Author: Violeta Sutkiene, associated partner, head of Trademark and Design Division at METIDA
No one doubts the importance of trademark protection. By registering a trademark you have more chances to increase its value and company’s profit, as well as get exclusive rights to trademark’s use. What is more, trademark registration helps you fight against copying, counterfeiting and fraud, which might cause a lot of damage and ruin your trademark reputation.
As long as the proprietors have successfully managed to increase the value of their trademarks and have started to thoroughly implement the trademark development strategy, they begin thinking about the trademark protection on an international level. They usually have to decide which territory they need to focus on, probably reaching the conclusion that their trademark should be protected in the whole world. However, this is not an easy step.
One registration is not enough
There is no such thing as a global trademark and it would be naïve to expect that one registration procedure can ensure your trademark’s protection in the whole world. Trademark protection is based by the principles of territory and can be extended country by country.
However, there is no need to give up. Once you have planned your budget related to trademark’s registration in other countries and decided which countries and territories would be most appropriate for your business, you can choose the most suitable trademark protection scenario.
Different countries, different rules.
When opting for trademark protection in other countries, you should remember that most of the states have their own national laws on trademark registration procedures and trademark rights. In most of them trademark registration matters are dealt by national patent offices. Although the majority of the countries have similar national trademark laws, some of them sill exercise different registration strategies.
Thus, you have to re-evaluate each interested country’s system. For example, in the United Arab Emirates, a trademark application must be filed for each class of goods. In China the list of goods which the trademark is registered for must consist of no more than 10 product names. Yet, in the US this list has to be very detailed and must include specification of the type of goods, as well as explanation what they are used for.
Opportunities bigger than ever
The trademark laws in Lithuania could be dated back to 27 January 1925. In 2004 when Lithuania became a part of the EU, the country started to offer even more trademark protection possibilities. To be more specific, Lithuania opened the gates to Community trademark protection system. Its advantage is that you can get the trademark protection in the whole EU territory just within one trademark registration. Approximately 100 thousand Community trademark applications are filed, and the register which is monitored by the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market comprises over more than million trademarks.
Since 1997, when Lithuania signed the Madrid Agreement Protocol providing international trademark registration, Lithuanians have had an opportunity to extend their trademark protection into other 96 countries and to OAPI, an organization of South African Intellectual Property that comprise 17 African countries. Every year more and more countries sign this agreement.
Thus, to conclude, you have a lot of possibilities to protect your trademark globally. Thus, why not take advantage of them and protect your business?