Many entrepreneurs have the goal of expanding their businesses internationally. But even if you have registered your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it is essential to understand that you still need to take measures to safeguard your brand in the global market. Failure to do so can leave the design, slogan, catchphrase, or symbol that makes your brand stand out from the competition vulnerable to misuse, counterfeiting, and theft.
Protecting your brand internationally presents a unique challenge because there is no way to register a complete worldwide trademark. However, there are strategic ways you can protect your brand from wrongdoers as you push your goods and services into the global stream of commerce. The expertise offered by the Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, PLLC can help ensure you safeguard your most valuable asset — your brand — while your company gains recognition abroad.
If you are planning to market your goods and services outside the United States, it is imperative to ensure that you file for international trademark protections. It is especially important to take steps to safeguard your brand internationally if you plan to sell online — although it can be easy to reach consumers on social media platforms and e-commerce sites when you are building your brand, it may also present more opportunities for infringers to take your ideas and use them as their own.
Critically, if you fail to register your trademark in the countries in which you are operating, you may have no legal recourse if you discover another entity has been using your intellectual property without authorization.
At the Trademark Lawyer Firm, we help clients with a variety of international trademark matters, including:
Our attorneys offer counsel to clients through every step of the international trademark process to help ensure their brands are adequately protected in the global marketplace. From developing an initial strategy, identifying the jurisdictions in which you should file your trademark, to helping you enforce your rights, we provide valuable guidance and insight.
The most efficient way to safeguard your trademark internationally is by filing an application under the Madrid Protocol. This method offers business owners and entrepreneurs a simplified and cost-effective means of filing for international trademark protection. Significantly, there are more than 100 member countries, including those in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, China, Japan, the Russian Federation, and many countries in Africa.
Under the Madrid Protocol, one standard application is filled out. Rather than file for trademark protection with countries individually, the applicant can check off the box on the application for each jurisdiction in which they wish to secure their mark. Along with the single registration, there is only one renewal date, eliminating the need to comply with the trademark renewal requirements of each country individually.
Importantly, to be eligible to file a trademark application under the Madrid Protocol, you must first comply with the USPTO’s trademark filing requirements. After filing with the USPTO, the application will be forwarded to the International Bureau for registration. Subsequently, each separate country will be notified of your request for trademark protection and will review the application to determine whether it will be granted for your mark. In addition, many countries that are part of the Madrid Protocol have also entered into the Nice Agreement, an international system used to classify goods and services.
It is vital to prepare a Madrid Protocol application carefully — just as with a trademark filed within the United States, a country that is a member of the Madrid Protocol may refuse a mark for various reasons. Generally, it is not necessary to hire local counsel when registering your trademark through the Madrid Protocol, unless an objection is raised by the specific country’s trademark office.
The Trademark Lawyer Firm provides trusted legal services for business owners to help ensure their marks are shielded from misuse overseas, and they can maximize the value of their brands.
As you expand your brand, it is crucial to increase its level of legal protection. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Trademark Lawyer Law Firm, PLLC works with business owners, entrepreneurs, and startups across all industries nationwide to develop comprehensive and tailored strategies to protect your trademark in the global market. With more than 6,000 trademarks successfully registered by our firm, we have extensive experience filing applications within the U.S. and abroad, including a comprehensive international trademark search. Contact us today for a free consultation.