A trademark confers on the proprietor certain exclusive rights to use a particular sign in relation to specified commercial activities. The sign (word, image, form, colour or even a scent) must be capable of distinguishing the goods and services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings. A trademark often turns into the most important asset of a business. The ‘Apple’ brand, for instance, is estimated to be worth approximately EUR 113 billion, ‘Google’ EUR 67 billion, and Coca Cola approximately EUR 65 billion. These kinds of commercial values are impossible without accurate trademark protection.
Registration with the competent authorities is necessary for a trademark to be protected. Once a trademark (word, image, form, colour or even smell) has been registered the trademark proprietor may, on the basis of his exclusive right, and under well-defined conditions, prohibit any third party from using an identical or similar mark. A trademark can be registered at several levels: at the national (in our case, the Benelux), the international and/or the Community (European) level.
Our firm is consulted with regard to the expansion and enforcement of trademark rights and portfolios (registration of trademarks, strategic and substantive trademark advice, institution of opposition procedures) and the exploitation thereof (e.g. franchise and licence agreements). In case of an infringement of a trademark right (counterfeiting, infringement of distribution rights, etc.) the appropriate legal proceedings are, failing an amicable solution, instituted, and the customs authorities are, where appropriate, involved in order to block the infringement goods.