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Registering a trademark: can you do that yourself, too?

You come up with a name for your new company or you launch a brand with a new name. Of course, you don’t want a competitor, anywhere in the world, to start using the same name. Trademark registration is the logical step. But do you do it yourself or do you bring in an expert? Three different parties explain.

In the vast majority of cases, it is advisable to subcontract a professional. Although the procedure of applying for a trademark is, in itself, relatively accessible (certainly in comparison to applying for a patent), the whole process of trademark protection brings obstacles with it. You could be confronted with these at a later stage, with all the resultant losses. Examples include prior research in order to investigate the availability of a trademark – this can help you prevent a future lawsuit. Or, for instance, referring to relevant goods or services; has everything really been covered with the selected standard wordings? The trademark itself must also be carefully chosen, because you cannot change a trademark in a registration at a later date. Quite a few points worth considering and informing yourself about properly, because a trademark registration is an essential chess piece in potential conflicts with competitors.

Jurriaan Cleuver, Attorney-at-Law, Trademark and Design Attorney V.O.

Essential factor 

As a professional, the trademark advisor provides the experience and expertise that you’re not able to build up on your own as a small or medium-sized enterprise. You’re not involved enough with trademark registration, meaning that you are not (sufficiently) aware of and familiar with the applicable legislation, let alone able to keep up with the case law. And assigning the trademark to the right classes of the Nice classification system is a skill in itself, whereby the advisor sometimes comes up with surprising proposals. In brief: the trademark advisor is an essential factor and a very welcome addition to our company.

Roel Lebens Contracting Manager Clean Electricity Generation B.V.

Simple process

If you can do your tax return online or request a subsidy online from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, there’s no reason why you can’t register your trademark online too. The EUIPO website guides you through the process with tips and recommendations. I did it myself because I wanted to know what it entails and what a ‘trademark’ needs to comply with. In my case, there weren’t any problems, the only thing I hesitated about was whether I should register my new trademark The Cranberry Company with or without a tag-line (Farming with nature). Within a few weeks, EUIPO informed me that there were no problems with the trademark, and the European registration was completed three months later.

Bart Crouwers Owner of The Cranberry Company

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