Today, many businesses are global or have the potential to be. With the click of a mouse, your product can sail over seas or fly across the globe. Since we have the opportunity to imagine possibilities of business on a global scale, we need to remember the importance of protecting our assets on a global scale too. Read why you should consider international trademark protection even if you do not have immediate plans to do business abroad.
1. Trademarks are country specific
First of all, trademarks are country specific, meaning that if you file your trademark in the U.S., It does not automatically grant you trademark protection across the globe; you have to file each trademark independently of each other.
2. You only have six months to file internationally
You only have a slim, six-month window to file your international applications after you file your U.S. application. If you make it within this window, the international applications will adopt the US application’s filing date. This is ideal because typically, the first to file a trademark has a better chance to hold the rights to the trademark. So after you file your U.S. trademark application, act swiftly to determine which other countries to protect your trademark in as you will only have a brief six months to decide.
3. Your defense is your best offense
Unfortunately, the reality is that there is a high rate of brand counterfeits in some international countries including China, Brazil and India. You may want to think about preventing copycats from stealing your business in these countries. Speak with your trademark lawyer about how to build an international defensive strategy consisting of key defensive filings.
4. International copycats can damage or dilute your brand
If an international company infringes on your trademark, this could damage your brand especially if the copycat does not deliver the product according to your standards of quality. Furthermore, once a copycat takes stake in an international territory using your brand, they could be stealing your unassuming customers.
5. Your consumer’s or revenue streams may be international
Many business owners will identify only their core target audience’s location and spend all marketing dollars there. Rightfully so, but when it comes to trademark protection, you must imagine all possibilities as to where your brand may gain recognition as your brand name can easily surpass the borders of where your core audience resides. Be sure you can imagine countries where your product may gain popularity to maintain the protection of your trademark.
6. Companion platform’s may be international
Think of all companion platforms to best help you identify which other countries you may need to protect your trademark in. For example, does your product depend on another internationally available/popular product? If you are an IOS developer for instance, you would want to file the trademark accompanying your app in countries where iPhones are popular – this includes many countries outside of the United States.
As you can see, there are many reasons as to why you should file an international trademark application even if you do not have immediate plans to go abroad. Speak with your trademark lawyer to create a plan of action to protect your trademark internationally.
This article presents the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LegalForce RAPC or its clients. The information presented is general information and for educational purposes. No legal advice is intended to be conveyed; readers should consult with legal counsel with respect to any legal advice they require related to the subject matter of the article.