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International Trademark Registrations Top One Million

Geneva, May 11, 2009

The number of international trademark registrations topped the one million mark when Austrian “eco” company Grüne Erde, which specializes in natural wood, textile and cosmetic products, registered its mark this month under the WIPO-administered Madrid system for the international registration of marks.  

Trademark registrations often mirror evolving consumer tastes as companies work to strengthen their market position. In this case, the millionth trademark registration is a “green” brand, reflecting a growing environmental awareness among the general public and the business community. 

“Trademarks and the branding efforts they support help consumers make informed choices about the products they buy,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “They are extremely valuable commercial assets. WIPO’s international trademark registration system is a cost-effective, user-friendly and streamlined means by which businesses operating internationally can protect and manage their trademark portfolio.”  

Grüne Erde founder and Managing Director Reinhard Kepplinger said the company is “delighted” to be registered as the millionth international trademark. “We have found that the Madrid system offers an easy and inexpensive way for our company to register its trademark internationally,” he said. Kepplinger added that Grüne Erde, which employs more than 300 people, is tangible proof that “it is possible to create an ecologically-aware company that is highly successful within the marketplace.” The company produces and sells a range of some 5000 products made from natural materials including furniture, textiles and cosmetics.  

The increasingly rapid growth of the Madrid system over the last two decades reflects the increased internationalization of trade and broader recognition of the commercial importance of trademarks.  After the first international trademark was registered in 1893 by Swiss Chocolate-maker Russ-Suchard & Company, it took some 93 years to reach the 500,000th mark, registered in 1986 by Sandoz AG of Switzerland (now owned by BASF SE of Germany). The 750,000th mark was registered 15 years later in 2001 by microTec Gesellschaft für Mikrotechnologie mbH of Germany. The 900,000th international trademark was registered five years later in 2006 by a Chinese company, Chaozhou Fengxi Jinbaichuan Porcelain Crafts Factory, with the millionth mark registered just three years later.

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