Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Whither Madrid in SE Asia?

South East Asian countries have long debated whether to join regional trademark systems. At one point there was serious talk of an ASEAN TM office. Indonesia claimed it should host it due to its large consumer market, but Singapore wanted it to confirm its regional base credibility.  Thailand and Philippines considered they should host a regional patent office. But Singapore broke ranks and joined Madrid first after it became clear no agrement would come about.

According to the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint, SE Asian nations are to implement the Madrid Protocol by 2015. Until now, only Singapore and Vietnam have acceded to the Protocol.

Vietnam in fact has been a member of the Madrid Agreement since March 8, 1949, a legacy of its French colonial history. But Madrid use in Vietnam was generally confined to a few European companies, and few Vietnamese used it given the country's previous lack of international expansion. So more recently Vietnam joined the Protocol as part of its WTO accession track in 2006.

In the Philippines IP Komodo's friend Laxmi Rosell reports that the IP Director General during the recent stakeholders’ meeting announced  that the IP Office's recommendation for accession to the Madrid Protocol is being submitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs in mid 2011.

Thailand’s Director-General of the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) announced that Thailand aims to become a contracting party to the Protocol by 2012.

Indonesia's draft trademark law contains provisions relating to Madrid implementation but at present the bill is in draft form, and may not pass this legislative term before the elections in 2013.

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