Trademark registration in the European Union - The ultimate guide

Find out everything about the application process, costs and time required to register your trademark in the EU.

In which country do you want to register your trademark?

European Union

Why register a trademark in the EU? 

The European Union's GDP represents around one-sixth of the global economy, making the region quite attractive for businesses. Also, thanks to economic agreements between members that are the core of the EU's philosophy, expansion from a national to a cross-country level is easier in some regards - including trademarks and securing IP protection. Trademark registration on the European level gives the trademark owner access to legal protection for their brand in all member states with one single application.

Which countries does an EU trademark cover?

An EU trademark is valid in all member states of the European Union. Should a new country join the EU, existing EU trademarks will automatically extend their protection, subject to certain conditions.

Common questions include whether EU trademarks are valid in Switzerland, Norway or the UK, but they're not. Citizens of Norway can apply for an EU trademark without a representative, which is where the confusion often comes from, but an EU trademark is not valid in Norway. 

In the case of the UK, EU trademarks registered after January 1st, 2021, are no longer valid in the UK. For previously registered EU trademarks (and some pending trademarks whose owners requested re-filing), the UKIPO has automatically created comparable UK trademarks based on the existing EU trademark free of charge. 

Can a trademark registered at a national level be extended to an EU trademark and vice versa?

National trademarks cannot be converted into an EU trademark, as a separate application has to be filed. 

On the other hand, EUTM (trademark of the European Union) registrations can be converted into national-level applications if the EUTM has been rejected, withdrawn, or has ceased to have an effect. For example, if an EUTM application is successfully opposed in one or more member countries, the applicant is prevented from obtaining the EU trademark. In that case, the EU application can be broken down into national applications, and the applicant can apply for (selected) individual national trademarks in countries where a successful opposition hasn’t blocked the trademark application. 

Sidenote: This one consequence of the unitary character of the EU might make national trademarks more attractive to some companies, and many small-to-medium businesses opt for national protection to avoid fighting for or managing the trademark at a level they don't really need.

Which office registers EU trademarks?

EU trademarks are registered by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). National trademarks are registered at the respective national intellectual property offices. There's also one more regional trademark for BENELUX, which you can apply for at the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP).

EU is also a member of the Madrid Protocol governed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), meaning you can apply for an EU trademark through WIPO (together with more than 100 other countries on the list, all in one application). However, such an application has to be based on a previous trademark registered in one of the countries belonging to the Protocol.

Who can register a trademark in the EU?

Any individual or company can apply for an EU trademark. It is not mandatory for individuals and companies based in the European Economic Area (EEA) countries (EU Member States and Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) to use a legal representative. A non-EEA-based individual or company must use a representative in all proceedings before the EUIPO (apart from merely filing the application, an application for renewal or an application for inspection of files).

How does the EUIPO determine trademark priority?

Like most countries, the EU is a so-called "first-to-file" jurisdiction, meaning applicants who first apply for a trademark are assigned trademark rights and given priority over others, regardless of the actual use of the mark in commerce. 

It's also worth pointing out that the validity of an EU trademark starts counting from the date of filling (contrary to, e.g., the USA, where a trademark is valid from the registration date). And when you also consider the fact that a mark doesn't have to be used in commerce at the time of application, then, strategically speaking, if you are thinking of applying for an EU trademark, it is worth doing as soon as you have a business idea/brand formed.

How long does it take to register a trademark in the EU?

Trademark registration in the EU takes about 4 months on average (provided there are no objections or opposition proceedings), which makes the EU one of the quickest regions to get a trademark in. 

Bear in mind that this number is not representative of the length of the process in individual member countries. Trademark registration on a national level can take anywhere from 3 months (Belgium) to about 12 months (Italy, Spain).

What is the cost of trademark registration in the EU?

Online application costs €850 for one class of goods and services, €50 for the second class and €150 for the third and each additional class.

In the case of a paper form, the base price for one class goes up to €1,000; extra classes cost the same. 

Base fee (one class)

Second class price

Third and each additional class price

Online application




Paper application




You can also find a calculator on the EUIPO fees and payments page.

What does the trademark registration process in the EU look like?

Your application must contain all the mandatory and basic information required: a request for application, a correctly identified owner, a clear representation of the trademark and a list of goods and services. Payment of the basic fee must also be made within one month of the filing date, with the exception of having your application processed as Fast Track, which you will need to pay at the moment of filing.

After you submit the application, the EUIPO will: 

  1. Examine your application

  2. Search for similar trademarks

  3. Publish the trademark for oppositions

  4. Provide the registration certificate


The examination includes assessment to see whether the mark is distinctive and not, for example, descriptive, customary, deceptive or contrary to the accepted principles of morality, as well as formalities such as the owner and/or representative data, priority and/or seniority claims, etc. In addition, the goods and services you seek protection for are reviewed to see if they have been correctly classified and their nature has been clearly indicated. If you have used the Harmonised Database for classification, your list of goods and/or services will be accepted automatically.

Search for similar trademarks

If the applicant requested this in the advanced application form, the EUIPO will carry out a search in the EU trademark database for identical and/or similar marks. The results are sent to the applicant before the trademark application is published. Owners of previously registered trademarks or trademark applications quoted in the report are informed — by a "surveillance letter" — about the trademark application. The results of both search reports and surveillance letters are not exhaustive and are for information only. 

The owners of previously registered/filed marks can come forward during the next stage in the process. You can prepare for potential oppositions by searching in the database yourself or using our free lawyer's check, where one of our attorneys, who knows what similarities to look for, prepares a report for you.

Publishing trademark for oppositions

If the application fulfils all formal requirements established by the legislation, it is published in the EU Trademark Bulletin. Within 3 months from said publication, the trademark application may be opposed by any third party, whether previously notified by the EUIPO or not. You can learn more about EU opposition proceedings in our article Understanding Trademark Registration in the EU.

Providing the registration certificate

If your application is not opposed within 3 months since the publication, your trademark will be registered subsequently.

Does the EUIPO stop the application if it finds a similar already registered trademark?

No, the EUIPO doesn't object to/refuse your application if it finds a similar already registered trademark or a similar pending mark. Instead, it'll inform you and the owners of similar marks about its search results, but the burden of the opposition falls onto the owners.

How long does a trademark last in the EU? How can I renew my EU trademark?

An EU trademark is valid for 10 years from the date of filing. After this period, it can be renewed for another decade. There is no limit to the number of times it can be renewed. 

It's possible to apply for a renewal up to 6 months before the expiration date. The cost of renewal is the same as the cost of filing a new application. If the applicant misses the deadline, there's an additional 6-month grace period; however, missing the deadline incurs an extra 25% of the price added to the overall cost.

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