So, is there such a thing as an international trademark?
Unfortunately, no. Not really.
It’s possible to register your trademark in more than one country, and sometimes you can register in more than one country at a time. But there’s no such thing as an ‘international trademark’ or a ‘global trademark’ as such.
Trademarks are a matter for each country’s own domestic laws. So, for example, your Australian trademark protects your brand only in within Australia. [There are some exceptions to this, for famous brands.]
To get overseas protection, there are two main ways that a trademark owner can register a trade mark abroad:
- You can file an application through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which nominates the specific countries in which you seek protection (see our next post for more details about how this works under the so-called the Madrid Protocol); or
- You can file directly, by applying (in person or through a trademark attorney) in each country, which in some cases may be your only option.
You may also be able to apply for several European Union members at a time, by filing for a Community Trade Mark (CTM). This can be done either by filing a single application with the EU IP Office, or else by selecting the EU as a single designation under the Madrid Protocol (again, more details in our next post). A successful CTM application will bring you the same level of protection as if you’d filed with each European Union member separately. On the flip side, a rejection by one member country will undermine your entire CTM application.
Whichever approach you take, you’ll end up with separate trademark applications in each country.
Our next post will discuss the the Madrid Protocol and how it works.