International Trademark Registration: What You Need To Know

Since business is often global, many people are curious about what it takes to get an international trademark registration. Because of the way that trademark laws around the world work, protecting your brand globally can be a bit of a challenge. This article will give you the basics on protecting your trademark and brand abroad.

What Do I Need To Know About International Trademark Registration?

  • There is no such thing as an international trademark registration: Technically, there is no such thing as an international trademark registration. When you register a trademark, you will typically be registering that trademark in a single country. Although there are ways to extend that protection (see below), the general default is that your trademark registration stops at the border of the country where it is registered.
  • Each country has its own trademark laws: Every country has its own set of trademark laws. Although there are often similarities between countries, there are also myriad differences. Every country defines what can be registered as a trademark, how long that registration lasts, and what it means for a trademark to be infringed. You don’t need to know all the details of each country’s trademark laws, but you should definitely consult with an attorney to learn about the particulars of any country to which you hope to expand to.
  • Think ahead about international expansion: One of the key moves to make when considering international trademark registration is to think about which countries you want to extend your trademark to. It won’t be worth extending a trademark to every single country, and you do not want to miss any countries that are key to your business plan. Thinking ahead early will help you plan ahead to make sure that you get trademark protection where you need it.
  • You can often extend your trademark protection to other countries: Sure, there is no such thing as an international trademark registration, but that does not mean that you cannot protect your trademark abroad. Thanks to a number of international treaties (chiefly the Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol), you can take a valid United States trademark application and extend its protection to other countries. Doing this means that you don’t have to submit an application to each country in which you want protection – you can actually file to extend your trademark protection with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which then forwards your application to the World Intellectual Property Organization and then to another country’s trademark office.
  • You will want to “clear” your trademark in each country before getting protection there: Even if you have gotten trademark clearance in your home country, you will want to make sure that you can clear it in other countries where you want to use it. The goal is to avoid confusion with any trademark that might already be registered there and which might put a damper on your expansion plans.

International trademark registration can sometimes be a complex topic. That’s why it can be helpful to speak with an attorney in the beginning stages of establishing your brand and registering your trademark. Counsel for Creators makes that easy: you can join our monthly subscription program for $95/month and ask us anything you want about international trademark registration or anything else that you need to know to build your creative business.