With the advent of the Internet, most businesses with a website can be doing business internationally. Any e-commerce site would definitely have the potential, and likelihood, of reaching consumers in foreign countries. Who truly knows where your product or service may be the most successful. As such, it the prudent decision is to file for a Community Trade Mark (CTM). A Community Trade Mark allows a registrant to protect a trademark in all of the countries of the European Union (EU) by filing a single trademark application with one single office, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM).
So what are the major benefits of a Community Trade Mark? First, a trademark owner can save significant amounts of money in filing fees alone by filing in only one office, not to mention trademark attorney fees. Second, trademark protection exists in all of the member states of the EU. Third, there is no use in commerce requirement in each member state to secure a Community Trade Mark registration. Fourth, if the filing for a CTM is refused, the application can be converted into a national application while maintaining priority of filing.
There a few things to be aware of when considering a Community Trade Mark, as opposed to a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) trademark for example. If you are not domiciled in a member state of the EU, you will have file with an agent in an EU country. Second, there is both a filing fee and a registration fee that the office will charge. Finally, you should determine whether there are other filings that would preclude your registration by doing a trademark availability search of the CTM database.
A trademark attorney can help advise you regarding whether or not a Community Trade Mark offers you a proper return on investment. Remember that a valuable trademark and brand can have as much value, if not more, than any brick-and-mortar asset.