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I’ve gotten several emails from international crafters and small businesses asking about trademark information and trademark laws for their countries. I’ll be completely honest, I do not know much about trademark laws outside of the United States. However, here’s the information I do know – and links for you to get more information.
US Trademark Laws Don’t Apply Outside of the US
First, and most importantly: If you are a small business crafter outside of the United States, US trademark registrations do not apply to you. You’ll want to access the trademark database for your country for trademark information. Additionally, if you sell in a marketplace (for example: Etsy) and you receive a cease and desist letter to stop selling a design – you’ll want to ask for proof of registration in your country.
Trademark Databases Outside the US
Click here for Australia’s trade mark database
Click here for Brazil’s trademark database
Click here for Canada’s trade-mark database
Click here for the U.K. trade mark database
If you are outside of these areas, do a Google search for “your country” trademark database. (P.S. If you are wondering, Cutting for Business is popular with readers in the above countries.)
Global Brand Database
There is a global brand database located at this link. It allows you to search one database and find trademarks for many countries at the same time.
What is the Madrid Protocol?
The Madrid Protocol is a treaty related to filing international trademarks. Put very simply, the Madrid System allows people who are filing are trademark registration to file one set of paperwork and pay one fee for protection of their work in 97 countries. A list of countries is available at this link.
No matter what country your Silhouette or Cricut business is located in, it is important to do research about trademarks in your country. For more US based information, see this section on Cutting for Business.
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Since 2015, Christine Schinagl has been helping crafters start and run craft businesses through her blog, Cutting for Business. As a Silhouette and Cricut crafter herself, she has a unique take on what works and what doesn’t work in the craft business world. She also teaches a course on creating digital SVG designs, available at How to Design SVGs.
Tuesday 8th of October 2019
Thank you for all this information. If you sell on Etsy from outside the US, to US customers, do you need to watch out for US trademarks? (Or any other country where your customers are, for that matter)
Christine, Cutting for Business
Tuesday 15th of October 2019
Yes, you do. You must comply with trademark laws wherever you are selling.
Sunday 8th of October 2017
Hi Christine :) Thanks so much for this article, I am in Australia and wasn't aware the Trademarks were country specific (am only new starting my business). Just wondering if you could clarify something for me? If I search a phrase and it's not trademarked that most likely means that it's fine to use? *I know that you are not offering legal opinion/knowledge and that it is general information/knowledge that you are giving :) * Thanks so much, Nicole
Monday 9th of October 2017
Hello! Yes, they are country specific. Correct, if you search it and it isn't registered, you can assume you can use it. :)