Community marks now stepping stones to international protection

European Union

The European Union will become a party to the Madrid Protocol today, thus establishing a link between the Community trademark system and the international registration of trademarks.

The Madrid Protocol, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, allows a trademark applicant or owner to apply for protection in over 70 countries or territories via a single application. From today, applicants in countries party to the protocol can designate the entire European Union for protection as well as a number of other countries worldwide under a single application. Similarly, if an applicant files a Community trademark, it will have six months to file an international application to designate other states within the Madrid system with the same priority date.

The Madrid Protocol route has always had the advantages of centralized administration and lower fees. The link with the Community trademark system, which simplifies the process for obtaining protection, together with the accession of the United States last November (see US mark owners may now apply for international marks), means that the Madrid Protocol is becoming a more attractive method of securing trademark protection in multiple jurisdictions. It is a step towards a truly global filing process for securing protection for brands.

For more details on the link between the Community trademark and the Madrid system, see The proposed union of the Madrid and Community trademark systems and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market's webpage titled "Madrid Protocol".

Joel Smith and Naomi Gross, Herbert Smith, London

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