International trademark registration, also known as the Madrid Protocol, makes it possible to include several countries in a single trademark registration. The Madrid Protocol has over 80 member countries, and their number is increasing. Finland is one of the members, which means that Finnish applicants can make use of the system.
Applying for an international registration requires the applicant to have a trademark application or registration under consideration in Finland, related to the same trademark. The international registration must correspond to the Finnish one, and it is dependent on the Finnish registration to some degree. The registration will be valid in the countries stated in the application, provided that no obstacles to registration are discovered. The application will be processed in accordance with each country’s legislation. The registered trademark will be valid in a similar way to national trademarks.
It is also possible to add countries to an international trademark registration after it has been approved. The holder can request that the area of the registration be expanded if, for example, the holder’s market area undergoes changes or new countries in which protection is needed join the Madrid Protocol.
The registration is valid for ten years and can be renewed an unlimited amount of times for ten years at a time.
International registration applications are processed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva in Switzerland and by the national patent office in each target country. WIPO, however, handles registrations of applications and renewals and transfers of trademarks centrally.