Understanding WIPO's Madrid System

The Madrid System is the one-stop solution for trademark holders to obtain and maintain protection in multiple markets. Whether you’re a small start-up or a large multinational exporter, the Madrid System can help you manage your brand efficiently. Find out more about the process and fees of registering a trademark through the Madrid System in this article.


Igor Demcak

What is the Madrid System?

The Madrid System is the most common system for the international registration of trademarks. It provides a means to simultaneously seek protection for a trademark in a large number of jurisdictions resulting in International Registration. The system is governed by two separate international treaties, the Madrid Agreement (Agreement) and the Madrid Protocol (Protocol). Under the Agreement, nationals of any signatory may secure protection of their trademark, registered in the country of origin, in all other states that are parties to the Agreement. Under the Protocol, nationals of any signatory may secure protection in countries and jurisdictions that are contracting parties to the Protocol based on a pending application or registration in the country or jurisdiction of origin. Currently, 128 countries are covered under the Madrid System. This includes countries in the European Union as well as China and Australia. 

Who can use the Madrid System? 

You can file for international trademark protection if you are a national of – or have a domicile or business in – any Madrid System member. The intellectual property (IP) Office of that Madrid System member will be your "Office of origin".

If you have a connection with several Madrid System members (e.g., you are a national of Mexico living in the United States of America), you can choose any one of these members to be your Office of origin – so long as you have a national trademark registered in that Office.

How much does it cost?

The cost of an international trademark registration includes the basic fee (653 Swiss francs; or 903 Swiss francs for a mark in color), plus additional costs depending on where you want to protect your trademark, and how many classes of goods and services will be covered by your registration. For example, to register a trademark with no color elements in India and the European Union, for one class of goods, the total cost will be 1'698 Swiss francs [653 basic fee + 148 (one class in India) + 897 (one class in the European Union)]. After obtaining an international trademark registration, additional fees apply to expand the geographical scope of coverage, modify or renew your trademark portfolio. The WIPO Fee Calculator can help you estimate the cost of registering your trademark through the Madrid System.

What is the application process?

There are five basic steps in the process of filing an international trademark application through WIPO’s Madrid System: 

  1. Complete your international trademark application through WIPO’s online system. In your application, you must:

  • designate at least one Madrid System member (this cannot be the member through which you are filing your international application); 

  • compile the list of goods and service to be covered by your trademark; 

  • provide a quality copy of the image of your trademark; 

  • pay all relevant Madrid System fees.

  1. Submit the application to your Office of origin. They will check whether it corresponds to the particulars of your basic trademark. The Office certifies the international application and sends it to the WIPO. 

  2. Formal examination. WIPO checks whether your international trademark application complies with all formal requirements (sufficient contact details, quality of images, payment of fees, etc.). If it does not comply, you and your Office of origin will receive an ‘irregularity notice’ explaining how to correct the issue within a given time limit (typically three months). 

  3. WIPO registers your mark in the International Register, publishes it in the WIPO Gazette of International Marks, sends you a Certificate of Registration – acknowledgement of compliance with WIPO’s formal requirements – and notifies the designated members. 

  4. Substantive examination. The Office of each designated member performs substantive examination. Each Office must grant or refuse protection within a given time limit – 12, or in some cases 18 months from the date on which we notified the Office of its designation.

If you require any help with your trademark application, would like to find out more about the Madrid System filing process, or simply would like to receive professional advice on international trademark registration, don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation with us. We have already registered over 6,000 trademarks, providing professional end-to-end service to cover all your trademark needs. Regardless of where you come from, our team of trademark attorneys is ready to represent you across the globe.

Igor Demcak
Igor Demcak

Trademark Attorney

Founder & CEO of Trama

7 year experience in IP protection

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