While you may have trademark protection in the United States, you may not have it abroad. Protecting your trademark in the international market is important if you offer your products or services (service marks) in international forums. This helps protect and enforce your trademark in the international market place. After all, if you have worked hard to create and add value to your brand, you probably want to protect it.

Gaining such protection requires an understanding of trademark law. Understanding trademark law in each country is important before using your mark outside of the United States (“U.S.”). U.S. trademarks are based on use in commerce, whereas in many other countries it is largely based on filing your mark with the country’s appropriate agency. As such, if you intend to use your brand abroad, it is a good idea to trademark it internationally before an opportunistic competitor comes along and beats you to the punch and files for an identical mark in another country and effectively profits off of the brand that you have created.

Through international treaties, trademark applicants are allowed to use the filing date of their original trademark application (eg., a U.S.P.T.O. application) when filing internationally if that subsequent filing is submitted within 6 months of the original filing. Claiming priority in an international filing can be a strategic advantage because it establishes the earliest possible filing date, reducing the risk that a third-party will preempt your foreign application by filing a similar trademark.

In protecting your brand, it is necessary to consult a knowledgeable trademark attorney who can develop a strategy for protecting your brand. If done correctly, your brand can be better protected in foreign markets while registering and securing your trademark in international markets where violations are common.