"Microsoft is a company that was founded on intellectual property rights through innovation, through patents, copyrights and trademarks it has protected it's products and services around the world. Trademarks are very important part of that, independent surveys and studies have shown that the value of the Microsoft brand is approaching 60 billion dollars. So it's clearly one of the the most important assets for the company.
When Microsoft is looking to register it's trademarks it will file a US trademark application and it will also extend in international countries using the Madrid system.
If a country is (not) a signatory to the Madrid system… we will have to file directly with it.
But we do like to use the Madrid system given the efficiencies and cost effectiveness that come along with it.
- it allows us to file applications globally, in English
- it also gives us benefits in the future when it comes time for renewals. We really appreciate we can do things online, simple and easy to navigate.
- also full information that's very helpful.
- also WIPO is very good about sending out emails that give us updates on all the registration fee changes of the various member countries and keep us very informed.
The Madrid Protocol has been wonderful for the US in that it allows US brand owners an opportunity to have a central filing system that is easy to use and very cost effective.
Over the course of the two to three years where we've increased the number of Madrid filing s we use we've seen the cost go down close to 40% in our international filings.
For small and medium sized industries I think it would be even more important for them to use the Madrid system. While Microsoft is constantly looking for cost efficient ways to do it's business, we do have resources that small and medium sized businesses may not, we do have presences in many countries.
I would advise entrepreneurs to make sure that they do their due diligence in clearing a name before they take it to market.
In the US, the US trademark system requires that you are more specific with the goods and services descriptions than in other countries.
...when the US is your home country application that more specific goods and services description extends out to all the various countries that you check on the Madrid application.
Why it may not pose a problem for US applicants is that if they have been strategic in how they identify their goods and services that are covered under the application, they should have adequate coverage for the goods and services for which they plan to use it.
...we've become very comfortable with the goods and services descriptions we have that we will get adequate coverage wherever we extent, so, that was not something that became problematic for us.
The concept of central attack has been raised by other brand owners in the United States in particular as a deterrent from using the System.
If a home country application is opposed then ultimately successful opposition to it, the whole house of cards can possibly come down... because it's so rarely used… we've determined that it's not something that should deter us from using the Madrid System, given the efficiencies and cost effectiveness that come along with it.
We don't need to be encouraged to use the system more; It has become standard for us to utilize it for international filing.