How Do I Register a Trademark or Service Mark Internationally?
How is a Trademark or Service Mark Registered?
A trademark or service mark is a "brand name" for your business, containing a short phrase and (usually) a logo that sets your company apart from others. A service mark functions the same way as a trademark, for a service business.
If you have created a trademark or service mark for your business, you should register that mark in the U.S. Failure to register or keep your mark registered can imply that you have abandoned the mark and no longer are protecting it.
- Searching the trademark database to be sure no one else is using it
- Filing the mark online, and
- Paying the registration fee.
If you do business internationally, you may decide it's a good idea to register your trademark or service mark through the international trademark registration service.
Am I Required to Register My Company Trademark Internationally?
International registration is not a requirement. If you do business in other countries outside the U.S. you should consider international trademark registration. If your customers all come from the U.S., it's probably not worth your time and money to do the international registration. But remember that if you sell online, you will want to make your trademarked products or services available internationally, so international registration is a good idea.
What is the International Trademark Registration Process?
The international trademark registration system is called the Madrid system or Madrid Protocol. It is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) located in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Madrid system allows you to have a trademark protected in several countries by filing an application directly with your own member country (the U.S. is a member).
The international mark registered with the U.S. is equivalent to an application or a registration of the same mark in countries you designate. The trademark office of the designated country must allow the protection of the mark.
The Madrid system also simplifies management of your trademark or service mark, since you can record changes or renew the registration directly, without making those changes in each country of registration. You can also designate registrations in additional countries through the Madrid process.
How Do I Register a Trademark Internationally?
An international application may be filed electronically using the U. S. Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) for International Applications. Electronic forms are accessible at http://teasi.uspto.gov/. Or you can use a paper form, available online at http://www.wipo.int/madrid/en. The cost of registration through the TEAS system is $100; the cost for a paper registration is $200.
You can find more information on the Madrid Protocol and international trademark registration on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website.
Using an Attorney for Trademark Registration
Whether you are registering your trademark only in the U.S., or also internationally, it's important to get the help of an intellectual property attorney.
Without an attorney, you can find yourself paying a lot of money, only to have your trademark application rejected.
For Additional Information
This list of Madrid FAQ on the USPTO website gives you more information about the Madrid Protocol and how to register a trademark internationally.