WHAT PROTECTION DOES IT PROVIDE?
Not typically. Each country has its own laws relating to the protection of intellectual property. While many nations are part of international treaties and cooperation agreements, actual registration and enforcement still rests with each individual country. While a U.S. Trademark registration may be helpful in protecting against infringers overseas in certain circumstances, it is best to actually register your mark in every country in which you do business.
If you plan to do business in other countries, you should make sure that your brand is protected there (just as it should be protected in the U.S.). If you are planning to expand to other countries with your products or services, you need to consider expanding your Trademark protection to those countries.
Typically no. You can file at any time. If you are using the Madrid System, and you are basing the international application on your new U.S. application, you should file within 6 months. If you file the international application within 6 months of your U.S. application, you preserve your earlier U.S. filing date.