The Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property will be amended on 1 June 2018, creating interesting opportunities for trademark owners to bring legal actions directly before the BOIP (The Benelux Trademarks Office) rather than the court.
The key changes are:
- There will be more grounds for opposition. From 1 June it will be possible to invoke a trademark’s reputation in an opposition based on “sub c”. This is good news for holders of well-known trademarks.
- In addition to opposition proceedings against applications, from 1 June a new cancellation procedure will enable you to act against registered trademarks. You can either file an invalidation action, for instance on the basis of an earlier trademark, or you can file a revocation action against a trademark, for instance for non-use. Last but not least, you may contest the validity of a trademark.The procedure is similar to the opposition procedure and includes a period during which applicants can submit arguments, and defendants can respond. The BOIP will subsequently decide on the cancellation.
- A single appeal body will replace the three individual Courts of Appeal in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. Known as the Benelux Court of Appeal, the new body will deal with decisions by the BOIP.
More grounds will be added in early 2019, the most important one of which will be the possibility to act against trademark applications filed in bad faith.
It goes without saying that, we will incorporate these new opportunities in our advice on trademark issues. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us.