The European Union trade mark is a mark for identification and distinction of goods and / or services, which is valid throughout the European Union and is registered with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in accordance with the procedure set out in Regulation 2015/2424 of the European Parliament and the Council. The European Union trade mark offers equal protection in all countries of the European Union under a single registration procedure before EUIPO. It is both an alternative and a supplement to the two procedures described above - registration of the mark in national and international order.
A European Union trade mark is applied for directly before EUIPO and the Application may be filed in person at the Alicante Office reception, sent by post, courier or fax. When the application is submitted by fax, it is not necessary to send the original copy. The so-called e-application is also possible - the application is sent via an electronic form on the Internet. As the costs of processing electronic applications are lower, the use of this type of application is encouraged and the basic application fee is lower. The European Union trade mark application must contain: an application for registration of a European Union trade mark, - information enabling the applicant to be identified; a list of the goods and / or services for which registration is sought; trade mark image. An application for a European Union trade mark may be filed in any of the official languages of the European Union and shall be deemed to be the first language. In addition, a second language shall be chosen, selected from the five working languages of EUIPO: Spanish, German, English, French and Italian. All actions before the Office after registration are completed in the second language. In addition, the applicant accepts that the second language may be used by third parties to lodge objections to the registration, requests for cancellation or deletion of the registration.
A basic fee is paid for each application and in cases when more than three classes are requested, an additional fee is paid for each subsequent class.
If the necessary conditions for this are met, the application may indicate the so-called seniority claim, namely the proprietor of a national or international trade mark which is already registered and has received protection in one of the EU countries may claim seniority of that previous registration in respect of the European Union trade mark. In this way, the proprietor of a European Union trade mark will be able to exercise the rights of this previous registration, even if he ceases to maintain it. In order for the claim for seniority to be valid, it is necessary to have the so-called "Triple identity" of the trademarks, goods and services and the owner.
Upon receipt of the application, an expert of the Office shall check whether it contains everything necessary and whether the fees have been paid. If necessary, the applicant is required to rectify existing irregularities. This stage ends with the application being given an application date. An investigation into the existence of prior rights follows, which is carried out only if the applicant has explicitly indicated it when submitting the application for registration. Investigative reports on existing earlier trademarks shall be drawn up at the European Union Intellectual Property Office and at the offices of some Member States of the European Union, once the application has been dated. The next stage is an inspection on absolute grounds for refusal. Absolute grounds for refusal are present if the mark for which registration is requested is devoid of distinctive features; in one of the languages of the European Union is used exclusively to indicate the type, quality, quantity, purpose, value, geographical origin or time of production of a good or service, or another characteristic feature of the goods or services; in one of the member states of the European Union it has become common in everyday language or in honest and lasting commercial practices; contradicts public order and accepted principles of morality; is of such a nature as to be likely to mislead the public, for example as to the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or services. The check is performed for all official languages of the European Union. A refusal shall be issued even if there are absolute grounds for doing so for only one Member State of the Union. It is possible that the obstacles, related to lack of distinctiveness, to be overcome if, as a result of use, the sign has acquired a distinctive character or "secondary meaning". If there are no absolute grounds for refusal and if the applicant does not withdraw his application after receiving the study reports on the existence of earlier rights, the application shall be published in the Bulletin of the European Union, issued by the European Union Intellectual Property Office in all official languages of the European Union. Within 3 months after the publication of a European Union trade mark application, third parties may file objections - the so-called opposition to its registration.