An international trademark allows the holder of a national application or registration to extend, with a unified filing procedure, the trademark rights to one or more countries adhering to the Madrid agreement or protocol (for the list of member countries see the attachment).
An application for the registration of an international trademark can be made by any physical person or legal entity resident or having a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in a member state of the Madrid Agreement or Protocol.
The application must be based on a corresponding national application or registration and can be submitted to the national office where the national trademark was filed, which will forward the application to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO or WIPO) in Geneva.
An international trademark is dependent on the national trademark for a period of 5 years from the date of registration of the international trademark; in this period of time, the invalidation of the national trademark on which the International Registration is based, correspondingly invalidates the international trademark.
At the moment of application, the Member States in which the protection of the national trademark is to be extended, must be designated.
The application for an international trademark is formally examined by the WIPO.
If it passes the examination, the international trademark is registered internationally and within 12 or 18 months from notification of the international registration, each member country can notify the WIPO of the issuing of a refusal of trademark registration in their territory.
According to national law the owners of prior rights can trigger an opposition procedure.
The trademark has a duration of 10 years and can be renewed countless times for periods of 10 years. During the renewal process, all the states designated or even a part of them can be confirmed; new states, however, cannot be added.
An international trademark can be exploited through licensing agreements (allowed for all or part of the territories designated), sales contracts (allowed only for subjects that may require an international trademark) or used as security right; furthermore, a customs supervision can be implemented as of the trademark application, by filing an application for intervention at the customs office that will inform the trademark holder of any transiting of suspected goods.