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The Madrid Protocol

The Madrid Protocol provides an option to file one international trade mark application across a number of participating countries. However, there are several things to consider when choosing this approach.


When filing international trade mark applications from New Zealand or Australia it is possible to:

  1. file directly in each country of interest; or

  2. for certain countries that are party to what is called the Madrid Protocol, file one international application designating those participating countries of interest.

Filing an international trade mark application through the Madrid Protocol can be cheaper. Generally, the more countries and classes of interest you wish to register your trade mark for, the more cost effective the Madrid Protocol is.  This includes the initial upfront fees, as well as future renewal fees or transaction fees for changing the owner or address, for example.

However there are certain things you need to consider when deciding whether to use the Madrid Protocol or file in individual countries, which are detailed below.

What you need to know about using The Madrid Protocol

  • The Madrid Protocol registration is dependent on the New Zealand or Australian application (known as the parent application) for 5 years. If the parent application is not registered or is cancelled during this time, for whatever reason, then all applications stemming from the Madrid Protocol application would be vulnerable to cancellation. Filing directly in each country avoids this possibility.

  • Another thing to be aware of is that under the Madrid Protocol the description of goods and services is initially restricted to what was filed for under the parent application.  This means there are, depending on the particular countries, sometimes administrative objections for non-compliance with local law.  These issues are normally easily addressed but can incur extra fees. Filing directly in each country allows the initial application to be tailored to help to avoid these kinds of issues.

  • The Madrid Protocol registrations cannot be assigned to an owner that is not subject to a country that is party to the Madrid Protocol, which may affect future sales.  However, whether this is a concern depends on the circumstances and is unlikely to affect most companies.

Ultimately, whether to file international trade mark applications under the Madrid Protocol or to file directly in each country depends on the countries and classes of interest.   We can advise on the best options for your circumstances.

Seeking International Trade mark advice?

We offer free 30-minute consultations to find out about your business, your intellectual property needs, and how we can help support your goals.