What Is Conventional Priority?

If you are planning to register your trademark in multiple countries, you should know about "conventional priority".

It's a "trick" that allows you to file your trademark application in one country and get a 6-months grace period during which you can jump ahead of anyone else who may file the same or very similar trademark in other countries.

Watch the video and find out how it works:

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TRANSCRIPT

Conventional priority is this really cool idea that allows you to file a trademark in one country and have a six month period, during which you can jump ahead of everyone else, who files for the same trademark in other jurisdictions.

So, this is how does it works. Let's say you are based in the U.S. and let's say that you are filing your U.S. trademark on January 5th. Let's say you're not filing it in any other country.

You file your U.S. trademark on January 5th with USPTO and you’re just using the brand. Let's say somebody else called Mean Company Inc., they file for the same trademark in Canada in April. So in Canada, they are the first in line because you haven’t filed in Canada, and the Canadian Trademarks Office doesn't know about you, they don’t care about you, they don't care about your trademark, and all they care about is what's been filed with them.

But let assume that you then filed your Canadian trademark, the same trademark only in Canada, on May 31st. So you are the second in line in Canada but your application will say, of course some paraphrasing, it's gonna say something like, Don't think about this as our May 31st application, think about this as our January 5th application, because that's when we filed the identical trademark in the U.S.

And then the Canadian Trademarks Office is going to look at your application and they are going to look at the other application and say, Actually, that means that Mean Company’s trademark that they filed in April is not the first in line, it’s actually the second in line, so we should kick it out and give way to your trademark application.

So this is called conventional priority because this six-month grace period was invented and written into Paris Convention, which is a Trademark Treaty, International Trademark Treaty joined by most countries on the planet. And Canada is a part of that, the U.S. is a part of that and most countries are a part of that.

What that allows you to do is get more flexibility, when you have 6 months to test your business, to try it out, to make sure that you’re getting traction, to give yourself a little bit more cashflow flexibility so that when the 6-months window is about to shut down, then you can file your trademark in all the other jurisdictions that you want to protect your brand.

So if you know that your business is going to go big, if you know that your brand has value in those jurisdictions, you don't have to wait and we recommend that you don't wait. But, if you're not sure, but you thinking that it could be a good idea to protect it in both countries, what you could do is start with one country and then add other countries within the 6-months window.


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Disclaimer: Please note that this post and this video are not and are not intended as legal advice. Your situation may be different from the facts assumed in this post or video. Your reading this post or watching this video does not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and Trademark Factory International Inc., and you should not rely on this post or this video as the only source of information to make important decisions about your intellectual property.

See our answers to other frequently asked questions about trademarks or leave your comments below!


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