A specialized agency of the United Nations with headquarters in Geneva established in 1967 to "promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world". Currently has 187 member states.
World Trade Organisation (WTO)
Came into being in 1995 to supervise and liberalize the rules of trade between nations. Its major task is to help trade flow smoothly, fairly and freely by administering trade agreements, settling trade disputes, reviewing national trade policies and helping developing countries. Currently the WTO has 153 members, around 30 others are negotiating membership.
Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
An international agreement administered by the WTO that for the first time introduced intellectual property law into the international trading system.
Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
The first major international intellectual property treaty established in 1884 with 14 member states. The convention introduced the concept of a priority right enabling an applicant from one contracting State to use its first filing date as the effective filing date in another contracting State. Currently the Convention has 173 contracting states
Patent cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Concluded in 1970 to facilitate patent proceedings enabling patent protection to be sought simultaneously in each contracting state by means of a single PCT International Patent Application. Currently 142 states belong to the PCT.
European Patent Convention (EPC)
International treaty instituting the European Patent Organization. It also provided an autonomous legal system according to which European Patents are granted during a single and harmonized procedure before the European Patent Office.
Madrid Agreement for the International Registration of Marks
The first international system that facilitates the registration of trademarks in multiple jurisdiction around the world. Currently it has 56 contracting states.
Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement
The Madrid Protocol is an international treaty that allows a trademark owner to register and protect it in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol by filing a single, international application. Currently it has 81 contracting states.