How to protect your trade mark via the European Union trade mark system

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The European Union Trade Mark system offers trade mark owners unitary protection throughout the European Union (EU) with the filing of a single application, i.e. legal protection will be valid also on the territory of Estonia. In case of extension of the EU, legal protection of the trade mark extends automatically to the new member states.

The application may be filed in Estonian, it has to be filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) located in Alicante in Spain. The application may be filed either on paper or electronically on the website of the OHIM (e-filing).  Electronic application is preferable, because it is cheaper and more convenient than the application on paper (information concerning the fees).

Community trade marks should be in accordance with the same requirements described under the headings “Which sign cannot be a trade mark?“ and “Earlier rights and searches“, i.e. absolute and relative grounds for refusal of trade mark registration, which are provided in Council Regulation (EC) No 207/2009.

Unitary protection of the Community trade mark throughout the EU means that if the ground for refusal of the trade mark becomes apparent in any member state, the trade mark will not be registered. All rights valid earlier in the member states are considered as prior rights, including earlier national trade marks the owners of which can contest registration of the Community trade mark. Searches concerning earlier marks can be performed in database TMView, which includes data from the OHIM database and the national databases of the member states of the EU. Besides that, several other countries not belonging to the EU have provided their databases for TMView.

Before filing the application it is important to think through thoroughly the goods and services for which protection will be required as after acceptance of the application it is not possible to add any goods or services. The application fee depends on the number of classes of the goods and/or services listed in the application (information on the fees). Assistance for the classification of the goods and services can be found in the database TMclass.

A person with no residence, seat or commercial or industrial enterprise operating in the EU shall authorise a professional representative for communication with the OHIM, except for filing an application for registration of a Community trade mark.

Last modified 22.02.2017