International trademark registrations – protection in foreign markets

International trademark registrations are the most cost-effective way to protect your brands and reputation overseas.

Trademark protection is granted on a country-by-country basis. An Australian trademark registration will protect your brand in Australia only. For protection outside Australia, separate national registrations will be required.

Fortunately, there are systems in place to simplify the process of obtaining trademark protection in multiple countries. Two popular options include:

  1. filing separate national (or regional) applications with the intellectual property office of each country of interest (or region of interest in some cases – for example, a regional system is available in Europe); or
  2. filing an application for an international trade mark registration.

Option 1: Separate national applications

Individual trademark applications can be filed in each country (or region) where you are seeking to protect your trademark. Using our network of associates, applications are filed directly with the relevant government intellectual property office.

Option 2: An international trademark registration

International trademark registrations offer a simple and cost-effective process for obtaining trademark protection in more than 125 countries participating in the system. We often recommend this option for protecting trademarks in the USA and China, for many reasons.

The process starts by filing a single trademark application with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and selecting the participating countries of interest. Each of the selected countries then has 18 months either to raise an objection or to extend national protection to the trademark.

International registrations were created by an agreement between the participating countries known as the Madrid Protocol, so are often referred to as ‘Madrid applications’ or ‘Madrid registrations’.

The requirements and costs for either option vary, depending on the countries of interest. To find out more and discuss costs, please contact us.