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Registration process

You have just applied for a trade mark. What happens next?

Once filed at OHIM, your trade mark will be processed by us to check that it can be registered. There are various steps.

The timeline is composed of the 'examination period', the 'opposition period' and then the registration. The examination period starts with the receipt of the application and the ends with the publication of the application. The opposition period starts with the publication of the application and terminates with the end of opposition period. The registration takes place thereafter. The registered trade mark is then published.

Examination period

Opposition period

Registration

  • Receipt of the application

  • Publication of the application

  • End of opposition period

  • Publication of the registered mark


What happens during the examination period

The following workflow will give you an overview of the actions taken by OHIM during the examination period. They occur almost simultaneously. You can follow the progress of your application status online by accessing eSearch or through your user area.

The following is for applications filed direct with OHIM. Find out about the route to registration for international applications designating the EU.

The timeline comprises the following steps: 'filing date', 'classification', 'formalities', 'absolute grounds', 'translation' and 'search'. Clicking on each of these steps provides more information. Once all the steps have been completed the trade mark is published.

Opposition period








If we detect an error or have to tell you about an objection, we will send an official communication to your user area indicating what we have found; you then have two months to remedy any deficiencies and reply. You may ask for an initial two-month extension of time to prepare your response. The first extension will normally be granted automatically but the second will need to be justified.

If you didn't select the option to receive communications through your user area we will send you a fax or, if we don't have a fax number for you on file, a letter. If you have appointed a representative we will only communicate directly with them.

In some procedures, applicants (or their representative) will be contacted by phone by our examiners to remedy simple objections.

If we believe that your answer doesn't entirely address our concerns, or if you fail to respond, we will issue a final decision, either partly or entirely refusing your application or the claim made in your application (such as a priority claim). Alternatively, we might amend your application details if appropriate (for example, by deleting the description or adding a colour claim). Remember, if you are not happy with the outcome, or think there has been an error you have the right to appeal.

If your application is refused, it is still possible to convert (IP bridge) your CTM application into national registrations, provided no conflict exists.

If no objection is raised, we will publish your trade mark in all the official languages of the EU. This means that we make public the fact that you have applied for this particular trade mark for the goods and/or services specified.

What happens during the opposition period

From the date of publication onwards, third parties who believe your trade mark should not be registered have three months to object.

There are usually two motives for objecting

The third party has an earlier right (or more than one) and believes that yours will, if registered, conflict with it

In order to prevent your mark from being registered, they must oppose your trade mark by filling in a form and paying a fee of €350. If an opposition is filed, your mark will be subjected to — and must succeed in — opposition proceedings. An opposition can be filed within three months after a trade mark has been published.

The opposition procedure:

One in five applications for CTMs are opposed by the owners of trade marks that are already on the market. We decide on these disputes after both parties, the applicant and the opponent, have submitted evidence and arguments. The applicant can minimise the risk of opposition by searching for potential conflicts before they apply.

The following diagram will give you an overview of the various steps of the opposition proceedings:

The timeline begins with the publication of the application and ends with the publication of the registered mark and is composed of the following steps: 'filing of an opposition', 'admissibility check', 'the cooling-off period', 'the adversarial part of the proceedings', and 'the end of the proceedings'. Clicking on each of these steps provides more information.

The cooling-off period

Examination period

Registration



All opposition decisions are published online and all adversely affected parties have a right to appeal.

Where an opposition has been successful, it is still possible to convert (IP bridge) your CTM into national registrations, provided no conflicts exist.

The third party considers that your trade mark should not have been accepted

They can invoke any ' absolute ground' that they see fit. They should send a corresponding communication to the Office explaining why they believe the trade mark should not be registered. We call this a 'third party observation' and it is free of charge. However, it should only be used when a serious reason for contesting the trade mark exists.

Once the observations are received, the Office will issue a receipt to the person making the observations (the 'observer'), and the observations will be communicated to the applicant. Thereafter, the observer will not receive any further communication from OHIM. In particular, the observer will not be informed about the outcome of any re-examination of the application. However, observers wishing to be informed of the further fate of the CTM application concerned will be able to access information about its status via eSearch.

Proof of registration

If nobody files an opposition or third party observations, your trade mark is registered and the registration is published. This is done so that other trade mark owners and the public in general are aware that this particular trade mark is yours.

The publication of the registration is free of charge and a certificate of registration is issued.

You are invited to download the certificate two days after publication. No paper copy of the certificate of registration will be issued. However, certified or uncertified copies of the registration certificate may be requested. This may be necessary if you want to claim the priority of your CTM. Certain jurisdictions will accept a reference to our database (eSearch), while others will request a more official document, which you can obtain using the inspection of file request.

How to challenge an Office decision

Parties adversely affected by a final decision can file an appeal. If you wish to file an appeal, you can use our paper form. If you need to, you can also consult the explanatory notes. You can also do this online through your user area.

Page last updated 25-11-2013