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As all legal practitioners know, there is nothing so inimitable as a client. You can warn them to register their trademark rights abroad but then again, usually they do not know yet in which countries the trademark will be used. At the end, the trademark is an investment and the client wishes to have some certainties that the costs of a trademark registration are well made.

It is therefore no rare situation that somebody is exporting products showing their trademark (with the ®-symbol) in a country where this trademark has not yet been registered. This could however have painful consequences.

For example in Australia, someone who falsely claims that a mark is registered could be fined, even a prison sentence of two years is at risk! This also applies to countries such as Egypt and Iraq (where a visit to a jail might not sound very appealing). In the United States you will lose the right to trademark protection if you (deliberately) try to deceive the public. Even in our neighboring countries such as France, UK and Germany a false claim is unlawful and could be fined.

Although we do not know any example of a sentence to jail in respect of a false ® claim, these consequences could be an extra argument to convince clients to register their marks abroad. At the end, a trademark registration is in the best benefit for a client.

Arnaud Bos

“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”

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