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How Can you Protect Your Company Name in EU Countries?

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As a company, you may start expanding beyond your country’s borders, and explore the international markets. Therefore, you may want to uphold some rights, and have your consumers identify where your goods are coming from, and even get compensation in case you are exploited. Moreover, you need your company name on the business cards, signage, insurance policies, and contracts among others. So, how you can protect your company’s name if you live in EU member countries? Below are some of the ways you can do so.

Register Your Company Name

This is one way of letting people know your company and preventing unauthorized use of your company name by a different party. So, ensure you have an official name for the company, and register it with the local registrar of companies. You can have the following designations in your company name; Incorporated (Inc.), Company (Co), Corporation (Corp.), or Limited (Ltd).

Register a Domain Name

With the increasing popularity of the world wide web, you need to get your company name out there. This makes you accessible to the global market. Moreover, customers will easily get information concerning your company, from the services and products you offer to your contact details. What’s more, they can even place their orders online.

Thus, you can protect your company name online by registering it as a domain name. The good news is, you can get a domain name for your company online. A domain name comes in handy when you have a website for your company. Notably, have multiple domain names with all common and possible domain name extensions. This way, no other business will use your company’s domain name.

Read: What is the Trademark Registration Process in Germany?

Copyright your Company Name

When you copyright your company’s name, you protect your original work as the creator. This applies to any written or recorded material, provided they are original. Therefore, ensure you copyright your company name if you have your original works (film, photography, software among others.)  The advantage of having copyrights over your original works is that you will enjoy the royalties.

Use a Trademark

Trademarks are essential in protecting your business name. Besides, they help your customers to single you out. It is important for your company as it differentiates you from your competitors. It identifies the source of your goods and services, offers legal protection for your brand, and protects against counterfeits and fraud. Having a valid trademark is one of the most reliable ways of ensuring your trademark is valid in member countries. Interestingly, you may take the step of registering for a valid trademark through three different approaches;

How Can you Protect Your Company Name in EU Countries
How Can you Protect Your Company Name in EU Countries

Direct Application

Each of the EU member countries has a varying application process. Therefore, a direct application to an EU member country’s trademark office requires you to tailor your application to the country’s processes. Registering for a trademark at a national level in a member country is a procedural approach. The good thing is, you can take advantage of local experts to get things done. They will guide and direct you on the different laws and processes of the countries.

Apply For a European Union Trademark (EUTM)

You can register a trademark as a EUTM. This is a quicker, easier, and more cost-effective way of getting a trademark to protect your company’s name in the EU.  All you need to do is send a single application for a European Union trademark to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Once you do this, you get exclusive rights in all the EU countries and your company’s name is well-protected across all EU member states. The European Union uses legislation and judicial decisions to ensure that your brand is protected.

Read: How to Register a Company in the Netherlands?

Unfortunately, your application can be rejected if one of the countries already has a similar trademark in the national trademark office. Furthermore, it does not protect translations. How? If you choose to translate a product or service you offer, or even your company name, the European Union trademark won’t protect it. Nonetheless, the EUTM only gives you protection in member states.

Multinational Trademarking

This approach applies when you want to protect your company name beyond EU members, or even globally. Thus, you may have a trademark that is valid in different other countries other than EU members. Therefore, you should make an international registration, and apply with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This international treaty allows you to state the countries you want your trademark to be valid. You can choose up to over 100 different countries. Also, WIPO allows you to choose between international organizations such as the EU too.

There are different advantages to filing for a multinational trademark application. For instance, the WIPO multinational filing system allows you to make a single application in a single language, and gain protection in the countries you select at a single fee. Nonetheless, as the trademark owner, you register with different foreign customs offices, and this protects against the distribution of counterfeits.

However, you must have an existing trademark in your home country before applying with WIPO. This is because the trademark should exactly match what you currently have. Once you apply, WIPO will examine the application, then filter it down to each of the country’s trademark offices, so it goes through their national process.  This means that registering with WIPO takes a long time.

How Can you Protect Your Company Name in EU Countries
How Can you Protect Your Company Name in EU Countries

Read: Top 5 Best EU Countries to Register a Business

Remember, you can blend some of the above-named approaches in protecting your company name. For instance, you can make a direct application, and at the same time register for an international trademark using the Madrid protocol, depending on where the market for your business is, and the trademark processes in specific countries.

Join Agencies Like the EU

Once you join international agencies like the EU, you enjoy some of their legislations and requirements. For instance, there are regulations on trademarks, such that no company can register a trademark that is already in existence.

Protect your Company Name at all Cost

You need to protect your company name to have exclusive rights, differentiate yourself from your competitors, help identify yourself to your customers, and guard against counterfeit products and fraud. Thankfully, there are different ways of doing this. You can register, copyright, and patent your company name, and have a trademark. Moreover, you can join agencies like the EU to make sure your company name is protected in the member countries.

Related Articles you Might be Interested in:

How to Register a Company in Italy

3 Ways you Can Run your Business in Germany

How to Register a Trademark in Hong Kong

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