Do your names work in other countries? How about worldwide? Well that is a very daunting task for most product managers to achieve – in fact almost impossible to achieve guaranteed clearance without a lot of money. But you can, and should, have your names checked in your major international markets and then systematically register in these territories.
There is no single place to go to get a worldwide trademark registered. But you can use The Madrid Convention to get priority registration (often off a single filing) in most western countries. This is usually only for the major brands of the world. So what is a little (or even medium) company supposed to do?
The first thing is to get a registered trademark in your home country or some major market if you are from a very small country. Then you can grow from there adding registrations country by country while using that registered trademark worldwide. But first you have to have a name that has been checked for availability in your specific trademark usage categories. Do realize right now that common words are highly unlikely to make the cut here, unless they are “cross over” names – common words but not common or generic in your industry.
Unique, coined words are the most likely to be available worldwide, but even these have to be checked thoroughly. A naming agency can help you greatly with this process and save you a lot of money, even though your own lawyers will have the final say as they have to file the registrations and defend them if need be.
A EU trademark is special in that it gives you coverage in all countries that are part of the EU. So most of the countries of Europe. But this does not include Switzerland or the UK after Oct 30th. The downside is if your checks fail in one European country, then you lose all of Europe. Hence you still see many people still filing in individual target European countries.
Finally, you will get priority filing in many other country registrations if you can first prove you have a registered trademark in your home country, so that is where all you initial checks should be concentrated. Do not fall in love with a name until you have achieved this – so your heart and product supply chain and marketing are not broken later.
See our article on International Trademark Registration and Checking for more details.
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