The number of countries and regions joining the international system for trademark registration on the basis of the Madrid Agreement and its Protocol, continues to grow. Malawi is the latest country to deposit an instrument of accession with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which comes into force on 25 December 2018.
The international system for trademark registration (also known as the Madrid System) makes it possible to request trademark protection in one or more member states of the Madrid System by filing one application at WIPO in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Madrid System dates back to the ‘Madrid Agreement’ of 1891 and has been expanded with the ‘Madrid Protocol' in 1996. Since the accession of Algeria to the Protocol in October 2015, all international trademark registrations are exclusively governed by the Madrid Protocol, making the Madrid Agreement essentially a non-operational treaty.
Malawi is the 102nd member of the Madrid System. After Malawi’s accession the Madrid System will cover 118 countries in total, including the EU member states and the three countries of the Benelux.
That more and more countries and regions can be designated in an international trademark registration makes it increasingly appealing for businesses to apply for an international registration. For an analysis of the pros and cons of the Madrid System, see 'International trademarks: Is the Madrid System right for you?'.
When the outlet of your business focuses on several countries or when it is about to enter new markets, it is important to determine whether your interests are sufficiently protected in those countries and regions. For advice on the international registration and further information on trademark protection in Malawi, please speak to your Novagraaf consultant or contact us below.
Frouke Hekker works at Novagraaf’s Competence Centre. She is based in Amsterdam.