Trademark infringement, trademark issues and oppositions

Conflicts are never pleasant, but denying the existence of one may lead to greater negative consequences. Whether it concerns similar marks, strongly similar domain names, parallel imports or just fake products being offered online, not responding not only has financial implications but also legal consequences.

Therefore, it is of great importance to take action as soon as possible if there is a danger of trademark infringement. If other companies use trademarks or register very similar ones to yours, it has a number of consequences. It has a financial impact: for example, consumers are redirected online for alternative products, which is lost revenue. And a negative impact on the value of goodwill. Possible negative publications of the other trademark also have an impact on yours because consumers may think that the trademarks are linked to each other. Act timely therefore and prevent that your trademark rights are affected. However, do check first whether you are truthful. Keep in mind that if convicted, the losing party in judicial proceedings bears all costs.

With new trademark applications, it is possible here to formally object via so-called opposition proceedings. Proprietors are automatically and timely (by trademark watch) informed if an objectionable similar mark is applied for. Only when an older proprietor timely opposes, the Benelux authorities will refuse to register the mark. The trademark authorities do not check the registry for similar trademarks. This is a task for the proprietor himself. If no (timely) reaction is taken the trademark will registered and can only be removed by a more expensive (court) procedure.

It could also be that the organization is growing faster than expected. If expansion is to go abroad is wanted, please check first whether the mark is still available (through trademark search) in wanted countries before investments are made. If so, please register the trademark and the associated domain names immediately to avoid conflicts (or rebranding).

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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?