Registered Trade Marks aren't the only form of trade mark protection. You also have the law of unregistered trade marks.
Basically (and this is an over-simplification), it works like this:
- a business starts using a trade mark for a specified product: beard comb. Let's say that they don't even register a trade mark.
- they start selling load and loads (thinks 100s of thousands of $ or £ worth)
- they become well-known in that market segment. They accrue "goodwill" in the (unregistered) trade mark.
- That trade mark is protectable in law.
That's a summary of the law of passing off aka the law of unregistered trade marks.
So, if the new manufacturer is still manufacturing them in the country that you want to sell them in, you'll probably have a problem. This assumes that that country has an equivalent of the law of passing off.
The tip then has to be - check to see if the manufacturer is still selling them.
If you think it's a good business opportunity and worth a small amount of risk capital - a few hundred $ or £, file the trade mark application is see if anyone does anything about it. You can always withdraw it and avoid a dispute.
You might also do a search for registered design rights. They protect the shape of the products (not what it's called - which is what a trade mark does).