- If you are thinking about international trademarks, your trademark may be vulnerable if it is not registered internationally, regardless of how protected you believe it is.
- Someone infringing on your trademark in an overseas country can be as devastating to your business as someone opening an identical store to yours in the same street.
- Filing for registration of international trademarks via the madrid system is a crucial step in any business. Without proper protection, you are at risk of the loss of your brand equity that is associated with those international trademarks. When you apply for international registration, you gain leverage of your brand to form the basis of expansion.
- However, if you permit other companies to use your mark in other countries, you are diluting the power of your trademark and the value of your brand. This could affect your chances for global expansion in the future.
When Should You Register International Trademarks?
Your trademark is the key to your brand equity and goodwill. If you feel that your brand equity can be extended overseas, you should begin top consider filing an international trademark application to protect your rights to exclusive use of your mark. Due to the global nature of modern business, particularly with the side effects of online commerce and social media, it is essential that you are able to control your brand (and subsequent goodwill) on a global level, rather than allowing another party to use your brand in a different country. Certainly, brands are increasingly globalised, yet controlling and protecting your brand internationally can be difficult. You need to understand the trademark regulations in each nation you register your mark in.
For example, you are only truly entitled to the exclusive use of your mark within Australia if you have registered your with IP Australia. Without formal registration, you cannot truly protect your mark against infringers or copiers. However, in some overseas nations, your rights to your mark are determined by the way that you use it, rather than determined by the paperwork you have filed.
How to Establish Brand Equity on an International Scale
Most registered trademark holders choose to register their marks in a number of key countries internationally, or with the countries in which they trade. The first step to creating international brand equity is to register your trademark in the countries that will be strategic to your business. You can register directly through the relevant office in each country, or file a single application through IP Australia. Your application can be filled out by yourself, or by a trademark professional on your behalf.
You can save both time and money by filing a single application with IP Australia, who will nominate relevant countries under the Madrid Protocol. To do this, you must first register your mark within Australia, and then you are granted the ability to extend your registration over any of the 86 nations included in the Madrid Protocol. You will have to pay the relevant fees within each country, but filing a single application is a comparatively inexpensive option compared with multiple applications. Bear in mind that other countries may choose to reject your application, while others will choose to accept it.