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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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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 

 

 

Page last updated 22-09-2017
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