KNOWLEDGE BASE Trademarks And Patents
Trademarks and Patents In The Netherlands
Trademarks and Patents are types of protected intellectual property and are considered an important intangible business asset. Acquiring a trademark or a patent can give business partners and investors more confidence in your business, which can help you work with and find more partners and to raise equity. Trademarks and patents not only protects your creations, but can also maximize the value of your creation because you have the ability to license them out or sell them outright. Intellectual property rights are territorial, meaning you are only protected in the countries in which your trademark or patent is registered. Therefore, strategically determine the countries in which you need protection before you begin an application process, including the Netherlands.
Filing for a trademark or patent in the Netherlands or for an international trademark or patent is complicated and the risk of getting it wrong is significant. We recommend that you work with an expert who can make the process much easier and efficient.
Trademarks In The Netherlands
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a sign or mark that you use to identify and distinguish your company’s goods or services from another company’s. By registering your trademark, you can prevent others from using it. Once a trademark has been registered, it is protected indefinitely as long as you renew it every 10 years and actively use the trademark.
To show you have a registered trademark you can display the ® symbol next to your trademark. In the Netherlands ® is the sign for a registered trademark. Some people use ™ next to their trademark but this does not have any legal meaning in the Netherlands.
What laws and regulations apply?
The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) is responsible for the registration of trademarks in the Benelux region, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The primary legislation is the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property (Trademarks and Designs) of February 25, 2005.
How do I apply for a trademark in the Netherlands?
You can apply for a trademark application in the Netherlands online through the BOIP. You can also apply for a trademark in person at the BOIP in the Hague or the National Offices in Belgium or Luxembourg. The application process generally takes 3 months. You can apply for priority registration for an additional fee, which will speed up the registration process.
You must pay the applicable application fee. Trademark classification is an important part of the application process and should be considered before you are ready to file the application. Before filing for a trademark, complete a thorough trademark search to ensure you do not register a mark that is already registered to someone else. The BOIP provides guidance on the application process. The BOIP Information Centre offers assistance with the trademark registration process, but it will not give legal advice.
How do I apply for an international trademark?
For international trademark protection, you can either file an application in each country in which you wish to have your trademark protected, you can file a European Union trademark that protects you in all EU countries, or you can register your trademark internationally through the Madrid Protocol. The Madrid System allows you to file one application in a single office (in Switzerland) in one language (English, French, or Spanish) with one fee (in Swiss Francs) to protect your trademark in up to 95 member countries.
If you decide to file your application internationally, you must first register or file an application in your “home” office, in this case the Netherlands. Then you will need to submit your international application with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Details of your application in the Madrid System will be sent to the IP offices in each country you wish to have your trademark protected. The countries in which you seek to register your trademark must be Madrid Protocol member countries. Each country will make a decision in accordance with their legislation and record their decision with the WIPO.
The international registration of your trademark is valid for 10 years and can be renewed at the end of each 10-year period directly through the WIPO. The BOIP provides information on international trademark registration.
Patents In The Netherlands
What is a patent?
A patent is another type of protected intellectual property that is also considered an important intangible business asset. A patent protects the owner of an invention by preventing others from making, using, selling, or importing the invention without the owner’s consent.
What laws and regulations apply?
How do I apply for a patent?
To be eligible for a patent in the Netherlands, you must have created a technical invention that meets the following three criteria: 1) novelty, 2) inventive, and 3) industrial application. Your patent application can be filed online. The Dutch patent application process includes the following parts:
How do I apply for an international patent?
If you determine that you need protection beyond the Netherlands, there are different routes you can choose from to obtain an international patent:
1) directly file separate applications in each country in which you are seeking patent protection;
2) file an application with the European Patent Office for protection in over 30 European countries;
3) file an application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) directly or within 12 months of filing your first application, which is valid in all PCT contracting states. Filing for patent protection under the PCT is simpler, easier, and more cost effective.
The World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) provides information and steps to apply for an international patent through the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The PCT Applicant’s Guide provides up-to-date information on the international and national phases and important forms. The PCT process is divided into two parts, the international and national phases.
What are the risks of noncompliance?
If you discover that your trademark or patent has been used without your consent, you may file a suit of infringement of your rights as the registered owner of the trademark or patent, a court may grant the following types of relief:
monetary damages; and
an account of profits.
In certain circumstances, the court can also order the erasure, disposal, or delivery up of the infringing goods. Infringement may also rise to the level of criminal conduct, and be prosecuted as such, in certain circumstances. Conversely, if you infringe on the rights of a trademark or patent owner, you could be sued for infringement.
Intellectual property protection is very important to any business, and thus, needs to be a top priority whenever you expand into new markets. Furthermore, the trademark and patent application processes are complex, time-consuming, and long. Determine your need for protection and begin the application process early in your expansion planning. Keep in mind, we highly recommend that you work with an IP attorney throughout your trademark and patent application processes.
KNOWLEDGE BASE Trademarks And Patents