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  • Writer's pictureDavid Baker

PRACTICAL IP – International Trademarks and The Madrid Protocol

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

The Madrid Protocol is an international treaty that allows businesses and individuals to register their trademarks in multiple countries through a single application. The treaty is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which is a specialized agency of the United Nations.



Under the Madrid Protocol, trademark owners can file a single application with their national trademark office and request protection in one or more of the other member countries. The application is then sent to WIPO for review and certification, and if approved, the trademark is registered in the desired countries.


The Madrid Protocol has several advantages for businesses and individuals seeking to protect their trademarks internationally. These include:

  1. Efficiency. The Madrid Protocol streamlines the process of registering trademarks in multiple countries, saving time and reducing costs.

  2. Flexibility. Trademark owners can choose which countries to seek protection in, and can add or remove countries from their registration at any time.

  3. Uniformity. The Madrid Protocol provides a standardized system for trademark registration, which helps to ensure consistency and clarity across different jurisdictions.

  4. Cost-effectiveness. Filing a single application for multiple countries is generally less expensive than filing separate applications in each country.

  5. Simplification. The Madrid Protocol simplifies the process of managing international trademark registrations, as renewals and other administrative tasks can be handled through a single application.

However, it is important to note that the Madrid Protocol does have some limitations and potential drawbacks. For example, not all countries are members of the treaty, so trademark owners may need to file separate applications in non-member countries. Additionally, the Madrid Protocol does not guarantee that a trademark will be approved for registration in all desired countries, as each country has its own requirements and standards for trademark registration.



And while the Madrid Protocol can be cost-effective for registering trademarks in multiple countries, the fees associated with the application process can still be substantial. Additionally, if the application is rejected or challenged, there may be additional costs associated with legal representation or appealing the decision.

In order to use the Madrid Protocol, trademark owners must have a valid registration in their home country. This means that if the home registration is challenged or revoked, the international registration may also be affected.


And once a trademark is registered internationally through the Madrid Protocol, it is subject to the same limitations and requirements in each member country. This means that trademark owners may not be able to modify or adapt their trademark in certain ways without risking infringement.



Overall, the Madrid Protocol is a valuable tool for businesses and individuals seeking to protect their trademarks internationally, as it provides an efficient and cost-effective way to register trademarks in multiple countries. However, trademark owners should carefully consider the advantages and limitations of the treaty before deciding whether to use it to protect their intellectual property.

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