How can I apply for an international trademark registration?
UPDATED: December 13, 2019
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident law decisions. Finding trusted and reliable legal advice should be easy. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
If you expect to market your product internationally, you’ll need to discuss your international trademark registration process with a trademark attorney. Ideally, you should do this before your suppliers, sales force and agencies know about your international campaign. Even if they are sworn to secrecy, the word of your intentions may leak. If this happens, your competitors may file for an international trademark registration using your marks, which could prevent you from marketing abroad and potentially in the U.S. as well.
When I file for an international trademark registration, where will my trademark be protected?
Your trademark will be protected in the U.S. and its provinces. The U.S. courts and government do not have jurisdiction for any other part of the world, so they cannot protect your mark abroad. However, it is always best to file your U.S. trade application first. This ensures that no matter what the decision of the international registers, you can sell within the United States without fear of trademark misappropriation.
How do I file for an international trademark registration?
The simplest way to file internationally is through the Madrid system. The Madrid system was established as part of the Madrid treaty and allows an applicant to fill out one application for multiple countries. The application is then sent to and approved by the various countries specified in the application.
In addition to the Madrid system, you may also need to file some trademarks with individual countries. For instance, India, North Korea, and South Korea are not part of the treaty. This means that in order to obtain a trademark in one of these countries, you must apply using that country’s forms and under their specific laws.
International trademark law is very complex. If your application fails to meet any of the requirements, it will be sent back, or worse, rejected. It’s a good idea to hire an attorney in the United States, and you will also need attorneys in each country where you are filing an individual request. Your trademark is important. To make sure that it is protected wherever you intend to sell your product, use an intellectual property attorney when you file for your international trademark registration.