Registration of trademarks abroad
Since 1996, EU has had its own trademark protection system, which protects the trademark in the entire EU area. Trademark protection is obtained by filing a trademark application in the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) located in Alicante, Spain.
During the application process, the EU Intellectual Property Office examines whether the trademark has distinguishing power and makes sure that it is not misleading. After that, the trademark is advertised in the EU trademark gazette. The owners of similar protected trademarks must object the registration of an EU trade mark on their own initiative by filing an opposition against the application, since EUIPO does not perform an ex officio examination. The mark is registered, if no oppositions are filed against it.
International trademark system
The international trademark system is based on an international agreement called the Madrid Protocol. Through the system, it is possible to file by one application applications in all the countries which belong to the Madrid Protocol. At the moment, the members of the protocol include for instance all the European countries, most of the Asian countries and the USA.
When filing the application, the applicant chooses in which countries the trademark is to be protected (i.e. the designated countries). The registering authority investigates whether the trademark is registrable in the country in question according to the same principles as would apply if the aim was to register the mark nationally in the said countries.
National registration of trademarks
Trademarks can also be protected nationally in different countries. The registration systems vary somewhat from one country to another.