Registering a trade mark is the cornerstone of brand protection. But a common mistake is to assume that registering in one country covers your brand in others. IT DOESN’T. Trade marks generally only apply to the country you file in (with a few exceptions – see below).
In which countries should you register?
- Register in countries in which you expect to do business over the next 5 years. Also consider where a competitor might try to register a trade mark to block you from using your brand. But bear in mind that you must have genuine customers in that country within 5 years or you could lose your trade mark for non-use (and the same goes for competitors).
- If you want good international cover, particularly in English-speaking countries, you’d usually register in the EU, US and UK and also possibly Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The US is, without doubt, key, as it’s the location of so many major social media platforms, e-commerce platforms, web hosting companies, etc. US marks tend to be more respected because of this so action is usually taken quickly when it comes to infringement and take down notices, etc.
- Registering an EU trade mark is also very cost-effective as it gives you protection in 27 EU countries in one go, whereas registering in each county individually is expensive. And you only need to use your brand in at least two EU countries for it to be considered use in the whole of the EU.
- You should really consider registering in every country in which you sell products/ services, or plan to. But bear in mind that can get expensive. Also consider whether it’s worth it, because enforcing your rights in some countries, like China, can be difficult.
Getting your brand strategy right is key. If you’d like to have a FREE trade mark search and/or speak to us about your international brand protection strategy please get in touch or fill in our online form. We do trade mark filings on a fixed fee basis – see how it works here.