Skip to main content

Can I use a not so popular foreign brand name as my own in my country where it is not yet resgitered?

Los Angeles, CA |

So Im planning to use the name of a certain "product" let us say, "MIRACLE DUST" for example. It is registered in HONG KONG as a brand name and I want to use the same brand name including logos in BELGIUM where it is not yet registered. I am planning to patent/register it. Is this possible? can the original company sue me?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    In some countries "first to register" has definitive importance. In others, first to use in interstate commerce or international commerce with the US has primary imporance and legal priority. Your question is best put to a Belgian or other EU lawyer for an answer you can rely on. Remember, Avvo answers are analysis, not legal advice (see terms of use.) If you wish to hire an EU or Belgian IP lawyer because this is a present, signficant question, you may contact me for the info on my correspondents. EU lawyers don't have the legal culture to answer free questions.

    My most common answer which I repeat on Avvo is use originality. One day you may seek to export to Hong Kong. If the product is good enough, you can name a computer after a piece of fruit, like an apple.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  2. The answer is likely not a simple as whether the foreign brand has "registered" the mark. In the US, trademark rights are created only when goods or services are offered within the geographic borders of the United States. However, there is no requirement that the brand owner "register" it (there a number of reason why one would want to register) to obtain protection against others registering it/infringing due common-law rights in the mark. Common law rights arise from actual use of a mark and may allow the common law user to successfully challenge a registration or application.

    You should talk with an trademark attorney.


  3. Attorneys who are licensed to practice in one or more states within the United States cannot competently or ethically provide you with information about Belgian law. Spend some time reading the information on the website published by the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property [see the link below] and then speak with a trademark licensed to practice in Belgium.

    The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.

Copyright infringement topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics