The Madrid Protocol is an international treaty designed to simplify the international trademark registration process. Using this process, registrants are able to complete a single application, in their home language, that can then be applied to over 90 member countries. It is important to note, however, that this application will not grant global trademark protections. While the Madrid Protocol simplifies the application process, it has nothing to do with approvals. Those are still made on a country-by-country basis.
As a business owner in today’s global economy, you’ve likely considered international trademark registration. Though the process to register internationally may seem overwhelming, with the Madrid Protocol, it may be easier than you think. First, determine the countries where you need to register. When developing your international trademark plan, consider where you are currently doing business, and where you plan to in the future. Once you’ve decided where you need to register, you can begin the process to apply for trademark registration internationally. Read on to learn more about how the Madrid Protocol works, along with the advantages and disadvantages of using the process.
How does the Madrid Protocol Work?
In order to submit an international application through the Madrid Protocol, you must first file a basic application with your home country’s trademark office. If you live within the U.S., this would be the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO. You do not need to wait until your application is approved by the USPTO. Once you file your basic application, you are free to begin the process of international registration.
Using the Madrid Protocol, your international application will also be filed through your country’s trademark office. They will then certify your application and forward it to the World Intellectual Property Organization. WIPO will then review the application and send it to the trademark offices in the countries you’ve indicated on the application.
Again, the Madrid Protocol will not grant your trademark in every country for which you’ve applied. Each individual trademark office will examine your application and make a decision based on their specific trademark legislation. You should be notified by each trademark office within 12-18 months regarding approval or rejection. Once approved, you will need to renew your trademark registration every 10 years.