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Madrid System set to expand

In the past month the Madrid System for international trademark registration received a big boost with the Philippines joining in April and Colombia and Mexico on the cusp of becoming members

On March 28, the Constitutional Court in Colombia ruled that the law approving the country's accession was enforceable, removing the last hurdle to accession. An official was later quoted as saying the instrument of accession would be deposited with WIPO in June. Designations would then become available three months later.

On April 25, the Mexican Senate unanimously voted to approve the legislation that will allow it to join. And the following week the Philippines said it had deposited its instrument of accession with WIPO.

The last countries to join the Madrid System were Israel and Kazakhstan in 2010, and before that Liberia in 2009 and Madagascar in 2008. More important is that Colombia would be the first country other than Cuba to accede in Latin America, which has long been the biggest regional gap in the Madrid system. Countries such as Argentina and Brazil might then be encouraged to accelerate their legislative processes to join the treaty to which their neighbors and trading partners have become parties.

Mexico also is significant given the size of its economy. "Mexico is a G20 country so its membership would be a big step for Madrid," said Laura Cruz, External Relations Manager, Latin America at INTA. "There are also positive signs in the Dominican Republic, and Peru is interested too. We are seeing a trend in the region of governments opening up markets to encourage global trade, and recognizing how the Madrid Protocol can support that."

WIPO will hold its annual Madrid System Users Meeting tomorrow morning from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm in Room 103 AB, with a representative from the Philippines flying in to discuss its recent accession. In a newly expanded session, there will also be more time to ask questions of the three other invited offices—Egypt, Switzerland and the EU.

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