The so-called Madrid system (Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol) facilitates the registration of trademarks in almost 100 countries world-wide, including the USA, Canada, China, Japan, South-Korea and Australia. The European Union can also be designated in an International Registration (European Union Trademark).
The Madrid system provides for the international registration of trademarks by a single application that designates all desired countries. Requirement for the use of the Madrid system is the existence of a trademark application or registration (so-called basic application) in a country that is a member of the Madrid system. A cancellation of the basic application/registration within five years of the registration date of the international registration will lead to the cancellation of the international registration (so-called central attack).
The Madrid application is administered centrally by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva and results in a bundle of national trademark rights. The filing fees can be calculated in advance and have to be paid to the WIPO. The filing procedure can be conducted completely in English.
Renewals, assignments, licenses and other recordals are administered centrally by the WIPO, which strongly facilitates the management of large portfolios. Only in the case of conflicts with national prior registrations, national representatives have to be appointed.