from the TMview database during the application process, or
    • if a priority / seniority claim is indicated and the associated trade mark(s) are not in TMView, the corresponding certificate must be attached
  5. If exhibition priority is claimed, a Fast Track application is still possible provided an attachment containing the corresponding certificate is submitted
  6. The trade mark must be one of the following types: word / figurative / shape / sound
  7. If the trade mark is a figurative / shape mark, colour claims are no longer possible
  8. If the trade mark is a figurative / shape / sound mark, the relevant and valid attachments must be included
  9. All the terms in the list of goods and services must be selected from the database of terms already accepted by the EUIPO
  10. Payment should be made via any of the accepted payment methods. However, payment via a third party’s current account is not permissible with Fast Track
  11. The following conditions apply with regard to the payment of fees:
    • Credit card: no particular requirement
    • For bank transfers: the applicant must (1) use the Payment Transaction Code generated by the form and the trade mark number to identify the file; (2) undertake to transfer the amount immediately; and (3) preferably make a separate payment for each application submitted
    • For current account holders the applicant must select Debit now on the payment form
  12. When the language of the application is not one of EUIPO’s five languages (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish), the applicant must accept the translation provided by the EUIPO in a second language selected from one of the accepted five languages

Note: payments via bank transfer, bearing their corresponding transaction code, must reach the EUIPO within nine days of filing the application. Failure to do so will mean that the EUIPO is unable to guarantee Fast Track timeliness standards.

Print the full conditions
 

All time limit references are for illustrative purposes and do not have a binding effect for the Office.

What can be an EU trade mark

An EU trade mark can consist of any signs, in particular words (including personal names), or designs, letters, numerals, colours, the shape of goods, or of the packaging of goods or sounds.

On 1 October 2017, as a result of the Amending Regulation (EU) 2015/2424, what was termed the “graphical representation requirement” was removed.

In practice, this means that as long as your trade mark falls into one of the categories of trade marks accepted by the Office, and can be represented by the accepted formats, you can submit it as an application without having to represent it graphically.

word mark figurative mark figurative mark word 3D mark 3D mark with letter position pattern colour mark colour sound mark motion multimedia

 

What type of trade mark would you like to protect?

Depending on what you would like to protect (a word, a figure, a colour, etc.) you have different trade mark options. See your choices.

The signs that make up a trade mark must be capable of distinguishing the goods and services of one undertaking from those of another undertaking.

To be eligible for registration, your trade mark must be distinctive and must not describe what you sell.

 
 

Your trade mark should be distinctive

Consumers should be able to recognise your sign for what it is, for example as an indication of origin. It should distinguish you from other companies in the marketplace so that you can protect and build your brand identity and value.

Your trade mark should not describe what you sell

Your trade mark should not monopolise a sign that merely describes the goods and/or services that you offer. Such signs should remain available for everybody: for you and your competitors.

 

Still not clear? The following example should dispel any remaining doubts

Not distinctive
A consumer would not see this bottle, as presented here, as a distinctive sign capable of distinguishing one company from another. This sign should remain available for all companies.

Wine

Too descriptive
In this case, consumers will not see the bottle as distinctive, and the word 'wine' simply describes the content of the bottle. They will see it as a product description.

Example of how your trade mark should be, distinctive and not too descriptive

Joe
Bloggs

Registrable trade mark
However, in this example, although the bottle alone may not be distinctive, the addition on the label of a distinctive name would make consumers see it as a trade mark indicating one particular brand.

 

EUIPO will refuse your trade mark application if it is believed not to fulfil these and certain other requirements. If you wish, you can check other reasons why your trade mark could be refused (also called absolute grounds).

If you are in any doubt, you should seek professional guidance. We cannot provide such advice.

 

What Kinds of trade marks can I register?

There are three  kinds of trade marks you can register: individual marks, certification marks and collective marks.

An individual mark distinguishes the goods and services of one particular company from those of another.

However this does not mean that an individual trade mark has to be owned by a single person: individual trade marks can be owned by one or more legal or natural persons. This means that there are multiple applicants.

The basic application fee for an individual trade mark starts at EUR 850 (electronic means)

Collective marks distinguish the goods and services of a group of companies or members of an association from those of competitors. Collective marks can be used to build consumer confidence in the products or services offered under the collective mark. Very often they are used to identify products which share a certain characteristic.

Only associations of manufacturers, producers, suppliers of services or traders, as well as legal persons governed by public law, may apply for collective marks.

The application fee for a collective mark is EUR 1 500 (electronic means).

Certification marks were introduced at EUIPO on 1 October 2017. They are a new type of trade mark at EU level, although they have already existed for many years in national systems. They are used to indicate that goods or services comply with the certification requirements of a certifying institution or organisation; they are a sign of supervised quality.

Any natural or legal person, including institutions, authorities and bodies governed by public law, may apply for EU certification marks provided that such person does not carry on a business involving the supply of goods or services of the kind certified.

The application fee for a certification mark is EUR 1 500 (electronic means).

Full list of trade mark fees 

 

 

Design definition

Design protection is an important business asset for companies of all sizes, not just bigger ones.

EUIPO’s research shows that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which own designs have 17% higher revenue per employee than SMEs that do not own any intellectual property rights.

Designs are well defined in the European Union:

'The appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation'.

Article 3 of the Design Regulation

 

Examples of designs

Almost any industrial or handicraft item can be eligible for design protection (except for computer programs)

Search for an example of packaging of products

Packaging of products

RCD 002710731-0001
Search for an example of a product / set of products

A product / set of products

RCD 002490193-0001
Search for an example of composite products

Composite products

RCD 000408166-0001
Search for an example of parts of products

Parts of products

RCD 229752-0001
 
Search for an example of computer icons

Computer icons

RCD 003001494-0002
Search for an example of drawings and artwork

Graphic designs

RCD 004547370-0002
 
 

A little bit of theory

Intellectual Property

The concept behind intellectual property (IP) is straightforward and has been with us for a long time. Wherever we go, we are surrounded by intellectual property.

Mere thoughts and ideas do not qualify; intellectual property defines and protects human innovations and creations

  • Trade marks signal the origin of products to consumers
  • Designs specify how products look
  • Copyright relates to artistic creations, such as books, music, paintings, sculptures and films
  • Patents protect technical inventions in all fields of technology

Intellectual property rewards innovators and enables everyone to benefit from their achievements.

 

The Intellectual Property Metro: designers often re-create ideas to make something new, useful and unique. Download this map – it will help you register your rights.


An adaptation of the metro map concept representing the timelines of the different Intellectual property processes

 

More resources on IP

 

SME - Register with FastTrack - Body - TM Benefits

4 Reasons 4 Design Rights

Design rights are one of several intellectual property rights. They are exclusive rights that protect the appearance of a product, or a part of it, provided it is new and has individual character that sets it apart from any pre-existing designs that could be known about (however old). Businesses register designs to strengthen their competitive advantage, prevent work from being copied and build assets for value creation.

This means that the absence of design protection can be detrimental on those dimensions.


4iP Council has developed this interactive guide in cooperation with eminent academics and experts to share best practice and deepen understanding of the value of design rights. In particular, we would like to thank the following organisations for their valuable insights, engagement and support.


Page last updated 01-07-2020
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