You’ve been in business for a number of years and now you’re finally ready to make the move toward globalisation. You’re actively searching for opportunities to do business overseas, when you realise you don’t know the first thing about international trademark law. You’ve never even heard of the Madrid Protocol. No need to worry! Here are the four easy steps to obtaining international trademark protection:

Step 1:  Get a lawyer

While filing an application for international trademark rights is something you can do yourself, it is best get a lawyer experienced in international law. Your lawyer can either handle the filing on your behalf or advise you throughout the process. Since they are well-versed in international intellectual property law, they can help you increase the chances of successfully obtaining your trademark rights.

Step 2:  Familiarise yourself with the Madrid Protocol

 To obtain international trademark rights, you must be familiar with the Madrid Protocol. This is an agreement between participating nations that establishes a common system for granting trademark rights. It’s designed to make it easier to seek trademark rights in multiple nations without applying separately to each nation. To learn more about the Madrid Protocol, you can visit the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) website.

Step 3:  Obtain Trademark Protection in your Home Country

The Madrid Protocol requires that any mark owner who is seeking international trademark rights must either obtain trademark rights in their home country first, or at least have a trademark application in progress. This must be done through your country’s intellectual property office.

Step 4:  Perform an International Trademark Search

If your mark infringes on that of another, your international trademark application will be rejected. If rejection occurs, the fees that you’ve paid to submit the application won’t be refunded. So it’s important you minimise any chances of rejection. The best way to do this is to do a search of the international trademark database. You can do this by visiting the WIPO website. Or your lawyer can perform the search for you. Since they know what to look for, they’ll ensure you don’t infringe on someone else’s mark.

One more thing:  Submit the International Trademark Application

If you have not already got a lawyer who’s familiar with international intellectual property law, now’s the time. Intellectual property law can be complex even on a domestic level – it can get far more confusing on an international level for those unfamiliar with the process.

If you’ve done your trademark search and are confident that there is no possible conflict with another mark, you can submit the application to the International Bureau. In some cases, you may not be able to submit the application directly; you may need to go through your country’s intellectual property office. The fees will vary depending upon the countries you would like trademark protection in and the type of mark you own. You can calculate your fees on the WIPO’s website.

Once you submit your application and pay all of the fees, while you’re waiting for your application to go through the process, you can track its progress on WIPO’s website. Once your mark’s approved, you will enjoy international trademark protection over your brand, and you are free to become a global business.

Four can help you become ready for your global success! Around the world, we put people at the heart of every business. To find out more about what we can offer you, simply give us a call on 0800 6250 025.