Open/Close Menu San Diego based patent and trademark law firm founded in 1984 with over 1,700 patents issued and more than 1,200 trademarks registered worldwide.

If you are doing business beyond the borders of the USA, the copyright laws may be different; it is important to register any trademarks you use abroad to cover the countries in which you are operating or selling, or have The choices for doing so are several.

They include:
1) Country-by-country
2) Regions where the countries of interest are included
3) Madrid Protocol – now includes more than 90 countries.

While there are similarities in the applicable national laws, there are differences which can be significant and may come into play at any time.

Country-by-country is general the most expensive, but allows the greatest flexibility.

Regional systems include the Community Trademark (CTM) which involves a single application, a single prosecution, leading to a single registration covering all the countries of the European Union (EU). No use of the trademark in the EU is required to obtain a CTM registration. The level of actual use for renewal enforcement is relatively low and it is best to use the mark in more than one of the EU countries for greatest value.

The Madrid Protocol is more of a unitary basket of national registrations. A single application can be filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), naming the countries (any number of the available countries), with a relatively nominal fee per country.
The application is examined for formalities and is sent to the named national offices. Each then has 12-18 months to issue a provisional refusal. If a country does not do anything, that country\is included in the International Registration. The Protocol enables a single renewal and a single filing to transfer rights. There are certain requirements and potential limitations that must be

To get back to the beginning, if your company is now or will be doing business in foreign countries within the next five years, it is very important to have your trademarks registered now or well ahead of establishing operative contacts in those countries.

Trademarks are forever, as long as your business continues.