Seeking out international trademarks is a crucial task for companies looking to conduct business across the United States’s borders. Just like a federal American registration, international trademarks can be used to protect your brand’s reputation, your company’s products, and deter infringement by outside parties. When looking to expand beyond the US market, the European Union is a logical next step when adding to and protecting your intellectual property portfolio. However, navigating this process and understanding the implications of a registration that spans over two dozen countries’ borders can be daunting, so ensure you have first taken a close look at the costs and benefits that a European addition can have on your international trademark strategy. You can check our blog post for a full list of reasons to register your trademark in the EU.
An Overview of Trademark Costs
The fee for a one-class trademark application submitted to the European Union Intellectual Property Office is €850 euros, which is approximately $990 USD. If the applicant chooses to apply for a mark in two classes, the fee is increased by €50; each additional class thereafter is an extra €150. Should a response to an appeal, opposition, or cancellation be needed, further costs will be incurred.
Alternatively, the applicant may choose to file a trademark application through the Madrid Protocol rather than directly to the EU Intellectual Property Office. This treaty allows one application to be filed in multiple member countries at once. Nations that are part of the Madrid Protocol are not specific to a certain region, like the European Union–rather, these countries are found all over the world. The European Union process also streamlines the trademark application procedure in a very similar method, so the Madrid Protocol path may be a more appealing choice only if you are also interested in applying for trademarks outside of the European Union. Additionally, while you pay a single upfront fee for the Madrid Protocol filing, it is important to note that each country in which you choose to apply will have its own individual registration fees as well.
Working with an Attorney
Should the applicant choose to work with an attorney, legal fees need to be factored into the overall budget for the application in conjunction with the aforementioned filing fees. While more budget-conscious businesses may attempt to maneuver through the European Union’s trademark application process alone, the advantages of utilizing the services of an experienced attorney far outweigh the monetary expenses upfront. For example, an intellectual property lawyer is able to conduct a clearance search of the EU trademark register prior to filing the application to ensure there are no pre-existing registrations that may bar your trademark from registering. Having this knowledge before the application is submitted can save the trademark owner extensive fees that may have arisen in future appeals or opposition responses. You can learn how to conduct a trademark search here, but it is highly recommended that you engage an experienced attorney to assist with your trademark search.
Furthermore, working with an attorney is beneficial because they understand the legal jargon and nuances of the application form, helping the applicant to avoid errors within the application itself and saving both time and money in the overall application process. Lastly, an attorney can help you to decide whether filing through the Madrid Protocol or directly with the EUIPO is the best choice for you and your company. Factoring a lawyer’s legal fees into your budget buys you much more than just trademark counsel to guide you–it also provides assurance that your application has a high chance of registration success, as well as prevents technical errors from occurring within your application regardless of how you choose to apply.
Overall EU Expenses
Ultimately, the cost of your EU trademark application will vary depending on the number of classes in which you choose to apply, as well as the method that you select. These decisions are best made while guided by the assistance of an experienced trademark attorney familiar with navigating foreign application systems. Choosing to expand your brand beyond borders is a large investment, and it is imperative that each applicant understands the costs ahead before diving into the European market. If you are interested in applying for a trademark within the European Union, please reach out to any of the attorneys at Gerben Law Firm for a consultation and quote.