What is a trademark priority claim?

Why does a trademark priority claim matter?

In the world of patents and trademarks, filing dates matter. The earlier the filing date, the better. When it comes to international trademark protection, there are ways to link your foreign filings to a previously filed trademark application for the same mark. That way, your foreign applications get the benefit of the earlier filing date of your first trademark application. For example, a US applicant may file their first trademark application in the US and then proceed to file a foreign application for the same mark. That earlier filing date is known as a priority date. To get the benefit of a priority date, a trademark priority claim must be included in the subsequently filed application.

Need to file foreign trademark applications? Call US patent and trademark attorney Vic Lin at (949) 223-9623 or email vlin@icaplaw.com to explore how we can protect your trademark in foreign countries.

How to File a Foreign Trademark Application Based on Your US Trademark

You can file a foreign trademark application within six months of your US filing date and include a trademark priority claim to your US application. By doing so, your foreign application will get the benefit of your earlier US filing date, known as the priority date. This can be especially helpful if you face the risk that others might try to register your mark in foreign countries.

For example, let’s assume you file your trademark application on February 1st of this year. A couple of months later, a competitor sees your trademark and files a trademark application for the same mark in China. If you apply for the same mark in China by August 1st and include a priority claim to your US trademark application, your foreign application will get the February 1st priority date.

Do you see what just happened here? Your competitor filed their foreign trademark application before your foreign filing date, but your foreign application will be entitled to an earlier priority date.

Can you file a foreign trademark application after 6 months of your first filing date?

After six months from your US filing date, you can still file a foreign trademark application without a priority claim. This means that your foreign trademark application will not get the benefit of your earlier US filing date.

Hopefully, the lack of a trademark priority claim will not prove to be fatal in your foreign application. In fact, certain foreign trademark filings will not allow priority claims, such as a fast-track China trademark application.

Note that the same 6-month deadline applies to US trademark applications based on an earlier foreign application.

Need a foreign trademark registration?

We work with experienced trademark attorneys in Asia, Europe and Latin America who can properly file your foreign trademark application in compliance with their IP office rules. If you are going to invest in foreign trademark protection, do not take chances.

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