Like with many things in Intellectual Property, it depends. First things first, there is no such thing as an internationally recognized trademark. Every country maintains its own trademark registry and will not recognize foreign trademarks.
When I say “register a trademark internationally” in this article what I mean is that a trademark will be protected in multiple countries, not in all the countries that exist.
There are 2 ways to register a trademark internationally.
In terms of cost, we recommend that you use the national procedure if you are interested in covering 2-7 countries. The fee will depend on the countries of your interest, and the number of classes, but you should expect at least 500$ per country. A truly international trademark in this case is very expensive and affordable only for well-established businesses. The good news is that you rarely need an international trademark covering all the countries.
Pros: the process is very flexible and that’s the fastest way to register a mark internationally. Each mark is independently registered. It can exist on its own, and can be sold/licensed independently. You can add more countries as you go or have variations of your trademark for every country.
Cons: it’s usually more expensive and you will need a local attorney for every country.
Another way to save on the cost of an international trademark is to file a Madrid Protocol application.
Applying for a trademark through the WIPO though they call it an international trademark is not truly international. What the WIPO does is to “copy” your local registered trademark and send “copies” to foreign Trademark Offices that examine it nationally. It’s very similar to the national procedure, but you don’t have to hire an attorney in each country and prepare a separate set of documents. The process is usually longer than using the national procedure.
Your mark can be extended up to 120 countries and if your base (local) trademark is canceled all the subsequent WIPO trademarks are canceled as well.
There are 2 main benefits: ease and price. No local attorney means less work with documents. No local attorneys also means that you pay only the government fee. The downside is that you must pay the WIPO fee of 700 CHF (800 USD), so it usually makes sense to file your international trademark application to at least 7 countries. In this case, you will pay around 300$ per country. The more countries you add, the more cost-effective the process will be.
There is something you should consider and that’s a use requirement. You must use your trademark in every country you managed to register it, otherwise, it might become vulnerable to cancellations in 3-5 years after registration.
For more than 7 years we help innovators from different countries protect their trademarks internationally. If you decide to use the National Procedure, Bonamark has attorneys in every country and will provide you with great offers for bulk registration.
You need not worry about how good is your attorney, how to prepare the document, what are the hidden fees, because we have you covered. No hidden fees, we will prepare the documents for you, and we offer a completely transparent registration process.
If you choose the WIPO process, we will help you as well. Our legal fees are US$700 for up to 10 countries, and just 50$ per each additional country. We will be able to support you locally in every country and that’s a very rare feature.
Let’s take 5 countries, a wordmark, 1 class, the base trademark is in the UK.
The countries: US, China, Japan, Germany, India
WIPO: 1,886.00 CHF + 40 GBP + 700$ = 2750 USD will be the total cost provided that the process is straightforward.
National Procedure: $2175 USD and there will be a final (certificate) fee in Japan of $549. The total will be 2724 USD.
As you can see, for 5 countries the national procedure is marginally more cost-effective than the WIPO procedure. However, in such a case you should always choose the national procedure and here is why: