Two new States have just joined the Madrid Union, which increase to 87 the total number of contracting parts to the Madrid system.
The accession of Colombia to the Madrid Protocol took place on 29th May 2012 and enters into effect on 29th August 2012. This way, right holders will be able to protect their marks on the territory through an international mark designating Colombia. A posterior designation is also feasible, even if the international mark is anterior to the accession of Colombia. The deadline to notify a provisional protection refusal is extended to 18 months and the notification of a provisional refusal based on an objection could intervene after the expiration of the 18-month deadline.
The Philippines have filed their instrument of accession to the Protocol to WIPO on 25th April 2013, making this effective on 25th July 2012. Contrary to Colombia, an international trademark registered before the accession of the Philippines to the Protocol will not be subject to an extension with respect to them. This way, only the international trademarks registered after the 25th July 2012 may designate the Philippines. Like Colombia, the deadline to notify a provisional refusal of protection is from now of 18 months.
The accession of Colombia could mark a major turning point in the History of the international trademark. Indeed, Colombia is the first country of Latin America to take part to the Madrid system. It is likely that other countries from South America follow this trend, like Mexico, whose Senate has recently adopt a law authorizing a future accession to Madrid Union. Discussions are ongoing in the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) for a possible accession.
From the creation of the Madrid Protocol in 1989, the number of contracting parts to the Madrid system is rising steadily, facilitating the international trademark protection of right holders. These recent accessions show again the interest for the Madrid system and the vitality of the international trademark.
It would be a pity not to benefit from it!