When a business has an international customer base, it needs to protect its identity worldwide. Businesses that sell products or services that can appeal to people anywhere in the world need global trademarks. However, a business setup to provide services or goods at a certain locality does not need to worry about global trademark registration. For example, if a business fixes a car in a local area, it does not need to protect its identity in its neighboring locality.
On the other hand, a fast-food chain that has, or will have, the mass appeal needs to protect its brand. For example, KFC does not have a trademark in a few countries around the world, but you will still find KFC chains in those countries that are copying its style and image to gain customers. That is why it is important for many businesses to complete the global trademark registration process.
Steps to register a global trademark
Now that we have established the importance of a global trademark. Here are the steps you need to follow to complete the global registration process:
- Register a trademark locally
The first step to have a global trademark is to have a trademark in your own country. If you are based in the UAE, here is a briefly explained process of registering a trademark locally:
- Select a trademark
First, you need to select a name and logo that is not already registered as a trademark in the UAE. You can use online tools like Marcaria to check if the trademark you are looking to register is already in use or not. If the name or logo is already in use for another company in the UAE, then you need to select another trademark to register. Once you have found a trademark, not in use, you need to apply for it.
- Online application
The second step is to fill up an online application that can be found on the website of the Ministry of Economy of the UAE. If you are in other countries, you need to go to the website of the department that is responsible for handing trademarks in that respective country. In the UAE, the Ministry of Economy is responsible for handling trademark registration applications. After you have filled out the form, you need to submit it with the required documents to the website. The documents required will depend on the type of your business setup.
- Application review
The base fee for trademark registration in the UAE is AED 8,700. After you have submitted the documents with the form and paid the fees, the Ministry of Economy will review it. If they do not find any issues with the application and the documents, they will approve it within 30 days. This review period will vary from country to country. If they reject your application, all is not lost. You can modify the application and appeal for a trademark again.
- Publish announcement
After the Ministry of Economy approves your trademark registration application, you need to publish your trademark. To publish the trademark in the trademark journal of the UAE, you need to pay AED 1,000 to the Ministry of Economy and they will do it for you. You also need to publish an announcement of the trademark registration in two local newspapers to let the public know.
- Trademark registration certificate
The members of the public of the UAE will have 30 days to object to your trademark reservation. After 30 days if there are no objections to your trademark, the Ministry of Economy will provide the trademark registration certificate to you.
Once you receive the certificate, the local trademark registration process is complete. You can move on to register trademarks in other countries.
- Register trademarks worldwide
There are two ways you can globally register trademarks after you have a local trademark. You can either use the Madrid system or you can hire local attorneys. Let us look at these two processes in detail.
- The Madrid system
The Madrid system can be utilized to apply for a trademark in all countries that accept the system easily. You can fill up one application to apply to up to 124 countries using this system. The fees for the Madrid system are also more affordable than if you hired local attorneys to register a trademark for you in each of those countries. However, not all countries across the world accept the Madrid system. And even if you fill one application, each of the countries will individually review the application. That being said, some countries will approve your trademark registration application, and some will not. You will need to hire local attorneys for the countries that reject your application through the Madrid system.
- Local attorneys
The other way is to hire local attorneys to complete the trademark registration process in the countries where you want a trademark. This is more costly since you need to individually hire and pay local attorneys in each of those countries. However, this option will have a higher success rate since these local attorneys are experienced. They will proceed with the application process as required in each of those countries. You will need to hire local attorneys in countries like South Africa, Canada, Saudi Arabia, etc. that do not accept the Madrid system. You can search for an attorney for trademark registration using the International Trademark Association.
Whichever method you select to register your trademark globally, do not delay after you get your trademark locally.
- Trademark squatters
A problem that businesses face when trying to register their trademark globally is the squatters. Trademark squatters are third parties that register your trademark in foreign countries with the intention to sell you the trademark for a higher cost. When these squatters find a business with a trademark that is doing well, they register the trademark in other countries beforehand. The best way to avoid this problem is to get the global trademarks as quickly as possible.
If you are looking to get global trademark registrations done easily, you should consult with business setup experts. They have done the global trademark registration process multiple times and they have the necessary connections in the foreign countries that make the process even simpler.