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Madrid Protocol and International Trademarks

The Madrid Protocol is a treaty to which the United States is a signatory. It allows a trademark owner to obtain registrations in multiple nations by preparing and filing only one application with a centralized international administrative body. The benefit conferred by the Madrid Protocol is strictly financial. Whether or not it offers a financial advantage over nation-by-nation filing must be assessed on an individual basis. The reason for this is that under the Madrid Protocol the applicant must pay filing fees in each nation where he seeks a registration, just as he would if he were filing nation-by-nation. Plus, the Madrid applicant must also pay an international filing fee, which is substantial and runs in the thousands. So, in terms of filing fees, the Madrid applicant pays more. But, there is a potential cost savings in attorney time because the Madrid applicant only needs to prepare and file a single application, whereas a nation-by-nation filer would have to prepare and file an application in each country where he seeks a registration.

Unfortunately, not all of our trading partners are members of the Madrid Protocol, although the number is growing. So, businesses engaging in commerce in multiple nations still may not benefit from a Madrid application if only one or two of the foreign nations are a member of the Madrid Protocol. This and the fact that every nation has its own filing fee, as well as several other variables, requires each case to be assessed individually to determine whether it would benefit from a Madrid Protocol application.

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