Trademark protection is national. There is no such thing as an “international trademark” that covers all of the countries in the world. This means that filing a trademark in the United States (or any other country) does not provide protection in other countries. It is important to consider filing an international trademark if your company offers goods or services in another country. Registering in a foreign country gives you the right to own and protect your brand against would be copycat and knockoffs. This is particularly important where a brand becomes successful and a foreign users see this success. They can actually copy and register your brand in their country and sell the same goods and services you sell unless you have filed before them in most cases.
Understanding trademark law in each country is important before using a mark outside of the United States. While in the U.S. trademark rights are based on use, in many countries it is more important to be the first to file. Before a competitor can steal the goodwill and brand reputation you have worked so hard to build you should file a trademark application in countries where you plan to do business and have your brand “of record”.
One of the very important benefits of being a US trademark applicant is the right to claim filing date of your US trademark application when you file an international application under the Madrid treaty as long as you file within six (6) months of the date you filed your US application. As may be evident, there is a tremendous strategic advantage to this early priority date in countries where the first to file the application owns the trademark. It is important to note – that while many countries are signatories to the treaty (all of the EU, the UK, Mexico, China, Russia, India, etc.), Canada is not a signatory so you cannot obtain this early priority date right in Canada. Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig can file your trademark in all of these countries and can file a national registration in Canada, allowing you to have an experienced international law firm managing your entire trademark portfolio, including often confusing deadlines and a variety of rules that can change country by country. Contact us today to learn more.
For a list of Madrid Protocol countries: Click here