A trademark or service mark is a "brand name" for your business, containing a logo and short phrase that sets your company apart from others. A service mark functions the same was as a trademark, for a service business.
If you do business internationally, you may decide it's a good idea to register your trademark or service mark through the international trademark registration service, called the "Madrid Protocol."
Do I Need to Register My Company Trademark Internationally?
Probably not. Only if you do business in other countries outside the U.S. do you need to even consider international trademark registration. If your customers all come from the U.S., it's probably not worth your time and money to do the international registration.
What is the International Trademark Registration Process?
The international trademark registration system is called the Madrid system or Madrid Protocol. It is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) located in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Madrid system allows you to have a trademark protected in several countries by filling an application directly with your own member country (the U.S. is a member). The international mark registered with the U.S. is equivalent to an application or a registration of the same mark in countries you designate. The trademark office of the designated country must allow the protection of the mark.
The Madrid system also simplifies management of your trademark or service mark, since you can record changes or renew the registration directly, without making those changes in each country of registration. You can also designate registrations in additional countries through the Madrid process.
How Do I Register Internationally?
An international application may be filed electronically using the U. S. Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) for International Applications. Electronic forms are accessible at http://teasi.uspto.gov/. Or you can use a paper form, available online at http://www.wipo.int/madrid/en. You can find more information on the Madrid Protocol and international trademark registration on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website.
Disclaimer: This blog post and all content on this GuideSite, is intended as general information and is not intended to be legal, financial, or tax advice. Your specific situation may require you to take actions differing from the general actions described in this post. Consult an your business advisors for advice on this subject.
For Additional Information
Read this list of Madrid FAQ on the USPTO website.