For businesses operating solely in the US, registering their trademark with the USPTO is a good step towards protecting their mark nationwide. However, businesses are rarely limited to just the United States nowadays. Unlike in the United States, though, many countries utilize a system of trademark protection. This system usually entails that the first person to register a mark will have greater control over that mark than the party who uses it first in a specific territory. Several examples of countries with this system are France, Germany, and China. Waiting to file an application in these countries can have significant and costly effects if someone else swoops in before you have a chance to file. Sometimes prior filers do so innocently, but more commonly this is done by Trademark Squatters.
International Trademark Applications
Fortunately, several options exist for companies needing protection internationally:
- Applications can be filed in each individual country.
- For applications in multiple countries, a process known as the Madrid Application can be used to file applications with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
- For applications in the European Union, an application can be filed for a European Union Trade Mark (formerly known as a Community Trade Mark). This covers all member states of the EU and may be filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office.
However, deciding how and when to file these applications can be complicated. Whether it is the United Kingdom, Japan, Mexico, Canada, or another part of the globe, Kunkle Trademark and Legal can assist you with your international trademark applications as well as maintaining your registration over your mark.