Summary of the Trademark Law Treaty (TLT) (1994)

The aim of the Trademark Law Treaty (TLT) is to standardize and streamline national and regional trademark registration procedures. This is achieved through the simplification and harmonization of certain features of those procedures, thus making trademark applications and the administration of trademark registrations in multiple jurisdictions less complex and more predictable.

The great majority of the provisions of the TLT concern the procedure before a trademark office which can be divided into three main phases: application for registration; changes after registration; and renewal. The rules concerning each phase are constructed so as to clearly define the requirements for an application or a specific request.

As to the first phase – application for registration – the Contracting Parties to the TLT may require, as a maximum, the following indications: a request, the name and address and other indications concerning the applicant and the representative; various indications concerning the mark, including a certain number of representations of the mark; the goods and services for which registration is sought classified in the relevant class of the Nice Classification (established under the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (1957)); and, where applicable, a declaration of intention to use the mark. Each Contracting Party must also allow that an application can relate to goods and/or services belonging to several classes of the Nice Classification. As the list of permissible requirements is exhaustive, a Contracting Party cannot require, for example, that the applicant produce an extract from a register of commerce, an indication of a certain commercial activity, or evidence to the effect that the mark has been registered in the trademark register of another country.

The second phase of the trademark procedure covered by the TLT concerns changes in names or addresses and changes in the ownership of the registration. Here too, the applicable formal requirements are exhaustively listed. A single request is sufficient even where the change relates to more than one – possibly hundreds – of trademark applications or registrations, provided that the change to be recorded pertains to all registrations or applications concerned.

As to the third phase, renewal, the TLT standardizes the duration of the initial period of registration and the duration of each renewal to 10 years each.

Furthermore, the TLT provides that a power of attorney may relate to several applications or registrations by the same person or entity.

The TLT also contains Model International Forms (MIF) corresponding to the maximum requirements that a Contracting Party may provide for in respect of a particular procedure or document. A Contracting Party may also prepare its own Individualized International Form for use by applicants, provided that such forms do not require mandatory elements that would be additional to the elements referred to in the corresponding MIF.

Most notably, the TLT does not allow a requirement as to the attestation, notarization, authentication, legalization or certification of any signature, except in the case of the surrender of a registration.

The TLT was concluded in 1994 and is open to States members of WIPO and to certain intergovernmental organizations. Instruments of ratification or accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.