Which countries are 'First to use'?

Photo of Igor Demcak

Written by Igor Demcak

Founder & Trademark Attorney

The first-to-use trademark system is adopted by the USA, Canada and Australia. However, according to the US trademark law, a first-to-use system does not apply fully, as there might be some exceptions to this ruling.

To illustrate how the first-to-use system works, let's imagine a scenario where Luke started selling his clothing under a specific brand name in the Australian market in January. Beth decided to use the same name for her clothing brand and started her sales in March.

Subsequently, Beth filed her trademark application in April. Luke would have legal grounds to oppose Beth's trademark application on the basis of his earlier common law rights since Luke had been using the brand name before Beth (since January). However, if Luke does not take any actions against Beth's application, her trademark will be successfully registered with the IP office.

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