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LDCs to Benefit from Reduced International Trademark Registration Fees

Geneva, September 30, 2005
Press Releases PR/2005/423

Member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) attending the annual WIPO Assemblies approved today a proposal to reduce the costs for applicants from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to file applications for international trademark protection, making the fee ten percent of that normally charged.

The Special Union for the International Registration of Marks (Madrid Union) decided on the fee reduction to promote greater use of the international trademark system by LDCs. At present, seven LDCs are party to the Madrid System, namely, Bhutan, Lesotho, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Zambia. The Madrid system for the international registration of trademarks enables trademark owners to obtain and maintain trademark protection internationally more easily and cost-effectively.

The proposed fee reduction would bring the basic fee payable to WIPO down to 10% of the current amounts of 653 or 903 Swiss francs. This means that the amount payable to WIPO by applicants from LDCs would become 65 or 90 Swiss francs, depending on whether the reproduction of the mark is in black and white or in color. This fee reduction will take effect from January 1, 2006.

The international trademark system administered by WIPO allows a trademark owner the possibility of having a mark protected in up to 76 countries and the European Community (EC) by filing one application, in one language, with one set of fees, in one currency (Swiss francs). Thereafter, the international registration can be maintained and renewed through a single procedure. An international registration under the Madrid System produces the same effects as an application for registration of the mark in each of the contracting parties designated by the applicant. If protection is not refused by the trademark office of a designated contracting party, the status of the mark is the same as if it had been registered by that office. In other words, the system provides a cost-effective and efficient way for trademark holders to secure protection for their marks in multiple countries through the filing of a single application.

The system is governed by two international treaties, namely the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol. The Madrid Protocol which became operational in 1996 introduced several features including the ability to submit applications in English and extend the period for notification of a refusal which made the system more flexible and attractive to a larger number of countries. Applicants may now submit applications in three working languages of the system, namely, English, French and Spanish.

For further information please contact the Media Relations and Public Affairs Section at (+ 41 22) 338 81 61, 338 95 47 Fax: (+41 22) 338 82 80, E-mail: publicinf@wipo.int.