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General information

What can be a Trade Mark
Names, designs, stamps, seals, letters, numerals, shapes of goods (for instance distinctive bottles) or their get-up and all other 'symbols' which serve to distinguish the goods or services of a particular enterprise. There is case law to the effect that even a single colour can, under certain circumstances, be a valid Trade Mark. Shapes can be protected to the extent that they give a distinctive character to the goods. Surnames as such can be perfectly valid Trade Marks and, under certain circumstances, geographical indications can be valid marks as well.

Trade Name/Trade Mark
The protection of trade names is limited to the area where the name is known, so that in separate parts of the country an identical trade name may be used by different undertakings. If one of them wishes to expand into the territory of the other, the first is under obligation to change its name. A registered mark, however, even of purely local reputation, is protected in the entire Benelux territory. It is therefore wise to register the distinctive parts of a trade name as a Trade Mark

Design/Trade Mark
Shapes and drawings which can be both Trade Mark and design, can only be validly protected as a design if there is novelty in the design. So, designs and drawings that are in use can only be validly registered as Trade Marks (if they qualify as such).

Collective (or certification) marks
Collective marks are marks which contain a guarantee with regard to the product, which must not originate from the business in whose name it is registered. The Benelux Trade Marks Act lays down certain conditions of supervision of the use of such marks but gives them wider protection than individual marks. For example, Trade Mark users are not allowed to sit on the Board of the collective Trade Mark owner.

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