Selling products on bol.com has become very popular in the recent years and that’s not very strange. After all, it’s quite easy to start and bol.com has a very wide range. But did you know that when you want to start selling on bol.com it’s actually quite important to also register your trademark?
Practically all products that are being sold in the Netherlands have a so-called EAN number. Therefore, when you want to start selling on bol.com you will also have to deal with these numbers. EAN stands for ‘European Article Numbering’. You can find the EAN number on the barcode of the product that you want to sell. If there is no EAN number yet, you will have to purchase one at GS1.
However, when other sellers start selling identical products to the products you are selling, they are allowed to use your EAN number. A product is identical to another product if it’s exactly the same, which means it also has the same trademark. “EAN freeriding” happens a lot, especially when your product sells well. and it can be very detrimental to you as an EAN number holder. First of all, because the freeriders profit from your EAN numbers for free. On top of that, they can also damage your ranking if they sell the products for a lower price. But even worse: if the freeriders sell products that are of inferior quality than yours, your reputation also gets damaged.
Trademark registration to prevent freeriding
It’s not always allowed to use somebody else’s EAN codes. Only when the other seller offers identical products (of the same trademark) as you do, will he be allowed to use your codes. On bol.com it’s possible to sell both brandproducts (including private label products) as well as white label products (generic products). However, it’s only possible to sell brand products if those products are actually brand products. This means that a Benelux or a EU trademark has to be registered for those specific products in order for those products to be sold as brand products. This is how registering your trademark becomes necessary to prevent freeriding. Once you have registered your trademark and you have requested your own EAN codes, it namely becomes impossible for other sellers to freeride on your EAN codes, because they no longer offer an identical product to yours.
When you apply for your own trademark, it’s necessary to select the correct categories, the so-called “classes”. After all, it’s crucial to register the trademark for the products for which you are using the trademark. Read more about choosing the correct class (the so-called “classification”) here.
There are many reasons to register your trademark: protection of your goodwill, protection of your reputation, determent of potential infringers and professional look, to name a few. When you want to start selling on bol.com, there’s yet another good reason to register your trademark: prevention of EAN-freeriding. Arranging for your trademark registration as soon as possible, is therefore wise. Want to know how to do this yourself? Read my article in which I explain how to register you trademark in 5 steps [in Dutch]. Want help from a professional trademark attorney? Get in touch, Lawbeille will be happy to help.