Top Officials to Open Diplomatic Conference to Revise Key Trademark Treaty in Singapore

Geneva, March 13, 2006
Press Releases PR/2006/438

A major conference to revise a key international treaty in the field of trademarks, convened by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), opens today in Singapore in the presence of top officials. The three-week conference will be formally launched by WIPO Director General, Dr. Kamil Idris, in the presence of Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Law, Professor S. Jayakumar. High-ranking diplomatic delegations from the 183 WIPO member states, many led by senior officials, as well as observer delegations representing the branded goods industry and the trademark profession, will be attending the conference.

Singapore is the first country in Asia to host an intellectual property (IP) Diplomatic Conference, signifying the Republic's commitment in contributing to the development of an international IP framework.

The Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of a Revised Trademark Law Treaty (TLT) is expected to conclude with the adoption of a new international treaty of particular significance for brand-owners.

"Trademarks are prime business assets through which brand ownership is ascertained. As trademark rights are secured through registration, it is important to have harmonized rules in this area," said Dr. Idris. "By agreeing to common standards, member states establish greater certainty and this will bring down transaction costs for all economic operators that are seeking to protect their brands." Dr. Idris added, "Brands are powerful symbols that influence consumer choices and affect investment. Successful brands, underpinned by trademark protection, are a signal of a company's ability to deliver on a promise."

"There is a common understanding among all WIPO member states concerning the importance of expeditious trademark registration procedures applicable to all types of trademarks," Dr. Idris said. The Director General noted, "The revised Trademark Law Treaty will contribute to enhancing legal security for intangible assets as member states commit to adopting simplified and internationally harmonized administrative rules for trademark protection."

"It is part of WIPO's mission to help shape a business environment conducive to investment in creative industries, including the branded goods industry. Reducing transaction costs by eliminating red tape in administrative procedures is a great incentive for international as well as domestic businesses to develop and actively market their brands."

Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Law Professor S. Jayakumar said, "Being the first in Asia, this Diplomatic Conference is significant not just for Singapore, but for the region as well. For Singapore, it marks a high point for our intellectual property journey and our efforts to make Singapore an IP-friendly location. We thank WIPO and its member states for giving Singapore the honour to host this Diplomatic Conference. This is a sign of our commitment to contribute to the further development of an international intellectual property (IP) framework that will benefit IP users, innovators and IP-intensive businesses globally."

Dr. Idris expressed his personal gratitude to the Government of Singapore for its generosity in hosting this major international conference. He said, "Not only is this a sign of the generosity of Singapore and its people, it is a reflection of Singapore's commitment to IP protection. Singapore is a model in this area."

Delegations representing the 183 WIPO member states as well as a number of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are invited to participate in the conference. The proposed revision of the Trademark Law Treaty, which deals mainly with procedural aspects of trademark registration and licensing, will help to ensure that brand owners using the trademark system benefit from greater flexibilities and efficiencies in the delivery of trademark registration services. It will also bring the existing Trademark Law Treaty in line with the technological advances of the past decade.

BACKGROUND ON THE 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 to clear and register trademarks or to license their brands must, as a first step, meet certain formal registration 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 telecommunications and to create an institutional framework allowing the adaptation of certain administrative details regulated under the treaty, the revision of the TLT envisages provisions on electronic filing of trademark applications and associated communications. Registration formalities on 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 on the recording of trademark licenses, relief measures when certain time limits have been missed, and the establishment of an assembly of the contracting parties are further new elements of the proposed treaty.

Negotiations leading up to the diplomatic conference have been held under the auspices of WIPO's Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) and have resulted in a text that will be submitted to the Singapore meeting.

Discussions at the diplomatic conference will be based on a "basic proposal" (all documents available at https://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/details.jsp?meeting_id=6982). The preparatory work for the conference has shown a good degree of consensus among member states on the text of the proposed treaty.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations and Public Affairs Section at WIPO:

  • Tel: (+41 22) 338 81 61 or (+41 22) 338 95 47;
  • E-mail: publicinf@wipo.int
  • Fax: (+41 22) 338 82 80.
  • or Ms Radha S-Khoo, Ministry of Law, Singapore at +65 6332 4594 or +65 9876 3458 or radha_s-khoo@mlaw.gov.sg