The importance businesses attach to their trade marks is enormous. This is hardly surprising when one realises how much is invested in the development of new brands, logos and slogans, together with the advertising, marketing and sponsoring to make a trade mark successful and to maintain that success.
It is, therefore, important to ensure that a trade mark retains its distinctive power and publicity function. Businesses have also understood that they have to invest in protecting their trade marks: the company has to procure for itself a suitable monopoly right in order to be able to deal with competitors and third parties that start using identical or corresponding signs.
The fact that trade mark rights are the only intellectual property rights for which unlimited protection can be accorded in the long term confirms their vital importance to a business.
We advise our clients and represent them in judicial proceedings at all stages and in all domains of trade mark protection:
- in the choice of a new trade mark: advice on the validity of the mark and the possible forms of protection; these matters are crucial, not only for word and image trade marks but also for special sorts of trade marks such as shape and colour marks
- subsequent to the choice and filing of a trade mark: assistance in disputes with third parties (opposition procedures and infringement proceedings).
Our IP lawyers have long experience in trade mark law, the complexities of which are often badly underestimated. Many people believe that the rules of trade mark law are unequivocal and relatively simple to apply. This is an utterly erroneous perception.
The many references by national courts to the Benelux Court and the European Court of Justice for preliminary rulings on key notions of trade mark law more than amply underline the complexity of trade mark law.
We have many years’ practice in trade mark procedures, in which both our thorough knowledge of Benelux and Community trade mark law and our commercial and pragmatic approach enable us to achieve optimal results for our clients.
We deal with all aspects of trade mark law: both disputes between major competitors whose trade marks conflict and cases of the copying of trade marks, including so-called trade mark piracy. We also have special experience in the complex area of exhaustion of Community trade mark rights and parallel imports of branded products in a European context.
The internet has also thrown up new trade mark issues, including domain name disputes, in which we assist our clients.
With many years’ practice behind them, our IP lawyers have also accumulated extensive experience and knowledge on the contractual aspects of trade mark law:
- licences and trade mark transfer contracts
- transactional agreements for user rights or transfers of trade marks
- coexistence agreements.
Finally, our IP lawyers also collaborate in due diligence activities in the framework of our Capital Markets and M&A practice.
Our clients include both multinationals and local businesses in all sectors of industry: companies in the food and drink sector, pharmaceutical companies, telecom companies, businesses in the fashion and luxury products sector, in the toys sector, etc.