A business owner can have many reasons to enter the international market. Success at home country, the desire to expand the business, the crisis that broke out, the search for new markets and more. In any case, your company must have legal protection. Reliable legislative protection is ensured by trademark registration internationally which protects your property.
What is trademark and why do you need it
A trademark is a mark that distinguishes a product or service from one manufacturer from another. A trademark may be a logo, emblem, or verbal name of a product. Its owner may be an individual entrepreneur or legal entity, which must register this identification. After the registration, the trademark becomes the intellectual property of the owner, and it receives the exclusive right to use this mark for its service.
At the present stage, it can be noted that a trademark is a powerful tool for brand promotion, which means business development, as well as reliable protection against the production of fake products. It is worth noting that not all designations may become trademarks. The main criterion taken into account during international trademark registration is uniqueness. A mark shall not repeat already registered signs.
Why register trademark internationally
A registered trademark performs the following functions:
- captures the distinctive features of the goods or services produced by your company;
- gives a name to your goods or services;
- allows the consumer to recognize and remember the products or services of your particular production;
- communicates information about the goods and services of your company to the consumer;
- stimulates the desire to buy your goods or services;
- symbolizes the guarantee of the quality of your goods or services.
Global trademark registration is the optimal way to protect your product, your funds invested in its advertising, development, and production, from attempts by third parties.
Types of trademarks
A huge number of trademarks are registered and protected in the world. Among them are those that are not yet very well known to the consumer, since they do not enter the international market, but some have long been known around the world.
Using their examples, we will consider what types of trademarks included in the international trademark register exist.
- A word symbol does not have a graphic element and can consist of letters, words, phrases, and sentences. A verbal designation can be either the name of an existing object, event, or it can be fantasy, that is, has no meaning. Abbreviations are also often recorded.
- Artwork which contains only a graphic element. This can be a stylized image of an object or a combination of graphic forms invented by the designer.
- The combined trademark combines a verbal and graphic element.
- An audio trademark is a specific melody or sound.
- A three-dimensional sign is most often presented as a branded package of a product.
A product brand is the face of your company, its products and services. Do you value the face of your company? Then be prepared to defend it. The only reliable brand protection is world trademark registration.
Trademarks registration procedures
The international trademark registration requires the filing of only one general application indicating the list of countries of interest.Atrium Business Solutions
The assessment is carried out by the patent office worldwide which sends out information about your trademark to the offices of the countries indicated in the application when the process is over.
Today, the Madrid Agreement unites 122 countries of the world. Here are just a few of them:
- Other countries
In the international application to register a trademark worldwide, all EU countries can be combined, i.e. indicate them as one position. But there is a significant drawback in this approach: if one of the countries rejects the application, it will be rejected by all the others. This suggests that it is better to indicate each country member of the European Union as a separate paragraph. It will cost more, but in the long run, it can save from rejection throughout the EU.
Protection after registration
One of the main features that distinguish the registration of US trademarks from other national legislations is the application of primacy in use principle. According to it, the advantage is given to the owner of the trademark who first started using it, and not to the first who registered it. Also under US law, if you do not want to lose ownership of your trademark, you should use your mark. International trademark protection and ownership is not limited to registration but depends on the actual use of TM.
Unlike the United States, Chinese law provides protection for trademarks only when they are actually registered. Therefore, no matter how sad it may be, the previous use of the trademark does not give you any priority, which once again proves the need to register the trademark at the beginning of the launch. You can register a trademark through the National Intellectual Property Office of China.
Benefits of trade mark registration worldwide
Among the benefits to the holder of an international trademark are:
- No risk of the prohibition of your trademark use in the territory of the states where the registration is done using world patent and trademark office.
- An opportunity to receive additional profit by transferring rights to use a trademark under license agreements and franchise agreements.
- The ability to protect your interests and receive compensation for the illegal use of a trademark.
To facilitate the international protection of a trademark in several countries, there are certain regional registration systems and international treaties. Two ways to ensure international protection of trademarks have become the most popular among businesses: registration of a trademark under the Madrid system (worldwide patent office) and the national registration of trademarks in each particular selected country.
Cost of registration
In Europe, an entrepreneur of any country can apply to the European Patent Office, but the trademark must be unique and presented in graphical form. The application is issued in any of the European languages, including German and English. The official fee will be €850 for the first class, €50 for the second class and €150 for each next class. If no obstacles to the registration of a trademark are found, the decision is made within 6 months. The validity of the registration is 10 years.
In China, a worldwide trademark registration cost for one brand in one class, with the condition of no more than 10 trade names in one class is $48. If you exceed 10 trade names in one class, you will have to pay $8 official fee for each subsequent trade name. Trademark registration is an average of 18 months, and the standard validity period is 10 years. However, before starting trademark registration the Trademark Search is required.
Another important feature is that unlike many other systems, China also requires that a separate application for registration of a trademark be issued for each class of goods or services. This requirement increases both the time and the cost of registering a mark.