Madrid System: Filing International Trademark Applications – The Process

There are five basic steps in the process of filing an international trademark application through WIPO’s Madrid System:

  1. Complete your international trademark application. Refer to ‘How to file’.

  2. Submit the application to your Office of origin. (Warning: Do not send it to WIPO!) They will check that it corresponds to the particulars of your basic mark. The Office certifies the international application and sends it to us.

  3. Formal examination. We check that your international trademark application complies with all formal requirements (sufficient contact details, designation of at least one Madrid System member, quality of images, payment of fees, etc.). If it does not comply, we will send you and your Office of origin an ‘irregularity notice’ explaining how to correct the issue within a given time limit (typically three months). Sample irregularity notice PDF, Sample irregularity notice.
  1. We register your mark in the International Register, publish it in the WIPO Gazette of International Marks, send you a Certificate of Registration – acknowledgement of compliance with WIPO’s formal requirements – and notify the designated members. Sample certificate of registration PDF, Sample Certificate of Registration.

  2. Substantive examination. The Office of each designated member performs substantive examination. Each Office must grant or refuse protection within a given time limit – 12, or in some cases 18 months from the date on which we notified the Office of its designation.

Reminder! The domestic laws of each designated Madrid System member determine the scope of protection of your international trademark registration.

The international trademark registration process at a glance

  • Understand substantive requirements, how to deal with 'irregularities', the effects of an international registration, responding to refusals issued by trademark offices, and more. PDF, Guide to the Madrid System
  • Video: The international application step-by-step (webinar recording)

Possible outcomes of substantive examination by offices

  1. You receive no news within the 12 or 18-month limit. Protection is granted (tacit).

  2. You receive a statement of grant of protection. If an Office finds no grounds for refusal, it must issue a statement of grant of protection of your mark. Sample Statement of Grant of Protection PDF, Sample Statement of Grant of Protection
    • If you designated Cuba or Japan, you will receive a request to pay the second part of the individual fee at this stage. Sample Request for Second Part of Fee PDF, Sample Request for Second Part of Fee
  3. You receive a notification of provisional refusal. If an Office finds grounds for refusing protection of your mark (entirely or partially), it must send a provisional refusal notification to WIPO. We will forward it to you. The notification will include the reasons for the refusal, any further steps that are required (including the time limit to respond), review or appeal options, and whether or not you must appoint a local agent to assist you. Sample Notification of Provisional Refusal PDF, Sample Notification of Provisional Refusal

    You can appeal against a provisional refusal at the domestic level.

Possible decisions after a provisional refusal

  • Positive outcome – the Office grants protection of your mark for all or some of the goods and services listed in your international trademark registration. Sample Statement of Grant of Protection following a provisional refusal PDF, Sample Statement of Grant of Protection Following a Provisional Refusal

  • Negative outcome – the Office confirms a total provisional refusal of your mark. Sample Confirmation of Total Provisional Refusal PDF, Sample Confirmation of Total Provisional Refusal

Tip! In some cases, you may be able to appeal this final decision with a higher judicial or administrative body, such as a Board of Appeals or Court. This will depend on the domestic laws of the Madrid System member in question. Learn more about the review and appeal procedures of Madrid System members in our Member Profiles Database.