Member States Agree Basic Text for Revised TLT, Consider Singapore Offer to Host Diplomatic Conference

Geneva, April 28, 2005
Press Updates UPD/2005/248

Efforts to revise a key international treaty in the field of trademarks made significant headway as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) agreed on a text to be proposed as a basis for negotiations at the Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of the Revised Trademark Law Treaty (TLT), which will be convened in March 2006. Also, at a two–day session of the Preparatory Meeting for the Diplomatic Conference, Singapore made an official offer to host the diplomatic conference on the revision of the TLT, which is meant to revise the existing Trademark Law Treaty bringing it in line with the technological advances of the past decade. The SCT, which met from April 18 to 22, 2005, was attended by 79 member states, 3 intergovernmental organizations and 11 non-governmental organizations. The Preparatory meeting met on April 25 & 26, 2005.

Basic Proposal for the Revised Trademark Law Treaty

The Trademark Law Treaty (TLT) was concluded in 1994 with a view to streamlining and simplifying, on a worldwide basis, administrative procedures relating to national and regional trademark applications and the maintenance of trademark registrations. The TLT currently has 33 member countries. Companies seeking trademark protection must, as a first step, meet certain formality requirements in order to avoid rejection of their application and a consequent loss of rights. These formalities generally vary from one country to another and the TLT has successfully introduced standard requirements to be followed in procedures before trademark offices.

In order to keep pace with developments in telecommunication and to create an institutional framework allowing the adaptation of certain administrative details regulated under the treaty, the revision of the TLT envisages the inclusion into the treaty of provisions on electronic filing of trademark applications and associated communications, the formalities concerning the representation of all types of marks, including visible signs (and certain forms of visible signs, such as hologram marks, color marks, position marks or motion marks) as well as non-visible signs, provisions concerning the recording of trademark licenses, relief measures when certain time limits have been missed, and the establishment of an assembly of the contracting parties.

The SCT agreed on a "basic proposal" to be presented at the diplomatic conference, which will be held from March 3 to 31, 2006. The absence from the basic proposal of text between square brackets or alternative texts for certain provisions, indicates consensus among member states.

Preparations for the Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of a Revised TLT

A preparatory meeting for the diplomatic conference for the adoption of a revised Trademark Law Treaty adopted the provisional rules of procedure for the diplomatic conference. It also decided that member states of WIPO, and certain inter-governmental organizations, namely, the European Community, the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) should be invited to the diplomatic conference as member delegations. Member states of the UN who are not members of WIPO, as well as all organizations having permanent observer status with WIPO, and all observers to the SCT should be invited as observer delegations.

The meeting noted with gratitude an offer made by the Government of Singapore to host the diplomatic conference. As the WIPO General Assembly had already decided in September 2004 that Geneva would be the venue for the conference, the meeting agreed to defer this question to the forthcoming WIPO General Assembly in September 2005, with a view to reaching a decision on the proposal from Singapore.

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