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Benelux trademark protects Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg. In order to obtain trademark protection in Benelux you can register your trademark in two ways: First option is that you request registration in the entire European Union with one single application; this can be done via the European Union Trademark which grants trademark protection in the 28 country members of the EU (more info here). Second option is that you register directly your trademark in Benelux. If you want to proceed this way please follow the steps described belows.
Step 1 - Trademark Study
Before filing your trademark in Hong Kong, you must evaluate any issues that may arise during the registration process. Our Comprehensive Study not only lists similar trademarks (graphic and phonetic) that may conflict with yours but also provides you with an Attorney's opinion on the trademark registration possibilities and the class(es) that your goods/services belong to.
Graphic and phonetic similarity trademark search report
Trademark attorney's analysis and advice
Trademark class recommendation
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Step 2 - Trademark Application
Specialized attorneys will file your trademark application in Hong Kong and carry out all the necessary formalities to bring your application for approval and registration. As soon as your trademark is filed, we will send you a filing report that will include the application number and application date. Also, we will send you a scanned copy of the filed application.
Process handled by experienced trademark attorneys
Filing report and a scanned copy of the application
Online tracking of the registration process
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Step 3 - Trademark Certificate
Once your trademark application is approved, our attorneys complete all the formalities necessary to obtain the registration certificate in Hong Kong. After the certificate is issued, it is forwarded to your address along with a registration report specifying the registration number, registration date, and any special consideration that should be taken into account in Hong Kong.
Process handled by experienced trademark attorneys
Registration report and delivery of the registration certificate
Monitoring and notification of important dates
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**If you know your registration possibilities, you can proceed directly with service: Step 2 - Trademark Application
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 Frequently Asked Questions
Trademark Registration
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Should I file my trademark in local characters?

Yes, for a broader and stronger protection in Hong Kong, we recommend registering your trademark in local characters.

If the trademark is registered only in its original version (Latin characters), the protection does not always properly protect its equivalent in the local language. This means that a third party could use or register the same trademark (or a similar one) in local characters.

In additional to the legal benefits, the registration and use of the trademark in local characters can also have commercial benefits. The public in Hong Kong will recognize your brand more easily if they are able to read and correctly pronounce the mark.

Registering your trademark in its original version, as well as local transliteration/translation, will provide a greater protection from any possible infringements.

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Is there a time frame for the trademark registration approval?

The average time frame for the registration approval is 9 months, if no objections or oppositions arise.

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If I register my trademark in Hong Kong, do I have protection in other territories?

The territorial limit of the trademark registration is Hong Kong SAR. The protection is not extended to other countries.

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Do I need to sign a Power of Attorney?

It is not a requirement for trademark application.

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What are the phases of application after a trademark has been filed in Hong Kong?
  1. Examination – Applications are examined in respect of:
    • Formalities
    • Classification
    • Clarity
    • Descriptiveness
    • Distinctiveness
    • Deceptiveness
    • Conflict 
  1. Publication - The filing particulars are made available to the public via online posting.
    • mark;
    • name of applicant;
    • address of applicant;
    • application number;
    • application date;
    • goods/services;
    • priority claim information;
    • representation of trademark. 
  1. Registration – When the application has successfully overcome all oppositions and it was able to meet all requirements, official registration will be granted.
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Is there any possibility to claim priority in Hong Kong?

The priority date is only used for determining which trademark right was first established in cases where there are conflicting applications. The Convention or WTO application date will not be used.

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What do I need to do to satisfy the use requirement?

Prevent your trademark from being attacked on the basis of non-use by using it within three years from the actual registration date.

 

Use can be minimal, provided it is "genuine" and occurs in Hong Kong.

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Once my trademark has been registered, for how many years will be valid?

The initial term of the trademark registration is 10 years.

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How many applications should I file?

The answer to this question depends on the characteristics of your mark, your budget and the scope of protection that you would like to have in Hong Kong.

If your trademark contains distinctive verbal elements (text) as well as design elements (graphics or logos) and you wish both to be protected, our recommendation is to file two trademark applications; one to protect just the verbal elements (the application will be filed as “Word Mark”) and another to protect just the design elements (the application will be filed as “Combined Mark”).

In this case, proceeding with two trademark applications has the following advantages:

  1. Broader and stronger protection. If a third party files a “Combined Mark” with very similar text to yours but different design, their “Combined Mark” could be accepted for registration if you only filed a “Combined Mark” and not a “Word Mark,” because in its entirety the third party’s mark is still considered different from yours.
  2. You will be protected if your logo evolves. It is common for companies to change the design of their logo with time. If you file a “Combined Mark” and not a “Word Mark,” your new logo will not be protected. You must use your trademark exactly as registered; if you don’t, your trademark may be subject to cancellation.
  3. Effective verbal and graphics protection. Filing a “Word Mark” application provides greater flexibility to use your mark in different ways, whether it is presenting it in stylized text or presenting it with different designs (as long as they are not too similar to registered trademarks that belong to third parties). At the same time, filing a “Combined Mark” allows you to protect the design elements of your mark.

If your trademark also contains a slogan or a distinctive design symbol, we suggest you file a specific application for each, as this will give you additional protection.

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Does having a registered trademark in Hong Kong give me any right?

Registration is not required to secure rights to a trademark. Prior use is enough to establish ownership to a trademark; this is a 'first to use' jurisdiction.

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Is there any need to use my trademark before I apply for registration?

Applicants are not required to prove actual use or intent to use.

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Who can contest my trademark application?

The following parties may oppose an application:

 

  • any interested party
  • the owner of an earlier right
  • a licensee
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Is it possible to cancel a registration?

The following can be grounds for cancellation:

 

  • the mark is descriptive
  • the mark is lacking of a distinctive trait
  • the mark is misleading, deceptive or disparaging;
  • the mark is functional
  • the mark is a protected armorial bearing, flag or a State emblem
  • the mark is generic or customary in the current language
  • the mark is a geographical indication;
  • the mark is a threat against public policy or principals of morality
  • the mark is a badge or an emblem being a particular public interest
  • the mark is a misrepresentation of the product’s nature or it is used in a misleading manner
  • the mark is prohibited in Hong Kong
  • the registration of the mark was made in bad faith
  • there is a failure to observe any condition or policy in the registration process
  • the mark has not been genuinely used in Hong Kong by the owner
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Are there any rights established by having a registered trademark?

The following trademark rights are established by registration:

 

  • the exclusive right to use and enjoy the benefits of the registered trademark
  • the right to object to later conflicting applications
  • the right to request for a cancellation order against a later conflicting registration
  • the right to file an infringement case against a confusingly similar mark;
  • the right to license third parties to use the trademark
  • the right to request from the customs authorities to confiscate counterfeit goods
  • the right to obtain damages from third parties for infringing the registered trademark
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How long is the opposition period?

The opposition period begins on the date when the application particulars are published in the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal.

 

The opposition period ends three months from the date of the publication of the application in the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal.

Basic Concepts
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What is a trademark?

A trademark identifies a company’s products and services and distinguishes them from those of its competitors in the market. The name (the verbal element) is not the only component of a trademark—figurative elements such as logos, design, images, colors, and sounds also create an identity that can be protected by trademark registration.

With the registration, the owner (person or company) becomes the owner of the trademark. The registration is given for a particular country/territory, for certain products or services, and for a specific term. While the registration is in force, only the owner may use the trademark in the market where the trademark is registered.

 Some symbols to consider:

® Means the trademark is registered.

TM Some countries use this trademark symbol to show that the trademark has been filed at the trademark office and is still undergoing the registration process.

SM Some countries use this service mark symbol to show that the service mark has been filed at the trademark office and is still undergoing the registration process.

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What are trademark classes?

Trademark Offices around the world use classes to divide commercial products and services into defined categories.  When you apply for your trademark to protect your brand, you must define the class or classes that you believe best describe your business activity. 

Countries around the world have standardized 45 classes (34 for products and 11 for services) for international use under the Nice International Classification.

These classes group all known products and services. If applicable, you can register the same trademark in more than one class; for example, you may register the trademark KING for computers in class 23 and register the same trademark in class 24 for cosmetics. 

Trademark protection only extends to commercial use within your specified classes.  It is, therefore, possible for two entities conducting business in different classes to use identical or similar trademarks and for each entity to enjoy full trademark protection in their respective classes. If you feel that protection should extend to include more than one class, you can choose multiple classes under which to conduct business.

You can search for your trademark class with this Trademark Class Search tool.

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Do I have to specify the products and services?

Yes, you have. It is not possible to register trademarks that are too descriptive or generic. For example, you cannot register the term 'CAR' for automobiles. You also cannot register a trademark that is like other marks. For example, you cannot register a trademark like HAMASON as an online bookstore because it resembles the Amazon brand name.  

If you are unaware of which class or classes best protect your goods and services, we recommend you order the Trademark Study. Our experienced attorneys will review your product or service description and match it to the class or classes most for your business activity. 

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What is a priority claim and when can I use it?

A priority claim is an allowance based on Article 4 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. It enables you as the owner of a filed trademark to file subsequent trademark applications in any of the Convention’s signatory countries using the effective date of your first application as long as you file the subsequent applications within six months of your original trademark application.  That means if you apply for a trademark in Canada, five months later, you can apply for a trademark in France using the effective date of your Canadian application.

We strongly recommend that you submit your additional applications as soon as possible after your base application.  Many countries have strict requirements regarding the type of documentation required in order to claim priority (sometimes including legalization and translation of the original application). 

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What happens if oppositions or objections arise during the registration process?

The purpose of the Trademark Study is to assess the probabilities of objections and oppositions. If objections or oppositions arise, Nominus.com relies on experienced Trademark Attorneys that will guide you in the appropriate course of action.

Upon notification of an office action or opposition, we strive to:

  • Communicate the details of the action to you as quickly as possible.
  • Include future steps and possible arguments.
  • Monitor deadlines and explain the costs to prepare and submit a response, if applicable.
     
Trademark Search
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Why do I need to perform a trademark search?

Once you have a product or service and think you have a name for it, how do you know you can use it as your own? What happens if you unintentionally use a registered trademark name? 

Too many people use a name without knowing whether or not they have the legal right to do so. They organize massive marketing campaigns with names they later find they’re not allowed to use. Performing a trademark search before deciding which trademark to register is a wise thing to do, especially when you consider future risks of litigation.  

It is a good idea to carry out some research before starting to do business with a trademark. It may not be in your best interest to use a mark if another company is already actively conducting business in the same class.  The other company may object to you using the trademark and legally prohibit you from doing so.

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What is a preliminary trademark search?

Your preliminary trademark search is an important first step before you spend time and money considering whether to apply for a potential trademark or not.

If you have trademark experience, you can use our free trademark search engine, or others like the TMView trademark search engine, to search for existing marks that are identical to your planned trademark. While preliminary trademark searches are a critical part of your registration process, a successful search that shows no conflicts with identical marks does not necessarily mean the Trademark Office will not reject your registration application. 

if you have little or no experience dealing with trademarks, we suggest you find professional help. Our company offers the service Trademark Study. The Study will give you details about the classes where might want to register your trademark, it will also list identical and similar trademarks, and finally, it will provide you an Attorney's recommendation about registration possibilities and use of your trademark.

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Where can I perform a trademark search?

If you know a little about trademark registration, you can search using any online trademark search tool. If not, we recommend that you hire a trademark attorney or trademark service like Nominus.com to handle your trademark registration requirements, especially the trademark search because the process is complex and relatively time-consuming.

Please note that if you don’t manage to complete the application process correctly, the registration can drag on for several months and end up costing far more than you intended to pay. The trademark search is a critical part of the process.

A broad trademark search is essential in today's marketplace, given the increasing number of unregistered and common law trademarks. Globalization also raises the question of entering international markets and registering trademarks in foreign countries to protect both your brand and your property rights.

Please note that even a complete trademark search does not necessarily guarantee your trademark will be accepted and registered. A  Trademark Study includes an extended review process and, more significantly, a formal evaluation of the likelihood that your application will be successful.

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