To use the Madrid Protocol filing system, a base application is needed. This can either be a pending application or registration in the country where the business requesting the trademark is based.
The initial application would have to be filed via the local IP office, for example, the USPTO. From there, you can request that the IP office forward the application to WIPO. WIPO then sends the application to those Madrid Union countries where you seek international protection.
The main advantages of using the Madrid Protocol are:
- You can easily apply internationally in any member state of the Protocol
- You only need one filing
- You don't need to locate a legal representative in each country where you wish to file
The disadvantage of using the Protocol might be the price, depending on the number of countries you wish to register your trademark in. If you don't need to apply in more than five countries, it might be cheaper to file your application directly with each local IPO using a law firm.