For businesses who desire to protect their marks outside of the United States, there are treaties in place to provide a more-efficient and cost-effective process for protecting a given trademark or service mark in non-U.S. nations. Once such vehicle is called the Madrid Protocol Agreements, which currently has 98 member nations, including the U.S. The Madrid System allows a U.S. applicant to file a U.S. trademark-registration application with the USPTO and use that filing as the basis for an "International" trademark-registration application under the Madrid Protocol Agreements. This saves much time and money, as in most cases local trademark counsel is not required in the various elected foreign nations, and the Madrid application generally follows the fate of the base U.S. application. In addition, if the "International" trademark-registration application is filed within six months of the base U.S. application, then the International application will enjoy the same priority filing date as the U.S. application under Article 4 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property ("The Paris Convention").
However, for foreign countries that are not signatories to the Madrid Protocol Agreements, local trademark counsel usually must be retained to file and prosecute a foreign trademark-registration application in the native language.