A trademark is a sign or mark that helps the consumer to distinguish goods and services from different businesses. The trademarks are protected from infringement by intellectual property rights. Your U.S registered trademark only offers valuable protection against any potential infringement dispute in the United States. The registration does not protect against any trademark dispute that might arise outside the U.S.
With the current vast growth in the economy, most businesses can establish in other countries. To ensure that there is no trademark dispute when starting your business and brand in another country, you need to protect your U.S trademark by registering it internationally.
How can I protect my U.S trademark internationally?
The first thing to do before registering your business overseas is to register the trademark in the U.S. The federal registration of trademarks in the U.S is done by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); you can apply online using the Trademark Electronic System (TEAS).
After submitting your application, USTPO reviews the details and determines whether the application is eligible for federal registration or not. If you submit your application and it successfully becomes pending before the USTPO, you can register for a trademark in other overseas countries.
You are only allowed to apply for registration in those countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol. The registration for an international trademark is done through USTPO by filing a single application (international application) with the International Bureau of the World Property Intellectual Organization.
When registering for a particular country, look up the WIPO’s list of international trademark offices. It is also essential to register transliterations for easy comprehension of the corresponding characters of another alphabet.
The Madrid system
The Madrid System offers those interested in applying for an international trademark a fast and convenient platform for managing their trademarks worldwide. Currently, there are 124 countries registered under the system.
You can benefit from the Madrid System if you are a citizen or have a business connection with one system member. The U.S. became an active member of the Madrid Protocol System for international Registration on November 2, 2003.
The basic registration fee for an international trademark under the Madrid System is 653 Swiss francs or 903 Swiss francs for marks in color. Other additional costs depend on the number of classes of goods and services covered by your trademark and where you want to protect your mark.