Trademarks - First-to-use and First-to-file by Countries

Trademarks: First-to-use and First-to-file by Countries

Trademark filing system in the world divides into two filing systems: first-to-file and first-to-use.

To begin with, a trademark is a symbol, word, image, letter, or combination of all. It is a brand used by the manufacturer or a company to distinguish itself from other major corporations. Also, it serves as a brand identity for an organization. After a while, it represents your products or services and your organization’s reputation. For further info on trademark, please visit What is TRADEMARK? – 1stIP.com.

The ‘first to use’ system recognizes an unregistered brand being used as a trademark and confers rights on the owner although these are typically weaker than the equivalent registered rights. The ‘first to file’ system rules on the principle of first-to-file which means that the right to the trademark belongs to the business whose trademark application has the earliest date of filing regardless of the fact when the trademark was first used in commerce.

Moreover, the more distinctive your trademark is, the more powerful it can be and the more likely it is to be registered. In fact, on a scale from highly fanciful to purely generic, the more generic your trademark is, the less protection it will offer and the less registrable it becomes.

First-to-file countries:

Algeria
Anguilla
Argentina
Austria
Belarus
Belize
Benelux
Bolivia
Botswana
Brazil
Chile
China
Colombia
Croatia
Curacao
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Estonia
European Union
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Guatemala
Hungary
Iran
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lithuania
Mexico
Moldova
Montenegro
Nicaragua
Nigeria
Norway
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Qatar
Romania
Russian Federation
Slovenia
South Korea
Spain
Syria
Taiwan
Uganda
Ukraine
United Kingdom
Venezuela
Vietnam
Zambia

First-to-use countries:

Aruba
Australia
Brunei Darussalam
Canada
Costa Rica
Cyprus
Denmark
Fiji
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Ireland
Israel
Jersey
Kenya
Lebanon
Malawi
Malaysia
Malta
New Zealand
Papua New Guinea
Puerto Rico
Samoa
Singapore
South Africa
Swaziland
Trinidad & Tobago
United States
Uruguay
Zimbabwe

Many of these registries will have specific limitations and conditions regarding first-to-use rights and it is virtually always the case that registration of a brand as a trademark will confer stronger and less disputable rights than relying on use in any event.

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