The Madrid Protocol is not some new action or spy film, but an international treaty designed to facilitate the registration of service or trademarks. The following is a general description of the Madrid Protocol, but it may vary for registration of each individual’s mark. The Madrid Protocol is an international treaty that was established in 1989 to promote a international registration system. This International Register is administered and maintained by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) located in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Madrid Protocol allows a national (individual or corporation) of a member state to use a domestic trademark filing as the basis for filing an International Application that designates other contracting nations in which the national wants to also use the mark. Madrid Protocol Articles 1, 2, and 3. For the US, an application may originate with the USPTO and be used as the basis for an International Application. Madrid Protocol Articles 2 and 3. The International Application could designate other contracting nations such as France, Germany, UK, etc…to also register the same mark.
There are several advantages to the Madrid Protocol that save on the costs of filing application to register the same mark individually with the office of each country. An International Application filed based on a US application can be in English, French or Spanish. The International Bureau would then examine each application to make sure the mark is legitimately being used and has the appropriate class designations.
After the International Bureau’s initial examination for formalities, the International Application is forwarded to the local office of each country for a substantive examination. The local office for each country gets a 18 month review period issue a refusal of the mark, otherwise it will be deemed to have been accepted by the local office. Madrid Protocol Article 5.
This international registration would then be dependent on the US Application for 5 years, but after such period it will become independent of the US application. Madrid Protocol Article 6. This international registration would be valid for a period of 10 years before having to be renewed. Madrid Protocol Article 6. Thus, there are a variety of reasons the Madrid Protocol may be the appropriate route for international registration of your service or trademarks.