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Industrial property: EC joins international trademark treaty

European Commission - IP/04/771   21/06/2004

Other available languages: FR DE

IP/04/771

Brussels, 21st June 2004

Industrial property: EC joins international trademark treaty

The European Community is submitting today to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol on the international registration of trademarks. It is the first time that the EC as such accedes to a WIPO treaty. This link will allow businesses to benefit from the advantages of the Community Trademark through the Madrid Protocol system and vice-versa, which will simplify procedures, reduce the costs for international protection and make administration easier.

Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein welcomed the accession of the EC and said: “European businesses will now be able to obtain and protect their trademarks internationally in a simple, affordable and effective way, as they have wanted for some time. At the same time this should further stimulate trade and innovation, create new commercial opportunities and boost integration within the EU Internal Market.”

The accession of the EC to the Madrid Protocol will establish a link between the Madrid Protocol system, which is administered by WIPO, and the Community Trademark system, which is administered by the Office of Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante (Spain), to which all applications for Community Trademarks are submitted.

As soon as the accession enters into force on 1 October 2004, Community Trademark applicants and holders will be allowed to apply for international protection of their trademarks through the filing of an international application under the Madrid Protocol. Conversely, holders of international registrations under the Madrid Protocol will be entitled to apply for protection of their trademarks under the Community trademark system.
The Madrid Protocol covers over sixty countries, including for example Switzerland, Russia, China, the United States, Japan and Australia (for a full list please see http://www.wipo.int/madrid/en/geninf.html).
Holders of Community Trademarks will therefore now be able to obtain protection for their trademarks in those countries through the OHIM. Once OHIM has established that an application to that effect has indeed been filed for registration as a Community Trademark, it will transmit to WIPO the applicant’s requests to extend protection to the countries designated in the application. WIPO will then publish the international trademark in its International Gazette and notify the international registration to the relevant national authorities.
The Madrid Protocol entered into force on 1 December 1995. It became operational on 1 April 1996.
The Community Trademark system became operational on the same date and provides for the acquisition of protection for marks with unitary effect for the whole territory of the European Community, on the basis of the filing of a single application for their registration as Community Trademarks.
In January 2003 the Commission presented a proposal to modify and simplify the system for granting Community Trademarks (see IP/03/77), which was adopted by the Council in February 2004.

For further information, please consult the following websites:
http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/en/indprop/tm/index.htm
http://www.ohmi.eu.int/en/mark/madrid/
http://www.wipo.int/madrid/en/


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