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WIPO Welcomes Accession by U.S. to Madrid System

Geneva, August 5, 2003
Press Releases PR/2003/349

The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Kamil Idris, has welcomed the accession by the United States of America to the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, a pact that greatly facilitates and reduces the costs for the registration of trademarks in multiple countries.

"The U.S. accession to this key treaty is an important and positive development for both U.S. trademark holders as well as nationals of other countries that are party to the Madrid Protocol and opens up new commercial opportunities for all concerned," Dr. Idris said. "The accession of the United States to this agreement will make the system of international trademark registration more inclusive and will offer businesses and individuals in both the United States and elsewhere a simple, affordable and efficient way of obtaining and maintaining their trademarks," the Director General added.

The Protocol will enter into force in respect of the U.S. on November 2, 2003.

The Madrid system gives a trademark owner the possibility to have his mark protected in several countries by simply filing one application, in one language, with one set of fees in one currency (Swiss francs). An international registration produces the same effects as an application for registration of the mark made in each of the countries designated by the applicant. If protection is not refused by the trademark office of a designated country, the protection of the mark is the same as if it had been registered by that office. The system provides a cost-effective and efficient way for trademark holders to ensure protection for their marks in multiple countries through the filing of a single application.

The Madrid system is governed by two treaties: the Madrid Agreement, dating from 1891 and revised several times since then, and the Madrid Protocol, which came into operation in 1996, introducing some new features into the system to address difficulties that had impeded adherence by certain countries. A country may adhere to either the Agreement or to the Protocol or to both.

Trademarks are signs to distinguish the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. They also serve as an indication of quality and are of significant and growing economic importance. The protection available by registering a trademark ensures the exclusive right to use it to identify the owner's goods or services, or to authorize another party, usually through a license or franchise, to use it in return for payment.

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