Trademark law

Trademark law protects your company name, the name of your products and your logo as brands. Well-known examples of brands are Tony’s Chocolonely, Dopper, Triodos Bank, MUD Jeans, B Corp and Netflix.

What is unique about trademark law, is that a brand can continue to exist indefinitely. Unlike a patent, copyright, design right or various other intellectual property rights, a trademark can be renewed indefinitely. This can therefore be an interesting investment for your company. A registered trade mark confers an exclusive right to use that brand, which obviously represents a certain value. It is possible to register a trademark in the Benelux, throughout Europe or internationally.

Trademark registration

For protection on the basis of trademark law, registration is an important requirement. Each product or service can be linked to a name or logo that you can register as a trademark. Brands exist for both products and services. Descriptive designations cannot be registered as a trademark (such as ‘the red apple’ for the product apples or ‘the bicycle specialist’ for the services of a bicycle repair shop) and companies that register a trademark must take into account the existing rights of third parties.

Many companies think that trademark protection is only about names and logos, but there are many different options imaginable. For example, the blue front wheel of ‘Swapfiets’ (a Dutch company that leases bikes), Nike’s slogan ‘Just do it’, the sound mark of CoolBlue (a flute tune) and several packaging concepts (such as the Coca-Cola bottle and the Red Bull can) are registered as trademarks.

At BVDV we can register your trademark and then also continue to protect it in case that is necessary. We like to think along with you about what is a strong brand from a legal point of view, and that can differ substantially from what an advertising and marketing agency sees as a strong brand.

Trademark protection

If someone else uses or intends to register a trademark that is too similar to the brand of your company, BVDV can help you to take action against it.

Blocking the registration of a new trademark? This is possible if there is a risk of confusion. It is possible to take action before the final registration of such trademarks. Before your competitor’s trademark is definitively registered, it can be protested against in writing to prevent registration of the new trademark. This is called ‘opposition’. A major advantage of opposition is that whether or not a trademark is in conflict with the earlier (trademark) rights of a third party is decided at an early stage.

But even if a younger trademark has already been registered, it is possible to take action. BVDV can advise you whether there is a risk of confusion between the older and the younger trademark. If the brands are too similar auditory, conceptually and/or visually, the use of the younger trademark can be prevented by civil proceedings if necessary.

Is a competitor using a brand that is too similar to yours? We can help you to map out the best way to take action against this.

Questions about trademark law? Feel free to contact us to discuss the possibilities.