International Trademark Registration

The removal of international borders and the search for new markets have led companies to market their products at international markets.

Many companies are operating abroad, beginning from the most basic form of international trade to the direct investment in the most advanced form. Operating abroad requires compulsory registration of companies' trademarks abroad. In the case of exporting the product having a registered trademark in Turkey to other countries, the trademark must be registered in those countries. If unregistered trademarks are presented to the other countries, despite the goods clearing from Turkish customs, there is a possibility that the goods will be seized at the other customs

Companies wishing to present their goods and services at international markets must also protect them against malicious people.

A trademark registered in Turkey is protected only in Turkey.

The trademark must be registered in a country where the protection is desired. While attending a fair, exporter companies or companies which are in the preparation process should take precautions about trademark registrations in these countries. It will be extremely difficult for a company that provides goods and services to these countries to make trademark registration in all these countries.

The trademark law and trademark registration criteria of the country to be exported may differ from each other. There are two ways to register a trademark abroad.

First one is a territorial application, the second one is the application based on the international registration systems.

A territorial application means that if more than one application is done, the companies have to bear the costs of approval, translation, registration fees and lawyer fees in each country separately, which means that they bear significantly higher costs.

In the case that an application is made via international registration systems, if registration is required in more than one country, it is possible to carry out the transaction at very low costs.

Foreign Trademark Registration Systems

• Application under the Madrid Protocol concerning the Madrid Treaty
• European Community Application (CTM)
• African Countries Union Trademark Registration (OAPI)

Application under the Madrid Protocol concerning the Madrid Treaty

The Madrid Treaty was signed by various countries in 1892. In order to complete some of the missing aspects of the agreement, The Madrid Protocol entered into force on 1 December 1995.

TTurkey became a party to the protocol in 1995 and has been implementing the protocol since 1999. The Protocol provides applicants with a single language, a single fee, and a single application to obtain and register trademarks in more than one country and management of these trademarks. Moreover, registration processes can be done very easily and at low cost by subsequent identification in countries that have not been previously registered for an unregistered trademark. After ten years of the protection period, renewal processes can be done easily and at low cost with a single form.

List of Countries Included in the Madrid Protocol concerning the Madrid Treaty

(Click to download the document.)

European Community Application

The Community Trademark System, is a system that emerges as a result of the principle of free movement of goods/services within the community, and the protection provided within the framework of this system covers the member countries of the whole community.

The Community Trademark System has emerged as a result of 13 years of work carried out by representatives of the EU Commission and member states. The Community Trademark Office became functional in 1996 and began accepting applications. The full name of the Community Trademark Office is "Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trademarks and Designs)" which means "Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trademarks and Designs)".

The Community trademark enables applicants who want to protect their trademark within the boundaries of the community, to get protection in the Member States with only one application.

The advantages of this system are:

• Single application
• Only one legislation
• The only method to follow
• Single office
• Single wage system

Community Member Countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Association of African Countries Trademark Registration (OAPI)

OAPI is a collaborative institution established by French-speaking African countries in the field of industrial property. The African Union is the system of applying for trademark registration with a single application care of OAPI countries. It is the 1977 Bangui and the 1962 Libreville Treaty. The existing trademark registration is also applied to the new member states. In these countries, trademark law is accepted as a single state, thus it is not possible to obtain national trademark rights in these countries. The trademark registration period is 10 years and after these 10 years, time extension right belongs to people who has the trademark right.

Trademark Usage Obligation

For the registration of a trademark, within 5 years of the application, there is a requirement to use it in the commercial area. Third parties may cancel the trademark after this date upon appeal for use. Moreover, the use of the trademark in any of the member states is accepted as the trademark has been used in all the member states.

Advantages of the system:

• Registration in multiple countries with a single application
• Wage advantage
• Single language use
• Single country currency

OAPI Countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros Islands, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea - Conakry, Guinea - Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Equatorial Guinea.