The major international system for allowing the registration of trademarks across multiple jurisdictions is commonly known as the “Madrid system” because the treaty behind it was formulated in Madrid, Spain. Madrid provides a centrally administered system for securing trademark registrations in member jurisdictions by extending the protection of an “international registration” obtained through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The “Madrid system” or protocol is administered by WIPO in Geneva, Switzerland.  This international registration is in turn based upon an application or registration obtained by a trademark applicant in its home jurisdiction.

The primary advantage of the Madrid system is that it allows a trademark owner to obtain trademark protection in many jurisdictions by filing one application in one jurisdiction with one set of fees, and make any changes (e.g. changes of name or address) and renew registration across all applicable jurisdictions through a single administrative process. Furthermore, the “coverage” of the international registration may be extended to additional member jurisdictions at any time.