The Qingdao Phenomenon: Madrid System Use Linked to Economic Growth

September 5, 2017

This morning, WIPO and the Qingdao Municipal People’s Government announced the publication of a joint study on use of the Madrid System to promote economic development in Qingdao, China.


The Qingdao Phenomenon

In July 2011, WIPO and the Qingdao Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to carry out a joint study on use of the Madrid System in China to promote local economic development. As China’s emerging “brand capital” and a national base for innovative high-tech marine and port industries, Qingdao City provides an interesting case study on the most effective way to protect trademarks abroad.

The study was carried out during China’s 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) between 2011 and 2015. Qingdao’s total cumulative exports grew 2 percentage points higher than the national average (to USD 45.917 billion), despite regional economic downturns experienced during this period.

By the end of 2015, international applications filed under the Madrid System in Qingdao experienced a remarkable increase, rising to 1,836 filings during the five-year study period (compared to just 59 filings between 2006 and 2011). Over 800 applications were filed in 2015 alone, representing nearly 35 percent of total filings from China and a staggering 88.15 percent of applications from Shandong Province.

This notable increase in applications under the Madrid System alongside parallel growth in economic development was dubbed the “Qingdao Phenomenon”.

The study: key findings and conclusions

The study, which will be supplemented by a video highlighting the key lessons learned and and a case study featuring local enterprises and individuals, identified three principal limitations affecting international trademark registration in Qingdao:

  • Awareness of the importance of trademarks in international commerce;
  • Breadth of government support for international trademark registration; and
  • Level of expertise among trademark agencies.

Results from the Qingdao case study demonstrate how a targeted promotional, educational, and incentive-based program can overcome these limitations, giving rise to remarkable growth in international trademark applications under the Madrid System alongside parallel economic expansion. 

  • Summary of the report, including a more in-depth look at the strategies used by the Qingdao Government to overcome barriers to international trademark registration PDF, Summary of the report