Mexico is the latest country to join the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks, which now boasts 89 members. The addition is good news for trademark owners because the Madrid system makes it possible to register a mark in several territories through one procedure.
Two international treaties, the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol, govern the system, which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Madrid Protocol will enter into force with respect to Mexico on February 19, 2013.
As highlighted by the WIPO, the Madrid system is gaining traction with trademark owners and the global community. Philippines, Colombia, and New Zealand also joined the system this year. In 2011, 42,270 international trademark applications were filed under the Madrid system, which was the highest number to date and a 6.5 % increase compared to 2010.
For trademark owners, the Madrid system does offer several advantages. It allows trademark owners to file one single application to secure trademark protection in several different countries. Thus, it also avoids the need comply with different national procedural rules and pay several different fees.
Renewal is also less cumbersome under the Madrid system. The required fees need only be paid, every 10 years, to the International Bureau of WIPO rather than several national offices. Similarly, if the international registration is assigned to a third party or any other change, such as a change in name and/or address, occurs, it only needs to be recorded once with the WIPO.
However, there are disadvantages associated with using the Madrid system that need to be considered when deciding how to protect a mark overseas.