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Do I have to register a trademark?

Trademarks are a sign of ownership. In other articles, we have explained why a unique mark is critical in a globalized economy. A registered trademark gives you exclusive property rights in compliance with the laws that govern your country or authority where you promote your goods and services. Your mark is registrable if it has a unique and distinctive appearance that is distinguishable from other trademarks. The graphic representation you use to mark your goods and services is also your property.  Register this trademark with the governing body that oversees your business activity to declare your exclusive right of ownership in a formal manner.

You benefit from registering a trademark by securing two fundamental rights:

  • the right to use the mark in transacting business and
  • the right to register/protect that mark.

Depending on your country's laws regarding commerce and property, trademark rights are proven by actively using the trademark in business.  Registering your trademark and using it in commerce within a certain amount of time after formally submitting your application is important. Even though common laws regarding intellectual property differ among countries and administering jurisdictions, we recommend clients register their mark in anticipation of disputes that often arise over claims of ownership especially in foreign markets.

Did you realize that domestic trademark protection helps property owners obtain new registration and trademark protection in territories outside your country? An international trademark is the best way to limit the risk of brand piracy in foreign lands and the importation of illicit goods into your country of origin. Registered trademarks provide owners with leverage to pursue legal action against counterfeiters or infringers who commit brand piracy in both domestic and foreign markets. It is very expensive to protect your property in markets half-way around the world.

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