Step 1 - Application
First, you have to decide which goods and/or services you currently (or intend to) sell/supply under the mark and that you want covered by the trade mark registration. We will then work with you to draft and agree a 'specification', describing those goods/services in accordance with the relevant accepted terms and classifying them into the correct 'class' (there are 45 classes in total). Your application will then be filed by Ashfords at the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market ('OHIM').
How much does it cost? For preparing and filing a Community trade mark application to cover goods/services in one class only, we charge a fixed fee of £350 plus VAT. In addition, OHIM's official application fees have to be paid by you and they are currently €900 (for a Community trade mark application covering goods/services in up to three classes, filed electronically).
For each additional class of goods/services in excess of three classes, we charge a further fixed fee of £100 plus VAT. In addition, OHIM's fees are currently €150 for each additional class in excess of three classes.
For an additional fee of €120, OHIM will provide national availability search reports. These reports are designed to notify you of any third party registrations or applications (which are for earlier trade marks that are the same as, or similar to, the mark which is the subject of your application) on the national registers of 7 of the countries covered by a Community trade mark.
Step 2 - Examination
An Examiner checks the application and sends both an Examination Report and a Search Report to Ashfords. We will report these to you and, if there are any issues identified in the Reports, we will liaise with you in order to try to overcome them.
Step 3 - Publication
If the Examination Report does not raise any objections (or we overcome the objections raised) the application will then go forward to advertisement in the CTM Bulletin. Upon advertisement, there is a 3 month period during which anyone can oppose the registration of your mark.
If an opposition is filed, we will seek your instructions. Your options will be to fight the opposition or abandon the application.
Step 4 - Registration
If no-one opposes the application (or if we overcome any opposition) the mark will proceed to registration and a certificate will be issued. Your mark will then be protected in the 28 member states that comprise the EU.
How much does it cost? For steps 2-4, we charge on a time incurred basis for the time we incur.
For straightforward applications, you should budget an estimated £350 - £450 plus VAT per application for steps 2-4.
You are looking at a total estimated cost of approximately £1,500 - £1,600 plus VAT (including Ashfords' fees and all official fees) if your trade mark application proves straightforward and covers goods/services in one class only. This works out at about £150-£160 plus VAT per year for the 10 year period of the registration.
It normally takes between 8-12 months from filing the application with OHIM to receiving the registration certificate, assuming the application proves straightforward. It will take longer if the application is not straightforward (e.g. if it is opposed by a third party).
Once registered, assuming you pay the renewal fees every 10 years and you use your mark in trade for the goods/services it covers, your trade mark can theoretically remain registered forever.