How Do I Register a Trademark or Service Mark Internationally?

Registering a trademark internationally
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How Is a Trademark or Service Mark Registered? 

A trademark 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 leave it vulnerable to appropriation by companies whose only interests are often to exploit you in your desire to get it back.

  • 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 all of your customers come from the U.S., it's probably not worth your time and money to register internationally. But if you sell online, your trademarked products or services are available--at least viewable--internationally, so international registration is a good idea. Doing business in other countries outside the U.S. begs for consideration of international trademark registration.

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 changes or renewals of the registration can be recorded directly, without making those changes in each country of registration. You can also designate registrations in additional countries through the Madrid process.

How to 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 or you can use a paper form, The cost of registration through the TEAS system is $100; the cost for a paper registration is $200.

Madrid Protocol and international trademark registration on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website offers more information and helps walk you through the process.

Using an Attorney for Trademark Registration

Whether you are registering your trademark only in the U.S. or internationally as well, the guidance of an intellectual property attorney will help assure all details are attended and the path is laid smooth for your trademark. Without an attorney, you can find yourself paying a lot of money, only to have your trademark application rejected.