How to File an International Trademark Application

Every country has its own trademark laws. A trademark registration in the United States only protects your mark within the United States.

To protect your trademarks outside of the United States, you have two options. You can file directly with the trademark office in the country you want to register your trademark in. Alternatively, you can file an application through the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) Madrid System.

1. Direct Filing

Direct filing is difficult as you will be dealing with the trademark office of the country you are filing into. You may not speak the language. You may not be able to readily make payment to that government's trademark office. You most likely do not understand the nuances of that country's trademark laws.

If your trademark application does get approved, you will need to learn the requirements to maintain a registration in that country and have, yet another, renewal due date to track. Typically, it will make sense to engage a trademark attorney in the country you are looking to file in to manage the entire process.

2. File using the WIPO Madrid System

The Madrid System is the one-stop solution for trademark holders to obtain and maintain protection in multiple markets.

The WIPO system enables you to file one application, in English, and pay one set of fees to protect your mark in the territories of up to 114 member countries. In most cases, there is no need to hire a local attorney in each jurisdiction, and you will be able manage and renew your international registrations from the centralized WIPO system. The WIPO system is:

  • Convenient

Allows you to manage your brand portfolio through a centralized system, and easily expand protection into new markets.

  • Global

Register and manage your trademark in the territories of the Madrid System, representing over 80% of world trade.

  • Cost-effective

Save time and money by filing one application, rather than a bundle of national applications; no need to pay for translations or hire a representative in each country.

Provided you are eligible, can help you take your U.S. trademark application or registration and file an international trademark application using the Madrid system.

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