India has become the newest member of the International Trademark System, popularly known as the Madrid Protocol in July 2013. Indian businesses can now protect their marks in multiple countries by filing one application with one set of fees. Conversely Trademark owners in Madrid Protocol member countries may now extend the protection of their marks in Indian jurisdiction or add India to their new or existing applications simply by way of subsequent designation.
The Madrid Protocol was adopted in Madrid on June 27, 1989, and now has more than 90 signatory countries with the recent inclusion of Colombia, New Zealand, Philippine, Mexico and now India. More countries are expected to join the Madrid Protocol soon as the system provides a relatively simplified process for companies intending to protect their marks in multiple countries.
Under the Madrid Protocol system, companies can file a single application in one language in one of the member countries, with one set of fees at a minimal cost and can have their marks registered at the other member countries without, in majority of cases, appointing local representatives. This saves both time and money for entities willing to do business internationally instead of filling a national trademark application in every single jurisdiction.
Bangladesh is yet to sign this international Protocol concerning the international registration of trademarks.
The story was first published in INTELLECT Issue no.3, dated November 2013.