Front page article in today’s Wall Street Journal: “Stuck On You: A Tiny Glue Seller Claims Identity Theft,” about how the Hunan Magic Power adhesive company of China has gone one step beyond counterfeiting and has actually stolen the identity of Indiana-based ABRO Industries, to the point of distributing products with a photo of the wife Abro’s owner on the label. Hunan Magic allegedly goes around the world indicating that it IS Abro Industries.
The essential first step for businesses protecting their trademarks and stopping counterfeits at the source, is to obtain trademark protection in foreign jurisdictions such as China BEFORE the counterfeiting begins. Unlike copyrights, which are the subject to protection under international treaty, trademarks are, for the most part, national or regional in scope (the exceptions, such as protection of famous marks, are statistically insignificant for the purpose of this conversation).
The U.S. provides protection to trademarks arising from use – there are very few other countries which do likewise. The overwhelming practice is to protect ONLY trademarks registered in that country.
While some companies have sufficient in-house legal resources to maintain a network of international trademark lawyers to manage their international trademark portfolios, many companies go to their local trademark firms (such as ours) to instruct international trademark filings.