24 July 2013

Guam set to create "Trademark Commission"

Information from the Pacific News Center suggests Guam will look to refresh its trademark legislation shortly and help better protect its own cultural brand.

US Federal registrations automatically protect all US states and territories, the Act stating, "The United States includes and embraces all territory which is under its jurisdiction and control."

In Guam, which is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States, a local registration system is also in place. There are two routes to protection under this. Firstly, a purely local route which requires evidence of use to be filed in order to obtain a Certificate of Registration and is akin to individual State trademark laws.

Secondly, it is also possible to re-register a US Federal registration in Guam, notwithstanding that such a Federal registration should already cover Guam.

It is not clear how the law will change things. It cannot overrule any Federal law. However, Puerto Rico is often considered a separate trademark jurisdiction from the "mainland" USA.

Tourism and the provision of retail services of designer goods are big business in the Guam economy and, in particular, businesses involved in these fields may wish to keep an eye on the situation in Guam with a view to securing local trademark registrations.

Furthermore, new legislation is planned to increase protection of the island's local culture, traditional knowledge and brand.

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