Can I register a trademark in countries where my business is not active yet?

Photo of Jan Buza

Written by Jan Buza

Co-founder of Trama

Yes, it is possible to register a trademark in countries where you have yet to become commercially active. In simple terms, you can secure your trademark even before launching your goods/services to prevent any copycat attempts.

In most jurisdictions, proving your sales in the given market is not required. The one exception is the US market.

In the US, two ways of filing exist. You can file your trademark application either on an 'intent-to-use' or a 'use-in-commerce' basis. When filing with Use in Commerce, you must provide proof, a so-called specimen, that you are commercially active in the US market.

In case you haven't launched your business in the US yet, you can use the intent-to-use application. By submitting it, you gain priority right over anyone who submitting an identical or confusingly similar brand name after you, even though you are not selling in the US at the time of filing. In approximately one year from the filing date, you will be asked to prove that you have started selling your goods/services. If this is not possible, you can ask for an extension. You may be granted a maximum of five requests for such an extension. Each extension gives the application six additional months to provide the specimen. Therefore, as you can see, applying for a US trademark is possible even if your business is not active in the US yet, provided you can start selling within the probation period.

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