There were a lot of important topics being discussed at the INTA Annual Meeting in Dallas last week, including what do you think about the gTLD expansion? Who was wearing red-soled shoes? How can I get a photo with those cheerleaders (right)? And of course what really happened at Dealey Plaza, just across from the host OMNI hotel, back in 1963?
But one question above all was grabbing attention: the latest developments with the Madrid Protocol. With the recent accessions of Colombia, India, Mexico and New Zealand, the international trade mark system now has 90 members and covers two-thirds of the world’s population (see map below). There are also rumours that countries such as Brazil and even Canada are readying to join the party.
For users of the system, whose numbers are also increasing, the growth in member states is welcome. In recognition of this, last week INTA President Toe Su Aung signed an agreement with the Mexico IP office on Madrid implementation. As one attendee said to me: “We’ve been speculating about when these countries will join for years. Now it’s actually happening.”
But the expansion of the Madrid system also raises questions about how, if at all, the system needs to develop. Are the fees and timelines right? Should a basic mark still be required? Can offices and WIPO be more efficient? Is there enough information, and is it the right sort? Are IT systems and e-communication up to scratch?
In our next issue, we will have a special feature on Madrid, including lots of statistics and interviews with the key people at WIPO and in the countries that have recently acceded. But we also want to know what users (applicants and trade mark owners) think. Are you happy with the Madrid system? What changes, if any, would you like to see?
We’ve set up a discussion on LinkedIn where you can post your views this week. If you don’t use LinkedIn, feel free to comment on this post. We’ll follow up on the comments with interviews with trade mark owners, attorneys and lawyers on any particularly interesting points and try to reflect them fairly in the article, which will be published next month.