When should you register your trade mark outside of Singapore?

register trade mark other countries singapore

You want to protect your brand and the geographical base in which you’re going to be conducting your business is in Singapore. Your trade mark is an important intellectual property, so you’re definitely sure you want to register your trade mark in Singapore.

But what about filing for protection outside of Singapore?

This should be something your startup considers if your product or business is appropriate for expansion overseas. Generally, forward-thinking companies register their trade marks in countries around the world in which they do or intend to do business. That’s because registering your trade mark in Singapore doesn’t offer you protection beyond our sunny shores as trade mark rights are granted by each individual country.

After registering your Singapore trade mark for your company, it’s usually a good idea for the founders to have a good, long think about the countries the startup may conduct business in the future. There’s no need to register your trade mark in every country out there but if you can identify key markets for your brand over the next five years, it’s a good idea to secure the trade marks in those countries first.

While there are usually cost considerations in filing a trade mark application in multiple countries, filing an international registration through the Madrid Protocol can help save on fees.

Once the startup has come up with an initial list of countries to register a trade mark in, it’s a good idea to run the trade mark by the locals of the country in order to find out whether there are any negative connotations behind your mark in the country’s native tongue.

Timing-wise, it’s usually best to file for registration in your countries of choice at the same time you file for registration in Singapore. However, if you don’t do so at the same time, we highly recommend you file for registration in those countries within six months of your Singapore filing date.

By doing so, your foreign filings will be backdated to the date of your original Singapore application. For example, if you filed for registration of your trade mark in Singapore on 20 May 2016, you could file for registration in Hong Kong, Australia or the U.K on 12 August 2016 (or basically anytime before 20 November 2016) and still have the benefit of the original Singapore filing date of 20 May. While you definitely have the option of filing after this six month time frame, your registration date will be the date of filing as opposed to the backdated date of the Singapore filing.

This is particularly nifty if there was a conflicting trade mark filed before yours in these other countries during the six months after your Singapore filing date. As long as you make sure you file your trade mark dutifully within the six month time frame, your trade mark will still be the first in the queue.


To find out more about registering your trade mark in multiple countries through the Madrid Protocol, click here.

If you’d like to have an affordable, experienced trade mark lawyer assist you in registering your trade mark in multiple countries through the Madrid Protocol, get in touch with us here.