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What is the territoriality of trademarks?

When talking about trademark protection, one of the principles on trademark law is the territoriality protection of the trademarks. To learn more about this principle, keep reading.

What is a trademark?

First of all, a trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing products or services in the market from one another. A trademark allows its owner to use it in the market to identify the products or services offered.

What does territoriality of trademarks mean?

The territoriality of trademarks means that the protection granted is independent from one territory to another. Thus, if you want to protect your trademarks in several countries, you will have to seek protection in each of them separately. Therefore, there is no such thing as a worldwide registry for trademark protection.

However, some offices offer protection within more than a single country. This is what is called a regional office for trademark protection. Some examples are the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP, which grants protection in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) and the AIPO (African Intellectual Property Organization) that grants protection in the majority of African French speaking countries.

How to register a trademark in multiple countries considering the territoriality of trademarks?

As mentioned above, an alternative is to seek protection in regional offices that offer a multiple country protection. For example, you could apply for trademark registration with the EUIPO, that grants protection in all European Union countries.

Another possibility is to file the applications on national offices, but using the benefits that the Right to Priority provides for the registration of trademarks. The Right to Priority allows you to file a trademark application in one country or region and within six months file for the same trademark in other countries in order to enjoy the benefit of the filing date of the first application. 

Additionally, the Madrid Protocol offers a great alternative for businesses or persons that have access to it, as is allows you to file a single application for multiple offices at the same time. However, remember that the final decision is made by the national or regional office, due to the territoriality principle.


As a conclusion, trademark law is territorial. As a consequence, you must comply with each country’s regulation on trademark law in order to protect it within its territory. If you are looking to protect and use a trademark within more than one territory, a possibility is to seek protection in regional offices, such as the EUIPO, BOIP or the AIPO.

If you are ready to protect your trademarks, contact us. We have an extensive net of IP Professionals in several countries of the world ready to advise you on trademark law.