Created and Maintained by William F. Swiggart, of Swiggart & Agin, LLC. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Swiggart & Agin, LLC provides legal services to the technology community, including services in the areas of intellectual property law, computer law, corporate law, bankruptcy and real estate. Questions? Try the Trademark and Domain Name FAQ.

The Trademark LawTrove provides some Frequently Asked Questions and answers about the United States laws of trademarks and their registration. These FAQs are not intended as legal advice: The trademark laws change frequently as new cases are decided and statues are enacted. Consult your own attorney regarding any question you may have that is specific to your situation:

Registering a Mark Outside the United States

1. Should I register my mark in jurisdictions outside the United States?

If your company intends to achieve significant sales of your product or service throughout the world, it is advisable to apply to register your significant trademarks within your more important foreign jurisdiction as soon as possible.

2. In what foreign jurisdictions are trademarks typically registered?

Many foreign governments and intergovernmental organizations maintain reliable and fair intellectual protection regimes that are fully accessible to the foreign user. The most prominent of these include all of the members of European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan & Hong Kong. The European Union registration delivers especially good value because all member countries have agreed to honor a central registration known as the Community Trade Mark ("CTM").

3. What could happen if I fail to register outside the United States?

If no trademark protection is obtained outside the United States, your mark will be fair game for any conflicting user or speculator to register your mark and hold you for ransom in any foreign locationss that may be or become important to your business.

4. How can I find out about registering a mark in foreign jurisdictions?

Each foreign jurisdiction remains governed by differing laws and procedures for obtaining and maintaining a trademark registration. The best way keep a good grip on your foreign applications therefore is through your United States trademark attorneys. A typical domestic IP law firm will maintain a central database of all its clients' marks, and can use the information about your marks that is already under its control to contact "foreign associate" law firms on your behalf in order to achieve registrations in other countries.