What is the difference between the International and the Community trademark?
The difference between the two procedures is given mainly by the different formalities needed to get the trademark, but generally the choice depends mostly by the countries where we want to be protected. The community trademark protects in all the countries belonging to the European Union with one unique application.
Should more countries join the Union, the registered trademarks and the applications already filed will automatically be extended to them (as when, starting from the 1st May 2004, other countries joined in such as: Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia). If the mark to be registered is new, the office and all the countries, at national level, with the exception of Italy, France and Germany, do a search. This kind of search will be automatically carried out until 2008. From then on, it will have to be requested and a fee will have to be paid. If everything is acceptable, then the trademark is granted and is valid in all those countries.
On the other hand, with the international trademark, the countries we want need to be selected and a fee for each one has to be paid, no search is done, and the mark is equivalent to several national marks even if the granting procedure is only one. Another difference is given by the fact that, whilst a community trademark application can be done immediately, to file an international application it is necessary to have already deposited a trademark at Italian level, or rather a community one, therefore firstly this will have to be done and paid.
The cost of the two trademarks, international and community, varies according to the number of product classes and the number of chosen countries. After the introduction of this community trademark regulation this type of registration has been largely used and most firms dealing with overseas, follow this path.