What are advantages of prior use of trademarks in Laos?
The use of an unregistered trademark comes with certain risks, such as the possibility of infringing on the trademark rights of others if the unregistered mark is deemed confusingly similar to a prior registered trademark. However, there are also some potential benefits to using an unregistered mark before applying for registration, for example:
(i) Increasing chance of success in registering marks of low disctinctiveness: In some cases, a descriptive trademark may become distinctive through widespread use prior to the filing date. In these situations, the trademark applicant can overcome objections related to lack of distinctiveness by providing evidence that their trademark has acquired secondary meaning or distinctiveness through use. Secondary meaning is established when the consuming public recognizes that the descriptive name is a trademark that refers specifically to the products of the applicant
(ii) Filing oppositions and invalidation actions: The genuine trademark owner may use their rights based on widespread use of their unregistered mark to file a Notice of Opposition and/or an invalidation action against a registered mark in Laos, relying on either or both of the following grounds: well-known trademark or widespread use
(iii) Defending against an alleged trademark infringement allegation: owners of unregistered trademarks may also be able to defend against allegations of trademark infringement by establishing their entitlement to registration in their own name if they were to apply for registration of their mark. In such cases, the owner of the unregistered trademark may bring an invalidation action against the previously registered mark, which would remove the trademark from the official registry and allow the owner of the unregistered trademark to register it in their own name.