Applying for an International Trademark

The Madrid Protocol relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks is an international treaty that allows a trademark owner to seek registration in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol by filling a single application, called an “international application”.  This treaty is administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. The Madrid Protocol has been in operation since April 1996 and has been ratified by many countries around the world.

Singapore acceded and became a party to the Madrid Protocol in Oct 2000. As a member of the Madrid System, there are benefits on top of it being convenient, easy and cost effective to apply for International Marks in Singapore. Individuals and organizations need only to file one application in one language and pay one set of fees to protect your mark in the territories of up to 98 members.

The 98 member countries covering 114 countries represent more than 80% of the world.

Steps to apply for International Marks

1. Prerequisites

The prerequisite to applying for an international mark in Singapore is that you have to be a resident or national of Singapore or a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in Singapore.

Before you can apply for an International mark, you must first apply or register your mark in Singapore. The classes of goods or services in your international mark application must be covered by your Singapore mark. You will be able to use your Singapore mark as a base of an international application, provided that the countries which you are seeking registration with are one of the Madrid Protocol member countries.

2. Filing for your International Mark

Fill in the MM2(E) form to file an application for International Registration governed by the Madrid Protocol. The applicant needs to pay fees to both IPOS and WIPO for this filing. Administration fees to IPOS is at S$250, while WIPO charges in Swiss Francs and the fees are dependent if your mark is produced in black and white or colors, the Contracting Parties designated, and the number of classes of goods and services in your application

3. Application Examination

IPOS will examine the application for irregularities and submit the satisfactory application to the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property (WIPO) within 2 months which the filing was submitted. Any irregularities need to be rectified in a timely manner for the application to remain valid.

4. Mark Publishing

The International Bureau (IB) of WIPO will assess the international application to verify that it conforms to the applicable requirements. The mark will be registered in the International Register and published in the Gazette when IB is satisfied that the application has met the requirements. IB will also notify the Offices designated countries on the International Registration. However, in the event that WIPO finds irregularities in the application, the applicant will receive a notice and appropriate action will need to ensue immediately.

5. Rights to your International Mark

You will have the rights to your International Mark for 10 years, with terms and conditions to maintain its validity.

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