Amendments to the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property, effective as of June 1, 2018, expands the responsibilities of the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (“BOIP”). The salient changes are:

  • Cancellation actions based on absolute grounds, nonuse, or trademark infringement may now be brought before the BOIP. Before the Amendments, such actions could only be brought before the competent court of The Hague, Brussels, or Luxembourg. Actions before the BOIP will cost less and are expected to be more expeditiously decided than similar court proceedings.
  • Oppositions may now be filed by owners of well-known trademarks against junior marks for dissimilar goods and services. Previously, oppositions could be based only on a prior identical mark for identical goods, or a prior similar mark asserting likelihood of confusion.
  • Appeals of BOIP decisions may only be filed before a newly-created Second Chamber of the Benelux Court of Justice. Previously, appeals could be filed before the competent courts of The Hague, Brussels, or Luxembourg. The centralization of appeals under the Amendments is intended to bring about greater uniformity in Benelux trademark law.