October 1, 2012
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INTA President Welcomes Colombia to the Madrid Protocol
On August 29, 2012, INTA President Gregg Marrazzo (Estée Lauder Inc.) and Laura Cruz, INTA External Relations Manager for Latin America, traveled to Bogota, Colombia, to attend a special program to commemorate Colombia’s accession to the Madrid Protocol. The program was organized by the Colombian Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) with the participation of national and international representatives from WIPO, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), the Spanish Office of Patents and Trademarks (OEPM) and the Colombian IP Association (ACPI).
In his opening remarks, Mr. Marrazzo said “Colombia’s entrance to the Protocol not only marks an important milestone in the evolution of trademark protection in Colombia, it also reflects the country’s readiness to take steps necessary to adapt to the changes and meet the demands of today’s global economy.” Referring to the effects of globalization and the increasing interconnectedness of national economies with respect to intellectual property, he said that these trends had contributed to the evolution of international norms while simultaneously changing the face of trademark law. INTA, Mr. Marrazzo emphasized, is committed to helping trademark owners cope with new challenges by promoting greater harmonization in trademark law and practices. “Colombia’s accession to the Madrid Protocol will contribute to its rapidly growing economy, third largest in the region, and on behalf of its worldwide membership, INTA welcomes this development.”
In partnership with the WIPO and USPTO, INTA has been a strong supporter of the Protocol and has worked with the Colombian government to help gain support from local IP holders. In the process, implementing legislation was approved through Bill 1455 of 2011. Early this year, the Colombian Constitutional Court gave clearance and declared both Bill 1455 and the Protocol to be enforceable. On May 29, 2012, Colombia concluded its ratification process with the deposit of its instrument of ratification before WIPO.
It is expected the overall effect of Colombia joining the Madrid Protocol will be cost savings for Colombian companies seeking to market their products and services abroad. With the implementation of the Protocol, trademark registration procedures in Colombia will be streamlined and harmonized and international registration will be facilitated. While Colombia’s Madrid membership will benefit all trademark owners, it should prove to be an especially useful tool for small and medium-sized business with limited budgets. Likewise, companies located abroad with strategies to bring their products and services to the Colombian market also will enjoy these benefits.
The well-attended event drew more than 100 legal counsel and representatives from academia and the government. The event also served to educate attendees about WIPO’s proceedings and office requirements for Madrid applications at OEPM, the USPTO and from the Colombian office, SIC. (See SIC website for presentations).
Colombia’s Superintendent, Jose Miguel De La Calle Restrepo, used the opportunity to highlight some of the changes under SIC’s restructuring process to help the office prepare for treaty implementation. Mr. De La Calle spoke about key aspects of the program to promote the Madrid Protocol, including the launching of an awareness-raising campaign and educational programs on the Protocol’s benefits. Other initiatives SIC is implementing include the creation of an IP Academy for specialized IP training and a new plan for investment in technology projects. Mr. De La Calle stated that Colombia’s adoption of the Madrid Protocol is an important part of policies being implemented to assist Colombian entrepreneurs and businesses. He highlighted the core objective of increasing Colombia’s overall export performance. It was also announced that under the new proceedings and restructuring of SIC, it is expected that Colombia can increase its trademark registration numbers to 70,000.
Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.
© 2012 International Trademark Association