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Multinational Registration of Trademarks in the Indian Perspective

Trademarks are a key element of any successful business marketing strategy as directories them to identify, promote and license their services or goods in the marketplace and in addition to distinguish these from associated with us their competitors, thereby cementing customer loyalty. A trademark symbolizes the promise of a quality product and in the modern global and increasingly electronic marketplace, a trademark is often the only way for customers to identify a company's products and services. Trademark protection hinders moves to "free ride" on the goodwill of a company by using similar distinctive signs to market inferior or similar products or services. Loss, dilution or infringement of a high-value trademark could prove devastating to a business.

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is a specialised agency of the United nations (UN) which oversees task of international registration of trademarks through Madrid Process.

Although it is unrealistic to obtain an 'international trademark', whereby a single trademark registration will automatically apply around the world, the Madrid system permits the filing, registration and maintenance of trade mark rights in more than one jurisdiction on a global basis.

Background-

The Madrid will be administered by the International Bureau of the planet Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva, Europe. The Madrid system comprises two treaties; the Madrid Agreement In connection with the International Registration of Marks, which was concluded in 1891 and entered into force in 1892, and the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement, which came into operation on 1 April 1996. The Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol were adopted at diplomatic conferences held in Madrid, Spain.

Recent Developments-

There are many significant recent developments trademarks Law Vis a Vis Madrid system. The accession of United States and European Union to Madrid Protocol on 2nd November 2003 and 1st October 2004 respectively is considered as vital development.

A record 36,471 international trademarks applications were received in 2006 by wipo under Madrid circle. This represents 8.6% increase on figures procedure for assignment of Trademark in India 2005.

No. Of developing countries witnessed significant growth in international trademarks filing in 2006.China is the most preferred designation for international protection because of your ever growing economy and trade potential customers.

WIPO also promotes use of electronic communication for processing of international software pacakages. In April 2006, WIPO introduced a new online international trademarks renewal service enabling users to maintain their trademarks rights quickly and efficiently, about 22% renewals recorded electronically.

A number of latest improvements, including new search facilities, were also introduced towards ROMARIN database containing information regarding all international marks which have been currently in force in the international trademark register. As from January 1, 2007, the ROMARIN data base was made available, free-of-charge, over a WIPO web portal.

Indian Perspective-

India is also considering and is certainly inclined towards granting accession to the Madrid system. India is beginning to realize the various primary advantages of acceding to the Madrid System, gather that, the applicant for an International registration is needed file only one application, pay one fee in local currency, and is not needed at least initially, to submit foreign powers of attorney. Renewals, assignment recorders, changes of name and/or address of a world registration may have filing one document with the International Bureau. Moreover, the payment of any filing fee and preparation of in one application should cause savings in legal service fees.

India has said that it would join the Madrid System after making due preparations, including modernisation of its trademark offices. Investment and action in this direction should be expedited and Indian providers of goods and services enabled to a lot more than system without further delay. It needs to be noted that the Madrid System does not prevent trademark owners from routing their application through the IP offices of member-countries other than their own. If India does not accede to the system early, Indian businesses may be instructed to put in their international applications from the IP offices of third countries by setting up minimal operations prescribed for this function.