Is there any drawback to using the Madrid System when registering an international trademark?

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Written by Igor Demcak

Founder & Trademark Attorney

Although the Madrid System allows brand owners to conveniently apply for a trademark in multiple countries, there are disadvantages you should be aware of before choosing this option:

  1. Not all countries are members of WIPO.
  2. You must have a pending/registered trademark in one of the member countries of WIPO. This is called a basic filing or a basic mark. If your basic mark fails to be registered, the rest of the WIPO applications will be cancelled as well.
  3. Even if your basic mark passes and gets registered, if it's cancelled or limited within the first five years after registration, it will result in the cancellation or limitation of all the designations of the international registration.
  4. The process is quite lengthy. It might take up to 18 months.
  5. If you wish to change the ownership of your international registration, the assignee has to be a person authorised to file an international application.
  6. The registration can cost more than going through each national IP office individually. This depends on the number and selection of countries, but generally, WIPO is more cost-effective from five countries up.

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