The amended Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property (BCIP) came into force on 1 March, bringing Benelux trademark law in line with the EU Trade Mark Directive. Among other changes, it introduced new opportunities for the registration of non-conventional trademarks, such as multimedia or motion marks.

Among the changes introduced into EU national laws by the implementation of the EU Trade Mark Directive was the removal of the requirement for graphical representation for ‘non-conventional’ trademarks. In the Benelux, as in other EU jurisdictions, this change paves the way for the registration and protection of less traditional trademarks, such as sound and motion marks via an MP3 or MP4 multimedia file.

Novagraaf first to move

Novagraaf is proud to have been announced as the very first applicant for registration of such a multimedia mark in the Benelux. Filed on 1 March, the registration for a multimedia version of our logo has already been published and passed the absolute grounds examination.

Is a multimedia trademark right for your business?

The elimination of the graphic representation requirement is an important step in a more modern trademark law, which now offers businesses throughout the European Union broader possibilities in protecting ‘signs’ that they use to distinguish their products and services from those of other businesses,” comments Mariëlle Zwart-Hoffer, IP Consultant at Novagraaf. “My advice to EU businesses, therefore, is to take a fresh look at everything you do in your branding to see if you use signs to distinguish your products or services that can now be protected as a trademark in this way.

Other considerations

The law still requires the applied-for mark to have distinctive character, and to be presented clearly and precisely so that others can understand and identify the mark. Furthermore, if an owner intends to use a Benelux trademark as the basis for an International application, it should be noted that the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) will still require a graphic representation of the mark, as electronic formats are not currently accepted.