Expanding the Madrid System is a main plank of INTA’s advocacy work on trademark harmonization, as the system enables trademark owners to apply for protection in multiple jurisdictions simultaneously. In her speech at the 2013 Annual Meeting in Dallas, INTA President Toe Su Aung told attendees that a major achievement of the past year was the accession of Mexico, Colombia and India to the Madrid Protocol. She reported that this activity is fueling renewed interest from other countries, which is great news for trademark owners.
The timing was ideal, as the day before Ms. Aung had signed a new Memorandum of Understanding between INTA and the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) to join forces on a variety of projects, including Mexico’s implementation of the Madrid System. IMPI Director General Miguel Ángel Margáin signed on behalf of his organization, which will take part in information exchanges and training for trademark office staff, customs officials and members of the judiciary. INTA will also share the experiences and best practices of other signatory countries to help Mexico on its way, and the Association’s staff and member committees will offer ongoing advice and expertise.
INTA President Toe Su Aung and IMPI Director General Miguel Ángel Margáin signing the MOU
at the 2013 Annual Meeting
INTA is also assisting Colombia on its implementation of the system and is supporting the Dominican Republic as it take steps that could lead to their own accession. There has been particularly good progress in Brazil, where the trademark office has announced reductions in trademark examination periods as well as increased the numbers of examiners and has given other strong indications that it will join, as recently reported in the INTA Bulletin.
Latin America is not the only region seeing progress. Following India’s accession in April, over 100 trademark professionals took part this month in an INTA webcast about how to navigate the new system, which goes live on July 8. Speakers included Indian intellectual property lawyers Purnima Singh of Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & Caroe and Sindhu Sankaran of Raymond Limited, as well as Alan Datri from WIPO and Olof Fickert from the Spanish legal firm Balder IP.
Another recent signatory is New Zealand, which joined the Madrid System in October of last year and updated its IT capabilities at the same time. This means that all applications to the New Zealand IP office are submitted online and are handled through an electronic case management system.
Finally, in May, Rwanda became the latest country to join, boosting the number of signatories to 91. Meanwhile, all ten ASEAN member states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) pledged their accession by 2015.
So with a bit of luck—and with continued support and advocacy from INTA—the number of Madrid members may soon break into the triple digits!
Click here for more on INTA’s activity in this area.