3 Reasons to Register Your Trademarks Abroad
Doing business internationally will inevitably present you with challenges to protecting your company’s trademark. You’ve worked hard to build brand awareness and trademark your intellectual property domestically. Still, upon entering the global market, there is no simple way for companies to register their trademark worldwide easily. For this reason, brands must register their trademarks in every individual country where they want to protect their trademark rights. Your trademark may become vulnerable due to a number of factors, from the growth of e-commerce to overseas counterfeiters and increasingly complex supply chains.
Ultimately, the responsibility of protecting a trademark falls on the trademark owner. If you haven’t already begun this process or are wondering why it’s important for your business, here are three reasons to register your trademark abroad.
If you operate online, your products may more easily reach global consumers
Without a doubt, the rise of e-commerce has been driven by consumers’ demand for access to various products and by businesses seeking access to broader markets. Selling online can be a big step for a business, making it easier for products and services to become accessible to international consumers. As a business owner, it is up to you to decide where you want to sell and ship your goods. You have the ultimate say in where you will do business, but easy access to the global marketplace via the internet is enticing for growth-oriented businesses. It can be difficult to pass up this opportunity, so companies need to be prepared to deal with the risks and challenges that will arise.
When your products become available internationally in the global marketplace, your business name, brand, and trademarks may become desirable to free riders as your business becomes more successful. Free riding occurs when a business or individual benefits from the actions and efforts of another without paying or sharing the costs. Registering your business's trademarks in other countries can prevent other companies from attempting to confuse your buyers into purchasing their products by using an identical or similar name and trademarks to your own. Other companies may have ill intentions and will try to trade on your reputation by adopting your company logo, title, or other brand signifiers for their benefits and business. This can lead to your reputation being damaged through inferior quality products or services, and cause a reduction in your potential profit.
You may be more vulnerable to counterfeiters overseas
Not only do you have to worry about other companies profiting off your brand name and identity, but other companies may start replicating your product, trademarks, and other company-identifying features for their gain. The counterfeit market is a booming international industry, and companies that do not register their trademarks are hit hardest by counterfeit activities.
Currently, the US trademark law provides protections against trademarked counterfeit imports. Registering your trademarks in countries where you believe counterfeit products are originating can help you take further action toward preventing the creation and export of illicit goods carrying your business's name and trademark. It may be prudent to proactively involve the local government in the country where illegal products are being created. Taking action will help prevent counterfeit items from reaching consumers.
Your supply chain may involve international commerce
Even if you choose not to sell your products globally, your company trademark may still have a way to reach international shores. For example, through your manufacturing supply chain. It is essential to know where your suppliers operate and where they may be sourcing material so that you can cover all possible avenues when protecting your trademark. You will want to consider registering your company and product trademarks in all countries involved in your supply chain to help mitigate situations where a subcontractor may illicitly use your name to profit from their involvement with your company. Further, bad actors may be tempted to present themselves as subsidiaries or divisions of your company for their own gain. A registered trademark will allow your company to powerfully and effectively manage and prevent these situations from occurring. Other companies will be less likely to attempt to use your brand name as their own if they are aware of your registration.
The Madrid Protocol, or Madrid System, along with other trademark laws and international registration procedures, exist to protect your trademark abroad. An attorney can advise you on any areas of vulnerability where you should be concerned regarding international trademark protection and can help you navigate the trademark registration process.
As an alternative to finding a trademark attorney, companies can also work with IP (intellectual property) protection platforms like MarqVision to register, manage, and protect their trademarks globally. MarqVision offers a range of solutions to help you establish and protect your IP. To learn more about how MarqVision can help you file your trademarks abroad with our simple online application process visit https://www.marqvision.com/product/marq-folio
In the face of booming global e-commerce, a thriving counterfeit market, and intricate supply chains, companies are facing a greater threat of losing their trademarks overseas than ever before. If you haven’t already taken steps to secure your trademarks, the time to act is now.