At Wang IP Law Group, P.C., we understand that the name of your business becomes its brand and defines the company. The U.S. Small Business Administration notes that in the United States, you have the option to register your company's trademark by state, or you could choose to register it through the federal government. But what if you plan to take your company global?
In the U.S., you automatically have the right to your company name if you are the first one to use it, although registering the name provides you a better chance of defending your rights in court. However, the situation is likely to be different in other countries. You will probably need to be the first company to register that particular trademark in order to have legal protection in a dispute.
Are you planning to do business in several countries? Rather than registering your trademark in each country, you may want to check if the countries are members of the Madrid Protocol. There are 96 of these countries, and as long as your U.S. trademark is pending, you can fill out an international application through the World Property Intellectual Organization. The European Union also offers trademark protection.
Taking all these steps does not guarantee that you will never have a trademark dispute with a company in a foreign country. However, every layer of intellectual property protection you have makes you more likely to win your case in court. More information about protecting your intellectual property internationally is available on our webpage.