If I use a trademark that I cannot register, can I prevent others from using a similar mark?

Generally, you cannot prevent others from using trademarks that you have not registered. There are certain words you may be able to adopt as a mark for your own use, even though you may not be able to register them as trademarks, and doing so may prevent others from using the same or similar marks. One of the important benefits of registering a trademark is that you may be able to legally exclude others from using it.

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How do you save money and avoid problems long term?

Trademark law is an area of the law where it pays to spend the money to do it right the first time. Move fast! Get the search for the trademark and filing of the mark done quickly, particularly if you feel the name has ‘magic’ to it. Your competitors have similar ideas and they may be moving faster. Have a back-up mark ready.

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How can I apply for an international trademark registration?

If you expect to market your product internationally, you’ll need to discuss your international trademark registration process with a trademark attorney. Ideally, you should do this before your suppliers, sales force and agencies know about your international campaign. Even if they are sworn to secrecy, the word of your intentions may leak. If this happens, your competitors may file for an international trademark registration using your marks, which could prevent you from marketing abroad and potentially in the U.S. as well.

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