125 Years of the Madrid System

April 14, 2016

April 14, 2016 marks a milestone anniversary for the Madrid System: 125 years since its first governing treaty (the Madrid Agreement) was adopted in Madrid on this day in 1891. Today more than ever, the Madrid System offers a convenient and cost effective solution for protecting your brand worldwide.

We’ve come a long way

In 1891, the Madrid Union was comprised of nine founding members and has continuously grown over the years. For its 125th anniversary, the Madrid System is 97 member-strong, covers 113 countries and is expected to expand to encompass 100 members and beyond in coming years.

Swiss watch marker Longines holds the oldest internationally registered mark still active today, dating back to 1893. From multinationals, to SMEs and individual entrepreneurs, thousands of businesses from a wide range of industries have relied on the myriad benefits of the Madrid System to protect their marks around the world. Since the System’s inception, well over a million marks have been registered, including countless famous marks, which have become household names internationally.

Infographic, Madrid: 125 Years of Growth
(Image: WIPO)

Convenient and cost effective     

Throughout its evolution, the Madrid System has continued to adapt to the needs of users, adopting along the way convenient and cost effective features that facilitate the registration and management of trademarks in multiple countries.

An important milestone in this evolution was the adoption of the Madrid Protocol, which was concluded on June 27, 1989, and came into operation on April 1, 1996. On October 31, 2015, the Madrid System was transformed, for all practical purposes, into a one-treaty system when the Madrid Protocol came into force in Algeria, the last remaining member of the Madrid System to have signed up to the Agreement only.

Another significant development of the Madrid System relates to its working languages. In addition to French, the original working language of the System, the Madrid System also operates in English (since 1996) and Spanish (since 2004), thereby reducing translation costs and delays for users. This focus on convenience is also found in the Madrid System’s centralized fee payment and portfolio management structure, which streamlines transactions right holders may need to perform throughout the lifecycle of their registration, including renewals and changes of address or ownership.

Infographic, Madrid: 125 Years of Protecting Trademarks Abroad
(Image: WIPO)

Looking to the future     

Madrid System operations continue to evolve, enhancing along the way the availability and effectiveness of electronic tools users of the System can refer to for information or in order to communicate with the Madrid Registry. Starting with electronic access to the International Register through the ROMARIN CD-ROM first released in 1992, E-Services – such as E-Renewal (since 2006), Madrid Real-Time Status (since 2010), Madrid Portfolio Manager (since 2012), and E-Subsequent Designation (since 2014) – have made it increasingly easy for users to track and manage their international trademark registrations. These services have paved the way for E-Madrid, an initiative that will be rolled out in the coming months to enhance our customers’ online experience through new and improved E-Services.

Infographic, Madrid: Still Evolving
(Image: WIPO)

In years to come, responding to new business needs, expanding geographical reach and continuously improving efficiency in the administration of the Madrid System will continue to be the cornerstones of this evolution.

Questions or comments?