Trademark registrations are now done online for a fee.
To date (July 2016), the INPI fees (for the filing of a French trademark) are 210 € for 1 to 3 classes and 42 € per additional class. The EUIPO fees (for the filing of a European Union trademark) are €850 for 1 class, €900 for 2 classes and €150 per additional class.
The owner of a trademark may be a natural person or a legal entity (an association or a company). The trademark can also be registered in the name and on behalf of a company in the process of being formed, if the company is soon to be created. In this case, the INPI must then be informed by an entry indicating that the company has been created or that it has never been created.
The applicant may be represented by an agent in this process, in particular by an attorney professional such as an Industrial Property Attorney. The latter masters all the stages of filing, but also the preparatory phases to ensure the distinctiveness and availability of his trademark. It is recommended that you entrust your trademark registration project to him, in order to secure your rights as much as possible over the long term.
If the trademark includes a logo (see our article "To register a logo or not?"), it must respect a certain size, a certain weight and a certain type of file. In any case, prefer a good resolution to a tiny logo, which will not be optimally rendered for publication. However, the INPI protects exactly what you communicate to it. It is therefore advisable to transmit the logo as you use it, with the right colours, the right resolution, the right verbal elements if necessary...
Note that many applicants try to protect several variants of the same trademark in the same application, by submitting a logo in several colors for example, or a word mark with several slogans. Again, the INPI protects the trademark in the exact form that you have mentioned in the application, and you will be obliged, subsequently, to use the trademark in this form in order to validate its registration. Therefore, if a trademark has been registered in several forms in the same application, all these forms will have to be used together, which is never the case. The rule is therefore: one logo, one registration. One name, one application.
Products and services
At the time of filing, Offices always offer wording "help" in the sense that they provide pre-prepared lists of goods and services, which are best avoided. For more information, see on classes of goods and services.
It is therefore necessary to write "by hand" one's own wording, in free text, in order to retranscribe one's activity in one's trademark and, above all, to protect oneself well. This requires a precise drafting technique and a good knowledge of the uses of the offices.
It is also important to choose your classes of goods and/or services carefully. Indeed, if you make a mistake and some goods or services actually belong to another class that you have not included in the application, the INPI will refuse to add it. A new filing will have to be made, which will entail the same fees (the INPI does not refund the fees if the filing is not good).
Once the application has been filed, the Office shall transmit a proof of filing and assign a number to the mark. In France and in the European Union, the filing number and the registration number are identical (this has not always been the case, and is still not the case in a number of countries around the world).
The Office in question then proceeds to examine the mark and checks its admissibility. If the mark is not sufficiently distinctive or if the wording is not sufficiently precise or is not properly classified, the Office sends a notification of irregularity to the proprietor.
Note that the INPI and theEUIPO do not check whether the brand is available or not. This is why so many identical or very similar trademarks coexist on the registers. It is up to the owner to act to defend his rights, which happens in almost 1 out of 4 cases. To avoid such problems, we strongly recommend that you carry out a prior art search beforehand.
Publication and registration
Once the objections have been raised, the trademark is published and then registered a few months later, after granting third parties with earlier rights a period of opposition.
In general, the whole procedure takes about 6 months in France, and between 4 and 6 months in the European Union. Trademark protection is always retroactive to the day of filing.
After the publication of the trademark, it is common for the owner to receive by post a document from a company whose name sounds very "official", such as "european trademark organization". This company requests payment of a relatively large sum for the publication of the trademark on its registers. This is a common scam, which should not be followed up, as we explain in more detail in our blog article on trademark scams.