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When you start a business, protecting your trademark is vital. While getting federal trademark registration from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is crucial, it only protects your trademark in the US.
In this article, we'll explain international trademark registration in simple terms. We'll also cover how it's different from registering a trademark in the US.
A federal trademark is a way to identify and distinguish your products or services. You can get this special protection by applying for a federally registered trademark with the USPTO. Once you receive this registration, you can use your trademark in the United States.
Trademarks are specific to each country. If you want to protect your trademark internationally, register it in each country where you want protection. The good news is that since April 2014:
US applicants can simultaneously apply for federal trademark registration for protection in 92 countries.
Registering a trademark in multiple countries may sound complicated, but there's a solution. It's called the Madrid Protocol. This treaty simplifies the registration process. You can fill out one application in your native language. This can be used federally to register it in over 90 countries that are part of the treaty.
Even with the Madrid Protocol, there's no guarantee that every country will approve your trademark. Each country has its rules and regulations. They decide whether to accept or reject your trademark application.
Suppose you plan to do business internationally after getting a US trademark registration. In that case, applying for trademark protection in the countries you want to operate in is a good idea. Importantly, apply within six months of your US application. You can use the priority date from your US registration.
This helps protect your trademark against others trying to register a service mark or a similar mark in the US after your priority date.
When it comes to trademark registration, the scope of protection can vary. This depends on whether you choose state or federal registration. Let's take a look:
State registration records the date you first used your registered mark name. This can be important if you need to prove trademark infringement or prevent others from using a similar mark. However, it's important to note that state registration offers limited territorial coverage. This means it only protects your mark within the specific state where it's registered.
It also has a restricted scope of protection. In disputes, state registrations have limited advantages compared to federal registrations.
On the other hand, federal registration provides nationwide protection for your trademark. It establishes a legal presumption of ownership and grants access to federal courts. This broader protection can be enforced in federal courts nationwide. This is advantageous for businesses that plan to expand beyond their registered state.
Federal registration provides a more comprehensive level of protection. It's particularly beneficial when dealing with trademark disputes.
Consider the future goals of your business and the level of protection you require before deciding between state and federal registration. While state registration may be sufficient for some businesses operating within a specific state:
Federal registration offers broader and more enforceable protection for those aiming to expand their business nationally.
Navigating the trademark registration process can be complex. At Trademarkia, we highly recommend enlisting the expertise of a trademark attorney. This is to ensure that your intellectual property is protected correctly and efficiently. Here's what you need to know about the costs involved:
For federal registration with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), there is a filing fee that varies from $275 to $375. It depends on the nature of your application and the classes of goods or services your trademark will cover.
If you decide to register your trademark at the state level, there is a filing fee that typically ranges from $50 to $75 per class of goods or services.
At Trademarkia, we offer professional legal services to guide you through the registration process. Our Subscription Package, which includes expert assistance with your application, is competitively priced at $99 per class.
For those seeking an all-inclusive service, Trademarkia's Standard Package is available at $299 per class, and our Premium Package at $499 per class.
Consider your business goals and budget before making a decision. And remember that while hiring a trademark attorney is optional, it can provide valuable guidance throughout the process.
Federal trademark registration is essential to maintaining the long-term viability of your business and protecting your brand.
It offers nationwide protection, establishes ownership rights, and provides access to federal courts. Whether you choose state or federal registration, seeking professional help is advisable to navigate the process effectively.
Your brand is the cornerstone of your business's reputation, so investing in its protection is essential for future growth. By protecting your trademark, you can watch your business thrive and succeed.
The entire country is covered by a federal registration. You can only enforce your common law trademark rights in the regions where you use it for commercial purposes if you rely solely on your common law rights. A federal registration enables you to sue counterfeiters for statutory damages.
A federal registration grants the exclusive right to use the mark across the entire country. But trademark rights through state registration are limited to the state's boundaries.
The "®" sign denotes that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has received a federal registration for your trademark. It notifies the public that your trademark is federally registered and you're entitled to rights across the country.
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Lindokuhle Mkhize, a skilled creative copywriter and content lead at Trademarkia, brings a wealth of experience in driving innovation and managing teams. With previous success in starting and growing the Innovation and Marketing department at her former creative agency, Lindokuhle boasts expertise in leadership and delivering compelling content. Based in South Africa, Lindokuhle's work focuses on key themes of creativity, effective communication, and strategic marketing.
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