The International Trademark Registration System enables the applicants to receive broad protection for their brands and marks by submitting only one application for registration (IR) to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
This procedure for registration of trademarks internationally, is better known as the Madrid System. It provides the consumers protection of their trademarks in large number of countries participating in this agreement.
The member states of the Madrid system therefore form the "Madrid Union". Currently, the Madrid Union has 106 member countries and associations. All these countries are members of the WTO.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF INTERNATIONAL TRADEMARK PROTECTION?
The International trademark registration has several advantages for the trademark owner. The application for international registration of a trademark is submitted only in one of the working languages of the Office - English, Spanish or French. The payment of the due fees is not made in advance, but at a later stage and is in one currency - CHF. Only one registration is received in WIPO. Additional countries may be added at a later stage. All later changes of various kind can be made easily and quickly with unified forms. The renewal of the international trademark can be done only for some of the preferred countries, in the last 6 months until the expiration of the initial 10 years of registration.
This procedure for registration of an international mark provides more favorable conditions and relatively fast and more cost-effective protection of your trademarks abroad, compared to the more complicated and more financially resource-intensive process of separate national registrations for each of these countries In this regard, it should be noted that the procedure for registration of an international trademark eliminates the obligation for filing individual trademark applications at each national patent office in the countries of interest for the applicants. And which requires compliance with various specific requirements of the individual national legislation. Besides that, the costs of trademark registration procedures for several countries are significantly reduced; there is no need of translations into the relevant languages of the national offices; last but not least, attorney's fees for individual countries are avoided, who otherwise need to monitor and meet the various deadlines in the individual offices of the desired countries, as well as the related payments of the various state fees.
WHAT DOES THE REGISTRATION OF AN INTERNATIONAL TRADEMARK CAUSE?
From the date of the registration of the international trademark, its protection in each of those states is identical to that of the trademark which would have been the subject of a national application for registration filed at the national patent office of that contracting party. The conclusion is that the registration of a trademark internationally is equivalent to several registrations of national trademarks for the designated countries.
The international registration of a trademark is for a period of 10 years. This period may be renewed indefinitely for subsequent periods of 10 years. For this purpose, it is necessary to comply with the mandatory renewal deadlines, as well as to pay the necessary fees for the renewal of the international trademark.
WHO IS ENTITLED TO SUBMIT APPLICATIONS FOR REGISTRATION OF INTERNATIONAL TRADEMARKS?
Applicants who are entitled to apply for registration of international trademarks must be nationals or legal entities established in one of the Member States of the Madrid Agreement. In this sense, the Madrid system can be defined as a closed system for registration of trademarks. In practice, this means that an international trademark application can also be filed by several applicants, at least one of whom must be domiciled in a Member State of the Madrid Union.
An important condition for filing an application for international registration of a trademark is that it must have already been the subject of an application or registration at the national patent office of the country of origin. Therefore, without having already applied for or registered an identical trade mark for an identical list of goods and /or services at the national patent office, the applicant cannot take steps for the international procedure of that trade mark.
Another important condition is that the application for international registration of a trademark (or the territorial extension of an existing one) must be filed through the National Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria, or in the country of origin, which is mandatory intermediary in this procedure.