The following is an edited transcript of our video International Trademark Registration Basics

Trademark rights are generally limited to the country in which they are registered, but there are international agreements that allow you to file a single application to obtain trademark protection in more than one country at once. This includes regional areas which give you trademark protection in all the countries that are member to the agreements that create them. For example, the European Union, the Benelux Countries, the NDN community, the African and Regional IP Organization, and the Madrid System.

We generally advise that clients think about the countries in which they are currently present, for example:

  • offering goods and services for sale
  • have offices or employees
  • manufacture there

If the budget allows, we start thinking about countries in which the client has plans for expansion. If selling goods, think about protecting the mark in the countries in which those goods are likely to be counterfeited.

Having trademark protection in several countries has the downside of the costs associated with maintaining and monitoring your trademark. But in general, we find that the costs of obtaining trademark registrations are cheaper than trying to fight an infringer without registration rights in a certain country.

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