European Union Community trade marks

A regional trade mark registration process

Trade mark protection in Europe can be sought country-by-country or as a single, central, European Community trade mark (‘CTM’ or ‘European Union application’) covering the 27 countries of the European Union.

It is cheaper to apply for a CTM than for individual registrations in 27 countries, whether using a European attorney, or via the international registration system (usually recommended). However, if any one country rejects the application, the CTM is rejected for all countries – that is, ‘one down, all down’.

A CTM can be a cost-effective option if you are seeking protection in a large number of European countries. On the other hand, if you are primarily interested in up to, say, four to six European countries only, we recommend applying individually into those countries. Filing four to six individual applications costs about the same as filing a CTM application (depending on the countries) and avoids the risk of invalidity associated with the ‘one down, all down’ approach of CTMs; for example, a rejection in France would not affect an application in the UK.