What do you know about trademarks? You may think that seeking trademark registrations in foreign countries is a waste of time and resources. After all, you are a small, unknown businessman running a small business that may take some years before it becomes a global brand. What you don’t know is that you are putting your business and consumers in a mess that might cause you a lot of money in the future.
How? Look at it this way. Let’s assume you run a small company called, Blue Sharks Sportswear. You are in the fashion industry and offer affordable and fashionable women sportswear. You are located somewhere in Gruene, Texas. After three years, your company has now transformed from a scrawny company in Gruene to a global giant. You have even moved your headquarters from Gruene to a bigger, pro-business city like Lubbock, Texas.
You have conquered America and now want to disrupt China’s fashion industry. You are unpredictable, and nothing can come between you and your dream.You send your team of experts to China.
Their job is to study China’s fashion industry and see how your women sportswear company will fit in. Unfortunately, you get a call from one of the experts you sent to China telling you that there is another company registered under the same name as your company, Blue Sharks Sportswear.
How is this possible? Well, welcome to reality. That’s how the global market operates. It should also be noted that the common law trademarks in the United States and your federal registered trademark offers you limited protection in foreign countries.
So, what should you do if you ever find yourself in such a situation? Here is what you can do.
In recent years, China has begun to establish tough regulations that are aimed at protecting intellectual properties. They are taking intellectual property cases seriously.You can, therefore, take the party that copied your trademark to court and demand that they drop the name and trademark.
Can this work? Yes, it can. However, this is time-consuming and can cost you a lot of money. You should also note that judicial opinions in China are not binding precedent. This means that the courts in that country can issue contradictory judicial opinions.Even though litigation is a good option in countries like China, you will always be at the mercy of the party that copied your trademark.
Outsmart The Trademark Hustle
This is probably the option you should go for; it will help you navigate the chinese trademark registration process. You should know that one of the main reasons why people copy trademarks is because they want to sell it back to the real owners at a lower price than the cost of the litigation process. It’s called the trademark hustle. Is this not a scam? You can call it a scam, but it’s not illegal. The best way to beat this trademark hustle is to outsmart it.
How do you that? Find a reputable, well-versed lawyer who understands how your industry and business works. The lawyer will file trademarks applications in countries where this trademark hustle is common. While there are some countries that might surprise you, this trick will help you avoid the hustle in China. You will have the upper hand in case your business expands to China.
Trademark registration is a serious matter that should not be taken for granted. If possible, make sure it’s part of your expansion strategy. This will help you avoid problems that may arise when your brand attains global recognition.