International Trademark Registration is Important – Making Sure You’re Protected
Trademark registration is the cornerstone of a successful international trademark strategy. It’s the linchpin that keeps your brand out of the hands of competitors, and gives you the legal right to enforce your trademarks in different countries. Trademark registration is a costly and lengthy process, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Let’s take a closer look at what a trademark is, and how your business can protect itself with an international registration.
How To Register A Trademark
To register a trademark, you must first submit an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO has offices in Alexandria, Arlington, Alexandria, Arlington, and Lanham, Maryland, so the easiest and best way to register a trademark is to visit one of those offices and file an application there.
To register a trademark, you’ll need to do the following:
- Prepare a formal application for registration of the mark
- Pay a filing fee
- Pay a maintenance fee
- Serve your mark to the public for opposition
- Serve your mark to the public for cancellation
It’s important to keep records of all the steps in the trademark process. From the date you file your application to the date you receive your international trademark registration certificate, you need to keep thorough records of each step. That’s because you can’t simply go back and “update” a trademark registration if something goes wrong. The mark has to be registered with the USPTO in its entirety, whether or not you’re ready for it.
Why Register An International Trademark
One thing to keep in mind is that the registration process for a trademark doesn’t protect your mark anywhere in the world. It only protects the mark in the United States. To be protected in other countries, you also have to have a live registration with the USPTO.
If you’re planning to sell products in different countries, you’ll need a registered trademark in every country where you sell products. If you don’t register your mark in every country, any competitor that sees your mark can use it to their advantage, and you won’t be able to stop them. That’s why most companies register their trademarks internationally.
However, you don’t have to register your mark in every country. You can decide which countries you want to protect your trademark. You can register the trademark only in the countries that you’re interested in protecting, and stop registration at the next country where you file.
Tips For Registering Your Trademark
- Make sure you use your trademark consistently. Don’t use “panda” in one country and “panda” in another. Use “panda” only in the USPTO database, and “the panda” or “the panda logo” everywhere else.
- Be careful about foreign marks that are confusingly similar to your mark. If you submit an application for a mark that’s too similar to your mark, you may be required to submit counter-arguments to show why the marks are different.
- If your mark is a word, be sure to include the syllables in the mark to make it clear that you have the exclusive right to use that mark in different countries.
- Maintain complete, thorough, and up-to-date records of the trademark process. You can’t simply “update” a trademark registration; you have to register the mark in its entirety, with the date filed and the date received.
- Never submit your trademark application to the USPTO electronically. That makes it hard to keep track of each filing, and could lead to incomplete or inaccurate filings.
For help with trademark registration, please visit this website.
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