On Cybersquatting, Product Safety and Trademark Protection
International Trademark Protection
In this era of global e-commerce, the opportunities for widespread, low-cost promotion of a valuable brand have never been greater. Ensure your brand has appropriate protection in each of the jurisdictions where it’s likely to receive exposure. In many countries, trademark rights are available for the asking, regardless of whether applicants make any actual use of the marks in question.
The result can be perilous for U.S. trademark owners who fail to seek timely registration in foreign countries. They could find themselves infringing the rights of trademark pirates who are clever enough to obtain a prior registration of the same marks. U.S. companies may be forced to repurchase their own trademarks or, even worse, not be able to use their trademarks in overseas markets.
Such a scenario is notably possible in such high-growth economies as China and other Southeast Asian countries. The key to avoiding this dilemma is developing a plan for managing valuable trademarks. Protection should be obtained not only in countries where you’re engaged in marketing activities, but also in those countries where you source product. U.S. retailers can take advantage of opportunities for multijurisdictional registrations, such as the Community trade mark, which covers all the nations in the European Union. In addition, the U.S. is now party to a treaty that enables U.S. trademark registrations to be filed simultaneously, for an additional fee, in a number of other jurisdictions. — George S. Isaacson