Large tech companies run on secrecy. Just a leak about a proposed product can make other tech manufacturers rush to market or announce their own products around the same time to steal the thunder. Trademarks are especially vulnerable because they can take so long to process and the filings are public. Stock traders and the media are quite eager to learn about what new tech gadgets may be coming to market. How do companies hide their future plans?
One way they do it is by filing a foreign trademark. Under current trademark law, if a company gets a trademark granted in certain foreign countries they can get a fast track to trademark approval in the US. However, this must be done within six months of the trademark getting granted in the foreign company. Tech companies like Google and Apple will file trademarks in countries that don’t have public trademark searches or very poor ones to hide their plans, notably in the Caribbean and in the Pacific Islands.
However, these procedures may not be as effective as they once were as investigators try to discover the next big product. They’re starting to investigate these foreign filings. Apple is believed to use shell companies to hide its filings as well, though even this tactic isn’t enough to keep the investigators off their trail.
In a highly competitve tech world, how do you protect your IP without tipping your hand? Let Greenberg & Lieberman, LLC help you. Contact our offices today for a consultation.