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Global Protection of Your Trademark

Does your business have a specific trademark? If so, you should know that it may be vulnerable overseas. While your business may have established protections within the United States, someone in another country could potentially use your trademark if you are not careful.

A trademark can be a symbol, phrase, word or design. If your company's brand can be extended to other countries, you may want to consider filing a trademark outside of the U.S. to protect your rights to the particular brand.

With the growth of online trade and social media, businesses have become increasingly global. As a result, it is important for a company to control its brand on an international level. However, protecting brands in the global market can be difficult.

In the U.S., trademark rights are based on use. Specifically, if you use a trademark without registering it, this action creates rights to brand. To register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, you must show actual or planned use of the specific brand. If you do not plan to use the name, the Trademark Office will not permit registration.

Conversely, trademark rights in many other countries are based on filing. In other words, if you are starting a brand in the U.S. and plan to extend it globally, you have to register your brand abroad. If you do not, another person can control your U.S. brand in another country.

Many businesses register their brands in major countries around the world. It is also helpful to register your brand in any country where your company is engaged in business. You should file your trademark in the U.S., and then register it in countries that are important to your business. This can be done through the country's Patent and Trademark Office; however, it may help to have an attorney facilitate the process.

If you are interested in filing your trademark in various outside countries, you have additional options. For example, you can apply for international registration, which is a multicountry filing application that encompasses 86 countries. The bundle includes the most industrial nations in the world. To do this, you file your trademark in the U.S. and subsequently extend the filing to international jurisdictions. There is a filing fee in each country; however, overall, this option is relatively inexpensive and administratively easy.

Filing for global trademarks can be crucial to your business. If you allow others to register your brands abroad, you risk diminishing it and limiting your chances of global expansion. Therefore, if you are considering filing a trademark, you may want to consult with an experienced trademark attorney. A lawyer can help you protect your rights to a specific brand.