Legally, a trademark is a 'sign' that a company uses to distinguish its products or services from those of competitors. It has an origin function. Officially, you can only acquire a trademark through registration. In marketing, a mark (brand) is often an image/goodwill and it is all about identity. You can have a 'brand' without registration, but not a 'trademark'.

A trademark right gives the owner (trademark holder) an exclusive right to the use of the trademark and therefore also the right to act against 'infringing' use by others who for instance use the same or a similar trademark for the same or similar products or services.

In most countries the only way to obtain a trademark right is through an official trademark registration with a government authority. No registration means no rights and therefore no monopoly.

Well there are many reasons for doing so. In essence: a trademark often represents the heart, the value, the identity of a company or product. It is something you invest in, build on and so on. In most countries, using a trademark does not give you legal protection and hence does not give you a monopoly. A rival or an uninformed third party can and may protect the trademark simply if you do not. Before a trademark makes a name and fame, protection is important, not only to make sure that the trademark is protectable in the first place, but also in order to make sure that the trademark does not infringe on any previous trademark rights. No matter how great a company or product may be, losing a trademark will damage a company's image and you will often have to start all over again. Protection through trademark registration is a relatively small investment compared to marketing costs.

A word mark protects the 'word' as such. In that case, it doesn't matter how you use the trademark, for example in a logo. This is why a word mark often offers the broadest protection and most flexibility.
A figurative mark provides protection for figurative elements (logo), and can also be a combination of graphic and word elements (combined word/figurative mark). In that case it is only the combination that is protected and in principle not the 'word' as such.

To be eligible for trademark registration, a trademark must be distinctive for the products or services for which it is used/protected. A trademark may not describe a characteristic, nature or origin of the goods or services. In general, a trademark cannot be misleading or offensive either.
At IPCO we always assess, with no strings attached, whether a trademark meets the legal requirements.

When filing an application for a trademark registration it is always necessary to indicate the products or services for which the trademark will be used and therefore for which protection is desired. For administrative reasons, products and services are classified into categories, the so-called Nice Classification. This classification comprises 45 classes, of which 34 are product classes and 11 are service classes.
The classification determines the scope of protection of the trademark.
A thorough selection of the classes and the selection of the product and service designations is part of strategic considerations.

There are various types of trademarks. The best-known types are: a word mark (such as IPCO), a figurative mark (pure logo: such as the Nike-swoosh) or combined word/figurative marks. You can therefore register the same trademark in different ways, depending on the distinctive elements for which you wish to obtain protection.

In almost all countries in the world a trademark registration is valid for 10 years.

If you wish to retain the trademark right, you must renew the trademark in due course. This can be done every 10 years. Only in this way will the trademark remain protected. If you do not renew the trademark, your trademark right expires. Someone else can then register the same trademark.

Every 10 years.

A trademark registration procedure starts with a trademark application filed with a government body (authority). The authority will check whether the trademark meets the legal requirements and will then publish the trademark for opposition purposes. During the opposition phase, owners of older trademarks have the time to object (file an opposition). The opposition period is a fixed period, usually 2 months (Benelux) or 3 months (EU). If there is no refusal or no opposition, the trademark will be registered.

The application procedure for a trademark registration differs per country/area. In most countries it takes about 7-8 months from the filing of the application until registration of the trademark, under the condition that no opposition is filed and/or the trademark is refused during the application phase.

That depends on the area and always on the number of classes (protection categories) for which protection is sought. In most countries a single class trademark registration costs between EUR 500-1000.

IPCO law loves clarity and transparency. With us, you pay 1 fee for everything: legal advice, filing/registration fees and maintenance fees. The filing fees are also included in our prices. The only additional costs that may arise after filing are the costs for follow-up on refusals or objections (oppositions). In that case, we will always discuss the additional costs and possibilities in advance.

Yes, in most countries of the world. Please note that the registration procedures and local customs differ.

Yes you can. The best way to do this is through an International Registration via the WIPO system.

After the expiry date you can still extend a trademark during the so-called 'Grace Period', which lasts up to 6 months after the original expiry date. After this 6-month period an extension is no longer possible. In that case, however, a new filing can be done, which will then be subject to a new filing date and therefore a new protection date.

Depending on the grounds for refusal, it is usually still possible to appeal against a refusal. IPCO will assess a refusal and advise on the best strategy.

This differs per refusal (depending on the grounds). In most cases, a legal hourly rate applies for the follow-up and we will make an estimate of the number of hours. In (simple) cases, a fixed price may also be set to follow up the refusal.

This is certainly possible. There can also be more than two trademark owners.

We will provide you with several updates on the progress during the application procedures.
We will also send regular updates after registration so that you are aware of your rights and what you need to do to maintain your trademark rights.

In the case of a national registration (which can also be regional, such as for the Benelux or the European Union) the trademark is filed directly with the local trademark authority of that country, often with the help of a local agent. In the case of an 'International Registration', your trademark is applied for through the International Registration System via the 'registration' body WIPO. You can then extend your trademark to several countries with one application and it is also easier to change data or add countries. WIPO forwards the applications to the local authorities, who will then check and register the trademark in accordance with the local rules.

A trademark attorney is usually a professional in law specialized in the protection of intellectual property rights and has completed a 2 year professional training. A trademark attorney knows all the ins and outs of and for the protection of trademarks and designs and can also take effective action in the case of infringement. Although applying for a trademark may seem 'simple', there is a lot involved in ensuring that it is properly protected. Professional guidance is therefore a must.

The BMM Certified Trademark Attorney quality mark may only be used after a 2-year vocational training course has been completed and points have been gained annually. The quality mark is personal.


A model (design) is the (decorative) appearance of products.

Design registration gives a monopoly (exclusive right) & protects against counterfeiting and abuse. Without registration, you have no design right.

To qualify for proper design protection, the design must be "new" and have an "individual character”. It must not be too similar to a design that already exists. At IPCO, we always assess whether a design meets the requirements and the best way to protect a design is.

Design registration gives a monopoly (exclusive right).

A design registration is valid for 5 years and can be renewed up to a maximum of 25 years.

Yes, you can. A multiple design application allows you to submit multiple designs in 1 application, provided the designs fall within the same protection category.

The procedure for a design registration differs per country/area. In the Benelux and European Union, the registration procedure is purely formal. The authority does not check whether a design meets the design requirements at the time of application. If the application meets all the formalities, the design is often registered within 2 to 4 weeks.

The costs of design registration differ per country/area. It also depends on the number of designs you wish to protect in one application and sometimes on the number of published 'views' (images of the design).

In the Benelux countries, a design registration costs on average between € 450 and € 650. In the EU, a design registration costs approximately € 850. That includes advice, official agency fees, registration and management.

Often this is possible within 6 months after the expiration date.

Yes, in most countries of the world. However, there are often specific requirements for design protection. It is also important that the design is still new: not only in that country, but also anywhere else. That is why it is important that you protect the design in important markets within 1 year after the first publication.

Trademark watch service

Trademark watching is a service in which trademarks are actively monitored and new, similar trademark applications are spotted in time and reported to the trademark owner. In this way timely action can be taken against a conflicting trademark.

Monitoring a trademark is crucial for protection. After a trademark has been registered, it is important that the trademark remains distinctive and that third parties do not start protecting or using the same or similar trademarks. Most trademark authorities do not refuse similar trademarks; therefore a trademark owner has to remain alert and take active action. Trademark watching is often the best way to watch over a trademark effectively and efficiently.

Thanks to trademark monitoring, as a trademark owner you know in time whether a conflicting trademark is being filed. You can then object or file an opposition in time. Often the 'new' trademarks have not yet or not for a long time been on the market.

General IP

Intellectual property (IP) is the collective name for rights to elaborate ideas and creative concepts, such as design, inventions, music, brands, software, games, texts and photographs.

There are different kinds of intellectual property rights, each with their own protection value. The best-known IP rights are: trademark rights (name/logo), design rights (design), patent rights (inventions), copyright (creative works), plant breeders' rights (new varieties), trade name rights.

Thanks to trademark monitoring, as a trademark owner you know in time whether a conflicting trademark is being filed. You can then object or file an opposition in time. Often the 'new' trademarks have not yet or not for a long time been on the market.

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