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5 Reasons You Should Register Your New Zealand Trade Marks in the EU 

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Expanding and entering into new markets holds exciting possibilities for your business. You may be planning on expanding your business’s reach and tapping into European markets. If so, you should consider registering your existing trade marks in the European Union (EU). Fortuitously, a free trade agreement exists between New Zealand and the EU. New Zealand companies can reach out to over 450 million consumers across 27 EU member states. However, you must protect your intellectual property (IP) before tapping into the European market. This article will provide you with five reasons why you should register your NZ trade marks in the EU before entering the European market.  

1. Ease of Application 

Protecting your business’s IP should be one of your most foremost concerns. Registering a trade mark is one way to protect your business’s IP. As such, it will be beneficial for your business if your trade marks are registered in the EU. The EU’s trade mark registration process is designed to be simple and accessible. This is particularly beneficial if you run a small business. If you run a small business, you may not have the resources to navigate complex application procedures.

To register a trade mark in the EU, all you have to do is submit a single application to the European Union IP Office (EUIPO). This process streamlines the process and reduces administrative burdens. For example, you can file an application in a single language. You do not have to navigate the different languages and legal systems in each individual country.

Additionally, the EUIPO’s approval process is relatively fast. Although, you may rely on a fast-track option if you require expedited processing. 

2. Access a Large and Diverse Customer Base  

The EU is the world’s largest trading block, comprising a market of over 450 million consumers. This makes it one of the most significant markets for your business to explore. 

Moreover, the EU has a population which is incredibly diverse. In turn, this offers your business unique opportunities to cater to a broad range of customers. These customers have different cultural backgrounds and preferences. Provided you understand the cultural nuances and localise your offering, you can succeed in the EU market.

Assuming you have registered your trade marks in the EU, you can access this vast market. In turn, you can leverage your brand’s identity to establish a regional presence. 

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3. Unique Priority System

The EU operates on a unique system of trade mark protection called “first to file”. This provides legal protection to the person or company who files the trade mark application first. This is irrespective of whether they are using the trade mark in commerce.

In contrast, New Zealand operates on a “first to use” system. This system provides priority to the individual or company who can establish they used the trade mark first in commerce. It is irrelevant as to whether the party registered the trade mark or not.

This difference underscores the importance of your business registering your trade marks in the EU. You need to do this in order to protect your brand and secure your coveted trade mark rights. By registering your trade marks in the EU, you can prevent others from appropriating your brand’s identity. Further, you can build a strong legal basis for your brand in the EU market. In turn, this makes it easier for you to expand your business down the line. You do not have to worry about possibly infringing on someone else’s trade mark. Not to mention, by registering your trade marks in the EU, you minimise the likelihood of costly legal disputes. These disputes often arise if you have not registered your trade marks. 

4. Protect Your IP

Registering your trade marks in the EU is essential if you want to protect your business’s IP rights. This is particularly important if you wish for your business to have a strong international presence.

If you register your trade marks in the EU, you can prevent your prospective competitors from using the same or a similar trade mark. This avoids confusion amongst EU consumers and safeguards your brand’s identity. A registered trade mark also holds significant value and can increase the overall worth of a business.

Further, let us assume your registered EU trade mark has been infringed upon in some manner. If your trade mark has been infringed, the consequences the offending party will face can be severe. You may be awared damages and possibly an injunction. Nevertheless, under EU law, you have multiple enforcement options that you can rely upon to prevent such acts happening again. This both protects your brand and your brand’s IP rights. 

Registering your trade marks in the EU is valuable from two perspectives. On the one hand you are protecting your own IP rights. On the other, you are also ensuring that you are not infringing upon someone else’s trade mark. It is important that your business does not infringe upon someone else’s trade mark. Otherwise, your business may be involved in costly legal disputes and may face significant financial penalties. 

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Trade Mark Essentials in New Zealand

Our free Trade Mark Essentials in New Zealand guide explains how to register and defend your trade mark registration.

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Key Takeaways

New Zealand’s free trade agreement with the EU provides an excellent opportunity to expand your business’s operations overseas. However, your business should have all its IP protected before expanding overseas. Some key advantages of registering your New Zealand trade mark in the EU include:

  • ease of application;
  • access a large and diverse customer base;
  • unique priority system;
  • protect your IP; and
  • avoid legal disputes. 

If you need assistance registering your New Zealand trade mark overseas, contact our experienced trade mark lawyers as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page

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Emily Young

Emily Young

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