What is an International Trademark?
Although there is no universal trademark that applies in all countries, several multi-country agreements have been formed, allowing entrepreneurs to achieve brand protection in several countries with a single trademark application. The table below presents an overview of the currently available multi-country applications.
128 countries, including the United States, European Union, China and Australia
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden
Botswana, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo
You can read more about the process and costs of registering a trademark through European Union or Madrid System in our article Understanding International Trademark Registration.
3 Advantages of International Trademark Registration
Protect your brand from trademark squatting
One of the biggest issues business owners face when expanding their business internationally is “brand squatting”, somebody else registering a brand owner’s trademark first in another country to later sell it for profit or to leverage the brand’s success.
Cybersquatters deliberately purchase hosting domains with the intent of re-selling them with a significant increase in price. This threat could impede your move to a branded domain. Additional threats in the cyberspace include the use of copycat domains with only minor alterations to your brand name and the same practice can be also found in the realm of social media. Good news is that trademark registration allows you to exercise your right for the sole use of the mark, effectively discouraging any such practices and gaining control of your online presence.
You can read more about this issue in our article Trademark Squatting - What is it, Why it happens, and How to prevent it?. As a general advice for entrepreneurs: the best way to protect your brand is to not delay filing trademark registrations abroad, particularly in countries where you intend to launch a product or service in the near future. The owner of a registered trademark has the legal means to protect their brand in any country where registration applies, which can significantly reduce the costs for potential legal procedures.
Make your E-commerce business stand out
The online marketplace is not limited by geography or a time schedule. This means that consumers don’t need to buy based on convenience or proximity; they can find the exact product they’re looking for, sold by a myriad of providers, and choose the one that most appeals to them. Given this saturation of supply, purchasing decisions become more influenced by brands.
In the e-commerce context, a brand communicates the product range, quality, price, trust and customer service, allowing you to distinguish from competitors, both domestic and foreign. In our survey of 10,000 consumers, we asked the respondents about the extent to which a brand influences their purchase behaviour. The results reveal that the perceived importance of the brand exceeds 30%, revealing that the brand truly plays a key role in shaping the consumer decision-making process. As a result, a brand can be viewed as one of the most important assets, deserving an adequate level of protection in the form of trademark registration both on a national and global level.
Secure your product at the production level
While most businesses understand the importance of registering a trademark in the country where they sell their goods, many foreign companies fail to realize that trademark protection is especially relevant if their goods are manufactured in that country. Trademarks cover not only branded goods that are not sold but are manufactured in a specific country. In countries that use a first-to-file system of trademark registration, obtaining trademark protection is highly recommended, even if branded products are not sold in the country. The trademark may be registered first by the product's manufacturer. Furthermore, if the trademark is not protected in the country of manufacturing, the exported goods may be seized by customs as counterfeit.
Each sovereign country has its own Intellectual Property Office through which a trademark application can be made. Citizenship, or nationality, is however one of the common requirements for applying for a trademark registration on one’s own. This requirement can be overcome by collaborating with a trademark attorney domiciled in the particular country. Global trademark registration services, such as Trama, thereby offer a convenient solution for achieving brand protection on an international scale. Regardless of where you come from, our team of trademark attorneys is ready to represent you across the globe. Schedule a free consultation to find out more about international trademark registration.