Depending on the jurisdiction in which you register your trademark in, the national office and registry procedure will differ. For the European Union, the national trademark office is known as OHIM and comprises of a Europe wide database which shows which trademarks are available and which are not throughout the entire European Union. OHIM is an abbreviation for “office of harmonization in the internal market”. The organization focuses its efforts on registering valid trademarks across all 27 EU countries.
When registering a mark it is vital that a thorough search is conducted in advance of submitting the application. By conducting the trademark registry search this will ensure your trademark is unique and identifiable to your brand, goods or services only. The application procedure can take anything up to 6 months to complete.
The process of registering your mark with the appropriate trademark registry will vary depending on the country you wish to register in. Where a mark is to be registered in a selected country which is not party to an intellectual property agency such as OHIM and WIPO, an independent trademark search and registration will be required. In these circumstances it is strongly advised to enlist the assistance of a professional consultancy who are experienced in country specific registration procedures. Requirements will differ between jurisdictions, from the specifications of an acceptable trademark to the period of validity.
Community trademark registration is an effective asset protection tool sought after by many companies operating within the European Union. A CTM is a registered trademark that is valid throughout the European Union for a period or 10 consecutive years and is renewable on expiry for periods of 10 years there after.
The community trademark registry procedure is a relatively straightforward and timely procedure to endure. A single application will be filed to OHIM where the application will be then be reviewed and either approved or rejected.
To file an international trademark the appropriate trademark registry is referred to as WIPO – World Intellectual Property Organization. This particular trademark registry is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and at present has 184 member states. WIPO operates the Madrid System which is governed by the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol.
Any “natural person” or “legal entity” may apply for an international trademark under the Madrid System provided they meet certain criteria;
– Applicant must have an industrial or commercial establishment in a country party to the Madrid agreement, or
– Applicant must be a national or domiciled in a member state party to the Madrid System or Madrid Protocol.
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