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What is the international trademark?  

The international trademark is part of a trademark registration system for countries belonging to the Madrid System, and it includes two international treaties: the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol.

It is not a trademark that can be registered throughout the world, but only in the countries that belong to the Madrid System. There are currently 98 (March 2017) that form part of the Agreement and the Protocol or only the Protocol. A trademark may also be applied for protection in the European Union (see the list of countries on the WIPO web page)

The system cannot be used to protect the trademark in other non-member countries.

Advantages of the system  

The Madrid System simplifies and unifies a series of procedures, such as the formal examination and publication, in order to obtain a register with the same rights and responsibilities in each of the designated countries as if it were a national trademark.

With a single application, in a single language, paying a single fee in Swiss francs, it is possible to obtain protection in many countries (see fees on the WIPO web page

This protection can also be extended later to other member countries in the system at any time by making a territorial extension application. It is also worth noting that the international trademark is easier to manage than several national trademarks, given that it will be subject to just one renewal (the duration of the international registration is 10 years, renewable every 10 years), and it is also easier to register changes of ownership, representation or limitations to the products or services.

In short, it is simpler to obtain protection in other countries and also to subsequently manage said protection.

How is an international trademark applied for?  

An international trademark may be applied for to the SPTO by individuals or legal entities with Spanish citizenship or residing in Spain or that possess a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in Spain.

Applications for an international trademark with the SPTO require the possession of a national trademark or the prior submission of an application for a Spanish national trademark.

The international trademark must have an identical owner, identical symbols and identical products or services included among those applied for or granted in the national trademark.

International applications based on Spanish national trademarks must always be submitted through the SPTO, which is the only entity qualified to certify these situations.

The international trademark application includes a national fee that is independent to the fees to be paid to the International Office.

Registration procedure  

The international trademark registration procedure involves three phases:

  • The first involves the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office as the source office, in which the application is received and an initial formal examination is conducted to verify that all of the application data coincides with the data for the national trademark, which is used as a basis. The Spanish Patent and Trademark Office forwards the application to the WIPO.
  • The second involves the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), in which a formal examination is conducted and the trademark is published with an international number in the WIPO’s International Trademarks Gazette.
  • The third involves the national office of each requested country, which receives the WIPO designation (since the international registration has the same effect in each country as a national application in that country), which decides, in accordance with its national legislation, whether the international trademark should be granted or not with designation in that country.

Duration of the protection  

The international trademark is registered for a period of 10 years. The registration may be renewed indefinitely for successive periods of 10 years.

More information on the international trademark