A trademark is or can be a combination of a word, sign, symbol or a graphic which is used by a particular company to make it recognizable in the market. A mark associated with a particular service is referred to as the service mark. On the other hand, a Trademark holds true for both marks associated with goods and services.
A product name, tagline or logo that is used regularly will have the Common Law Trademark Rights even though the mark is not registered with USPTO. The Common Law Trademark Right is obtained by using the trademark in a particular business. However, this mark can be further strengthened by registering it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) under the Federal Trademark Registration. Learn more about common law trademark rights here.
The Federal Trademark Registration is done through the USPTO involving the following steps:
- To search the trademark database so as to make sure that there is or will be no duplication of a mark.
- Filling the application online
- To pay the requisite registration fee
If an individual runs his business internationally, then it will be a better and safe idea to register the mark internationally or register the service mark through international trademark registration procedure. To learn more about federal trademark registration, please refer to USPTO website.
Is it necessary to register a company trademark internationally?
Protecting a trademark internationally is quite a challenging job as it requires trademark application filing in respective countries where the applicant ought to seek protection for his mark. Below are some reasons which state why it is necessary to register a trademark internationally:
- While expanding business via the Internet
In today’s world, it is easier to reach customers and expand business with the help of e-commerce portals. It helps immensely in business growth. Once a product becomes popular in the international market, the brand name or the trademark associated with it becomes desirable too. Registering a mark in other countries will prevent companies from using the trademark for their own benefits and business. If not registered, these companies having incompetent service can defame and damage the reputation of a famed company by making illicit use of a mark.
- Counterfeit market
Ill-intentioned companies can go to the extent of making a clone of a product for their own gain. This is what is known as counterfeiting and is quite common in the industry. Trademark registration in target countries can help provide protection against these counterfeit activities in those particular countries.
- Supply Chain Activity
Instances can happen when the supply chain may get involved in illegal activities apart from other companies itself. It is necessary to make a note of where the suppliers are based out of apart from their area of operation. There might be situations where a subcontractor might use the name of a company to portray itself as a branch or subsidiary of it. Registering trademark in countries which are involved in supply chain activity of the company is an absolute requisite. This will help combat situations as mentioned above and also provide legal protection.
International Trademark Registration or Madrid Protocol
Trademark registration is territorial in nature. To register a trademark in multiple countries of the world it is required to file the application through the International Trademark Registration. This is a cost-effective method which allows protection in about 116 countries through a single application filing and one set of fees.
Managing the trademark registered through the Madrid Protocol is easy. Any update in the existing mark or renewal of mark can be done directly through the Madrid System. Separate changes are not required to be done for the individual countries.
For more information, please visit http://www.wipo.int/madrid/en/
How to register a trademark internationally for U.S. applicants?
For U.S. applicants aspiring to seek protection for trademark internationally must file the application with the help of USPTO Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). The filing can be done in both online and offline mode.
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