Trademark Law Treaty

The Trademark Law Treaty (TLT) , adopted on October 27, 1994, entered into force on August 1, 1996. Forty-five states, including the United States, are party to the TLT as of November 9, 2009. The TLT was enacted to simplify procedures in the application and registration process and to harmonize trademark procedures in different countries. The TLT harmonizes procedures of national trademark offices by establishing the maximum requirements a contracting party can impose.

From the trademark owner's perspective, the TLT saves time and money in the preparation and filing of documents for the application. It streamlines the process for post-registration renewals, recording assignments, changes of name and address, and powers of attorney. Member countries to the TLT are now required to permit the use of multi-class applications, enabling trademark owners to file a single application covering multiple classes of goods and services.

Additionally, the TLT requires member nations to register service marks and treat them as they would trademarks. The TLT also harmonizes the initial and renewal terms of trademark registration among signatory countries at 10 years with 10-year renewals, making it easier for trademarks owners to keep track of their obligations to maintain registrations amongst TLT contracting parties.

A particularly significant feature of the TLT that benefits trademark owners is its prohibition of requirements by national offices for authentication or certification of documents as well as signatures on trademark applications and correspondence. Many countries had required that any signatures submitted in support of registration of a mark be notarized or otherwise legalized in accordance with the laws of that nation. Under the TLT, it is no longer necessary in most instances to go through these procedures. This feature enables trademark owners to complete and file trademark documents more quickly, at less cost. Overall, the TLT is intended to facilitate international trade: It is of particular importance to individuals and small businesses looking for markets in other countries.