The contract nature of trademarks is similar to that of a patent. The public, via its trademark laws at various levels, makes it possible to protect manufacturers (and service providers and others) from unscrupulous imitators who would pass off their goods as coming from the original manufacturer. The federal law on trademarks is covered by 15 USC section 1051 et seq. The infringement of a trademark or service mark depends on the criterion outlined above (confusing similarity). A trademark or service mark lasts for 10 years as long as it is used and not abandoned by its owner or removed by other legal action. "Branding" has recently become the mantra of the marketing folks; branding relies on trademarks and similar work. Nationwide franchising is also heavily dependent on trademarks. The two major international treaties that facilitate the registration of US trademarks in foreign countries are the Madrid Protocol and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).