India: Madrid System Of International Registration Of Trademarks

Last Updated: 7 November 2006
Article by Manisha Singh

The use of the Madrid System, by the trademark owners, to protect their trademarks abroad has obligated the staff of WIPO to organize a seminar and invite speakers to increase awareness and practical knowledge among the independent and in-house trademark agents as well as attorneys.1 The Seminar will focus on all aspects of the international registration procedure and relevant administrative and legal questions. It aims at increasing awareness and practical knowledge of the system among actual and potential users, whether in industry or in private practice.

Madrid System of International Registration of Trademarks is governed by the Madrid Agreement of 1891 and the Madrid Protocol. The Madrid System offers the possibility to obtain trademark protection in the countries of the Madrid Union by filing a single international application. The first international trademark registration dates from 1893 and belonged at that time to Swiss chocolate producer Russ Suchard et Cie, but is no longer in effect.  The oldest international trademark registration which is still in effect as a result of multiple renewals belongs to Swiss watchmaker Longines.  This trademark was also first registered in 1893. The Madrid Protocol, which became operational in 1996, introduced several features including the possibility for applicants to submit applications in English and for trademark offices of contracting parties to extend the period within which refusals should be notified.  These features made the system more flexible and attractive to a larger number of countries.  The total number of contracting parties to the Protocol is 67 and the overall current membership of the Madrid system is 78 (77 countries plus the European Community).

Brief Description of the System

The international trademark system administered by WIPO offers a trademark owner the possibility of having a mark protected in up to 77 countries and the European Community (EC) by filing one application, in one language (English, French or Spanish), with one set of fees, in one currency (Swiss Francs).  Applicants wishing to use the Madrid system must apply for trademark protection in a relevant national or regional trademark office before seeking international protection.  Thereafter, the international registration can be maintained and renewed through a single procedure at WIPO.

An application for international registration must be presented to the International Bureau through the Office of origin. Where the international application complies with the applicable requirements, the mark is recorded in the International Register and published in the WIPO Gazette of International Marks. The International Bureau notifies each Contracting Party in which protection has been requested, whether in the international application or subsequently.

The protection of the mark in each of the designated Contracting Parties is the same as if the mark had been deposited directly with the Office of that Contracting Party and is from the date of the international registration or subsequent designation.

Each designated Contracting Party has the right to refuse protection, within the time limits specified in the Agreement or Protocol. Unless such a refusal is notified to the International Bureau within the applicable time limit, the protection of the mark in each designated Contracting Party is the same as if it had been registered by the Office of that Contracting Party. The time limit for a Contracting Party to notify a refusal is generally 12 months. Under the Protocol however, a Contracting Party may declare that this period is to be 18 months (or longer, in the case of a refusal based on an opposition).

An international registration remains dependent on the mark registered or applied for in the Office of origin for a period of five years from the date of its registration. If, and to the extent that, the basic registration ceases to have effect, whether through cancellation following a decision of the Office of origin or a court, through voluntary cancellation, through refusal or withdraw of an application or through non-renewal, within this five-year period, the international registration will no longer be protected. After the expiry of this period of five years, the international registration becomes independent of the basic registration or basic application. An international registration may be maintained in force indefinitely by the payment, every 10 years, of the prescribed fees.

Advantages of the System

International registration has several advantages for the owner of the mark. In summary, the main advantages for trademark owners consist of the simplicity of the international registration system and the financial savings made when obtaining and maintaining the protection of their marks abroad. International registration is also to the advantage of trademark Offices. For example, they do not need to examine for compliance with formal requirements, or classify the goods or services, or publish the marks. Moreover, part of the fees collected by the International Bureau is transferred to the Contracting Parties in which protection is sought. Furthermore, if the International Registration Service closes its biennial accounts with a profit, the proceeds are divided among the Contracting Parties.


Trademarks are a key component of any successful business marketing strategy. They allow the organizations to identify, promote and license their goods or services in the marketplace and also to distinguish these from those of their competitors. In addition to distinguishing and advertising, a trademark symbolizes the promise of a quality product and trademark protection hinders unfair competitors to take a "free ride" on the goodwill of a company by using similar distinctive signs to market inferior or similar products or services. The dilution or infringement of a high-value trademark could prove devastating to a business.

In today’s global and increasingly electronic marketplace a trademark is often the only way for customers to identify & distinguish a company’s products and services. Exporters often realize the importance of registering their trademarks abroad once they are faced with counterfeiters or once they are accused of infringing the rights of others. Registering a trademark in foreign markets gives a company the exclusive right to commercialize its products in those markets. This provides a basis to stop counterfeiters. Registering a trademark abroad also provides the opportunity to license the trademark to others (often in conjunction with other IP rights) or may be the basis for a company’s franchising or merchandising strategy.


© Lex Orbis 2006

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions