Trademarks can be registered and protected in almost every country around the world in which they are used.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), each national or regional office maintains a Register of Trademarks.
Parties seeking protection for their ideas, brands, logos and other IP are required to apply to the office and seek entry on to this register.
It contains full application information on all registrations and renewals, which is crucial in terms of brand monitoring.
Third parties are able to search, examine and potentially raise objection to trademark applications where they risk encroaching onto IP which is already in existence.
However, WIPO noted that the effects of such a registration are limited to the country or region concerned.
This means a trademark registered in the US will not automatically be protected in other countries around the world.
And this is where the Madrid System comes into play.
In order to avoid the need to register separately with each national or regional office, WIPO administers a system of international registration of marks.
This is governed by two treaties, the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks and the Madrid Protocol.
“A person who has a link (through nationality, domicile or establishment) with a country party to one or both of these treaties may, on the basis of a registration or application with the trademark office of that country, obtain an international registration having effect in some or all of the other countries of the Madrid Union,” WIPO explained.