The Madrid Protocol is an International Treaty which allows trade mark owners
to seek protection in any of the countries that have signed the protocol by
filing single application to the World Intellectual Property Organisation ("WIPO").
On 1 October 2004 the EC became a party to the Madrid Protocol with the effect
of establishing a link between the CTM system and the international trademark
registration system administered by WIPO.
The consequence of EC accession is two-fold. CTM Trademark owners will now
be able to extend protection internationally by using their CTM as a foundation
mark for an international application and it is also now possible to designate
the EC in an international application which has the same effect as applying
for a CTM.
Upon making a Madrid application to WIPO the application is examined and then
once WIPO is satisfied, it is forwarded to the offices of the individual members
designated. The application is then examined again and each member has 18 months
to notify WIPO of any objection.
The collaboration between the two systems is to be welcomed and does much
to simplify the procedure of obtaining trademark protection in multiple jurisdictions
and businesses are likely to enjoy savings triggered by less administration.