A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Trademarks are protected by intellectual property rights.
At the national/regional level, trademark protection can be obtained through registration, by filing an application for registration with the national/regional trademark office and paying the required fees. At the international level, you have two options: either you can file a trademark application with the trademark office of each country in which you are seeking protection, or you can use WIPO’s Madrid System.
In principle, a trademark registration will confer an exclusive right to the use of the registered trademark. This implies that the trademark can be exclusively used by its owner, or licensed to another party for use in return for payment. Registration provides legal certainty and reinforces the position of the right holder, for example, in case of litigation.
The term of trademark registration can vary, but is usually ten years. It can be renewed indefinitely on payment of additional fees. Trademark rights are private rights and protection is enforced through court orders.
A word or a combination of words, letters, and numerals can perfectly constitute a trademark. But trademarks may also consist of drawings, symbols, three-dimensional features such as the shape and packaging of goods, non-visible signs such as sounds or fragrances, or color shades used as distinguishing features – the possibilities are almost limitless.
From a trip to the shopping mall to an hour in front of the TV, we encounter trademarks at every turn. They are an indispensable tool in today's business world.
Trademarks, including service marks, are particularly important in the globalized tourism sector and are key to its further development.
A successful marketing effort depends on trademark lawyers and marketers being on the same page.
The treaties WIPO administers, together with national and regional laws, make up the international legal framework for trademarks.
Trademark-related treaties administered by WIPO
These Joint Recommendations respond to trends and developments in international trademark law:
The WIPO Lex database is a comprehensive search tool that allows you to search international treaties and national laws on intellectual property.
The Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) is the forum where WIPO's member states discuss policy and legal issues relating to the international development of trademark law and standards.
- Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications: Thirty-First Session (SCT/31), March 17 to 21, 2014, Geneva, Switzerland
The Madrid system for the international registration of trademarks provides a single procedure for the registration of a mark in several territories. In a nutshell, you benefit from one application, in one language, paid in one currency.
Searching trademarks and other signs
WIPO's ROMARIN database contains detailed information, updated daily, on all international marks recorded under the WIPO Madrid System, which are currently in force or have expired within the past six months.
Our Global Brand Database provides easy access to brand-related data from multiple international and national sources, including trademarks, appellations of origin and official emblems.
The Nice Classification is an international system used to classify goods and services for the purposes of the registration of marks.
From Champagne to Habanos cigars, the unique geographical characteristics of a product can be key for branding. The Lisbon System for the international registration of appellations of origin protects such products through a single registration.
Article 6ter is used to protect armorial bearings, flags and other state emblems of the states party to the Paris Convention.
The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center provides trademark owners with efficient international mechanisms to deal with disputes over Internet domain names corresponding to their trademark rights.