On September 10th, the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization announced the deposit by the New Zealand government of its accession to the Protocol relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks.
The Madrid System, established by the Madrid Arrangement of 1891 and the Madrid Protocol of 1989, offers a Mark holder the possibility of obtaining protection for his Mark in several countries by making a single application for registration at a national office (such as INPI in France) or a regional one (such as OHMI). This system enables a significant reduction in the costs incurred by multiple applications for national Mark registration.
In a further development, the time limit to exercise the right to notify a refusal of protection was extended from one year to eighteen months, as is the case in the United Kingdom. However, the island of Tokelau, although an integral part of New Zealand’s territory, was not included in the agreement. Only by consultation, made compulsory by the constitutional status of the island and the commitment of the Government of New Zealand to the development of self-government for Tokelau, could such accession be agreed.
The Madrid Protocol will enter into force, with respect to New Zealand, on December 10th, 2012. From that moment on, New Zealand will be available for an International trademark’s filling.