Due to the observance of territoriality as a legal principle, international protection for trademark rights is not enabled through a single legal statute. It is enacted, rather, through a series of agreements requiring individual nations to adopt compatibly similar definitions of trademarks for their jurisdictions, a process known as harmonization.
The earliest source for a common understanding of trademark rights came from the agreement produced in the late 19th century by the Paris Convention. A more recent provision for international trademark rights comes from the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Intellectual-Property Rights, or the WTO TRIPS Agreement, which defined the “signs” used to identify trademarks.
The Madrid System, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, provides for the international observance of local trademark registrations. (see more international trademark law background, International Trademark Search, Different Classes of Goods, International Trademark Association, Paris Convention)
The World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights, otherwise called the WTO TRIPS agreement, provides for legal protection of unique trademarks in Article 15, 16, 19 and 20. Article 15 contains the basic definitions of trademarks. Articles 16.2 and 16.3 requires that countries refuse registration to trademarks found to be overly similar t