Prince Harry’s ‘Royal’ Trademark Problem

Feb 27, 2020 | Trademark Knowledge

Prince Harry showed he was one step ahead in the trademark game.

Trademark concerns are not confined to us mere mortals running small and medium-sized businesses. Sometimes, even those thought untouchable by conventional standards can still fall foul of troublesome disputes, as Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Merkle recently discovered.

Their brand “Royal Sussex” had yet to be trademarked in the U.S. until an L.A. based lawyer applied for the trademark in January. The lawyer claimed he was teaching the couple a lesson, but it’s hard to tell if that is the truth. He could easily hold on to it or even attempt to sell it to them if he was successful.

Secure Your Trademark, Before Others Do

As you may be aware, the Royal couple is no longer royal and in need of their own income. Losing out on their profitable brand in a market as large as the US would be devastating. Trademarks need to be secured in the country you plan to expand into as every country has its own laws and will not recognize a trademark approved in another country like the US or the UK.

Imagine the scenario for your own business:

Orders are coming in, interest is high, and profits are good. You’re making it big in Taiwan and you’re ready to take your company to the next level. You close your eyes and imagine a future where your brand name is known from L.A. to Sydney. You can see your company among the elite of global Taiwanese brands like Giant or Asus in households the world over.

Just one moment, did you get your trademark secured? If you didn’t do it soon enough you might find that someone else owns it. This is a notorious problem in Taiwan due to Chinese ‘trademark squatters’. These unscrupulous entities will search for names of up-and-coming brands in order to secure the rights before the company enters the market in the hopes of selling it to that company at a high price. In some cases, they may not even sell back as they could be competitors hoping to keep you out of the market. Brands doing business in Taiwan need to apply for Taiwan trademarks.

Prince Harry Trademark

“Prince Harry at Canterbury University” by KoenbrNZ is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Prince Harry at Canterbury University” by KoenbrNZ is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Learn From Prince Harry (or least his advisors)

When it comes to Prince Harry and Meghan, they managed to see off their trademark opponent with a different tactic. They were one step ahead of their American trademark squatter. They applied for the brand a month earlier than the lawyer and used the Madrid agreement, which allows brands to use one application across numerous countries. Unfortunately though, that does not stretch to Taiwan, where trademarks always need to be registered for the country-specific market.

Companies in Taiwan need to be aware of this issue. As brands grow and expand others will often attempt to piggyback on their success by securing the brand’s trademark, which is a huge and costly headache. The only solution is to think one step ahead of the rest and secure the trademark before anyone else has the chance.

If you’d like to read a more detailed explanation on how to do this, you can check out our full guide on registering a Taiwan Trademark here.

Alternatively, contact our MUSA trademark agents for a chat, and we’ll explain how we can do all the heavy lifting for you when it comes to securing your very own Taiwan trademark.

Do you want to talk to us about trademarks? Ask some questions?