|October 1, 2012|
Previously published by B&R Latin America IP Blog.
Finally, after much anticipation from the national and international IP community, the Madrid Protocol is in force in Colombia. The first South American country to enter the Madrid System and the second in Latin America after Cuba. The Colombian PTO, the Superintendency for Industry and Commerce, has marked this day by holding a conference on the implementation of the protocol with representatives from WIPO, the INTA, the ACPI -Colombia’s IP Association- the USPTO and the OEPM -Spain’s PTO-.
The entrance into force of the Madrid Protocol makes possible:
-The filing of applications for international registration of trademarks for Colombian citizens, applicants domiciled in Colombia and businesses with branches in Colombia.
-The designation of Colombia in international applications filed in any of the 86 countries that currently belong to the Madrid Protocol.
Many of the details of how the procedure will work were discussed at the conference, and feedback from the experience of the USPTO and the OEPM was valuable for setting standards for assessing the success in the implementation of the Protocol. The Colombian PTO said it was ready to start procedures under the protocol, and provided some basic information, such as the formats, languages and filing requirements that will be special for procedures in Colombia.
As explained in previous posts, Madrid’s international registrations are notably cheap, and the leading world economies are already members to the Protocol. Colombian entrepreneurs can easily and for very low costs protect their valuable trademarks in the American, Chinese, European and many other major markets. Early estimates predict that the protection of a trademark in the US and China will probably cost the Colombian user an average of USD$2000 (or $4million Colombian pesos), a small amount when compared with the traditional costs of hiring attorneys in these countries and conducting their national registration procedures. That’s why IP-aware entrepreneurs and investors should take this valuable opportunity for expanding their IP protection and consequently the international reach of their businesses.
However, as pointed out by the president of the Colombian Intellectual Property Association -ACPI- the Madrid Protocol is yet to be approved by almost all countries in Latin America. In practice, this means that the markets where more than half of Colombian exports are sold won’t be covered by the Madrid Protocol. This unfortunate situation has been addressed by representatives from WIPO and the Colombian PTO, stating that the goal is to make Colombia the leading country in Madrid procedures, creating regional pressure for updating IP regulation to international standards, such as the Protocol.
Find more information on the Madrid Protocol at the B&R Latina Blog.