Use as Establishing Priority (Trademark) Law and Legal Definition

In the U.S., the first to use a mark establishes a prior right in the mark. The first use excludes all subsequent users of confusingly similar marks. This first use is the use of establishing priority. In most other countries, priority right is granted based on the first to register a mark. People who start business in the U.S. and expand it to different countries find it complicating. Sometimes the first to use in the U.S. is thwarted by another company in a different country who had the foresight to register the mark in the foreign country first. The U.S. trademark owner will have to pay a licensing fee just to use its U.S. mark in another country. The U.S. trademark owner can be entirely prevented from using the mark in that country.