I‘m starting up a new limited company and clothing brand in the UK and am registering for a UK trademark. If my business holds a UK or European trademark, will that be enough to protect me internationally? If I only register my brand in the UK, would someone else be entitled to register my brand (name and logo) in another country?
First of all, and to answer your concerns, please note that trade mark protection is territorial in nature. This means that, provided all conditions are met, such protection will be granted to your name or logo only in the territories in which you have registered them as trade marks. In other words, registering your name and logo as a UK trade mark will only give you exclusive rights to use that name and logo with regards to specific goods and services (the ones identified in your application), in the United Kingdom only.
For this reason, when thinking about trade mark protection, it is always advisable to develop your IP strategy in line with your business strategy - that is, to seek trade mark protection in all the countries where you intend to commercialise your products. Indeed and as you probably know, international trade mark registration under the Madrid system will not give you a single and unique protection, but will give you several trade marks registered at national level, with each national IP office. Bearing the aforementioned in mind, and with regard to each of your questions, we would like to highlight the following:
As stated above, the only way to ensure trade mark protection at an international scale is to register your trade mark internationally - in all the countries in which you intend to commercialise your product. Trade mark protection is territorial, as explained above. You should therefore seek registration in all the jurisdictions where you intend to commercialise your products. If you do not do so, your name and logo or similar ones might be registered by third parties in those jurisdictions, possibly for similar or identical goods and services. Since you will not have exclusive trade mark rights over your name and logo in these jurisdictions, others will be allowed to protect them via trade mark. This might lead consumers in this area to mistake someone else's products for yours. Commercialising your own product in those jurisdictions, without securing exclusive rights to your name and logo, might even constitute an infringement of those third parties' similar or identical trade mark! You should, however, bear in mind that these are only risks. Assessing such risks and applying them to your concrete case should be done in accordance with the relevant trade mark legislation.