How to Monitor your International Application: Overview – Application to Registration

The Madrid System is an international filing and registration system. WIPO performs a formalities examination only.

The IP Office of each Contracting Party (member) designated in your international application will determine the scope of protection of your mark, after conducting its own substantive examination.

Stage 1: Submission of international application through your Office of origin

Once you have applied for or registered a domestic mark with your Office of origin (in other words, once you have obtained a “basic mark”), you can file an international application under the Madrid System. This application must be submitted to your Office of origin, which will certify it and then submit it to WIPO. Learn more about the international application.

Stage 2: Formalities Examination by WIPO

WIPO examines your international application for formalities only. This means that it does not refuse or grant protection. It simply checks the information presented in your international application, in particular: the applicant’s name and address, the quality of the image of the mark, that at least one member is designated (which cannot be the member where you filed your international application), that the list of the goods and services is classified according to the Nice Classification, and payment of the required fees.

Possible outcomes

1) WIPO issues an irregularity notice (application does not comply with formal requirements)

  • If your international application does not comply with the applicable formal requirements (for example, if any of the required information is missing, such as applicant’s details or if the image of the mark is unclear), WIPO will send an “irregularity notice” to you and to your Office of origin. This notice will identify the problem (the “irregularity”), explain how to correct it within a given time limit (usually three months), identify who should remedy the problem (depending on the irregularity, this can be the Office of origin or you, the applicant), and indicate what will happen if the irregularity is not remedied.
    • Sample irregularity notice PDF, Sample irregularity notice

2) WIPO records and publishes your mark (application complies with formal requirements)

  • If your international application contains all the required information and there are no irregularities,  WIPO records the mark in the International Register and publishes it in the WIPO Gazette of International Marks, and notifies the Office of each member designated in your international application. At this stage, you become the holder of an international registration.
  • WIPO will then send you a Certificate of Registration for your mark.
    • Sample Certificate of Registration PDF, Sample Certificate of Registration
Please note that this certificate is not equivalent to a certificate from a national or regional Office, informing you of a domestic registration. At this stage, the certificate from WIPO is merely an acknowledgement of compliance with WIPO’s formal requirements. The scope of protection for your mark is not known at this stage, and will ultimately depend on the outcome of the substantive examination conducted by Offices of the members designated (at the next stage).

Stage 3: Substantive examination by each national/regional Office

After WIPO has recorded your mark in the International Register, it will notify all the Offices of the members that you have designated in the international application (also referred to as “Offices of designated Contracting Parties”) so that these Offices can begin their substantive examination. 

The Office of each designated Contracting Party conducts substantive examination of the mark that is the subject of your international registration, in the same way it examines national/regional applications and in accordance with its domestic laws. A decision on the scope of protection will be made within 12 months (or 18 months, for certain members) from the date WIPO notified the Office of its designation.

Learn more about the possible outcomes of substantive examination by national/regional Offices

For further information, please refer to paragraphs B.II.11.01 to 31.01 of the Guide to the International Registration of Marks under the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol PDF, Madrid Guide.