Pakistan joins Madrid system to protect trademarks

SLAMABAD: In a major development, Pakistan has formally joined the Madrid System to protect Pakistani trademarks in 124 member countries making it easier and effective for brand owners to get protection in export markets.

With the accession to the Madrid Protocol, the trademark holders of Pakistan will be able to protect their trademarks in the member countries by filing a single application at World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) whereby facilitating ease of doing business.

On Feb 24, Pakistan deposited its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol with WIPO’s Director General, making it the 108th member of the Madrid System, an official announcement of the WIPO said.

Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations Ambassador Khalil-ur-Rehman Hashmi deposited the instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol with WIPO Director General Daren Tang in Geneva.
Effective May 24, local brand owners in Pakistan can begin using the Madrid System to protect their trademarks in the 123 territories of the system’s other 107 members by filing a single international application and paying a single set of fees.

In a video message on the sidelines of the deposition of accession instrument, Mr Tang said Pakistan based brands like spices giant Shan Food or fashion house Khaadi, with its distinct hand-woven kurtas will find it easier and cheaper to get protection in export markets.

Mr Daren said SMES and entrepreneurs in Pakistan will also benefit from the Madrid system’s simple registration systems, as well as individuals such as cricket stars or other Pakistani personalities whose personal brand is known around the world.

“For those interested in bringing their brands into a huge Pakistan market of over 200 million, the Madrid System will make it easier for them to enter and scale into Pakistan as it has for other members of the Madrid family. With its accession to Madrid, Pakistan has taken an important step in supporting its brand owners, entrepreneurs and enterprises as well as further strengthening its IP ecosystem, the DG WIPO said.

With its straightforward designation process, foreign companies and trademark owners can, from May 24, seek trademark protection through the Madrid System, when selling their products and services in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s accession spotlights the Madrid System’s emergence as a key component of protecting marks globally, offering a convenient and cost-effective solution for brand owners worldwide and in the South Asian region.

An official announcement Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO-Pakistan) issued said that the business community of other countries will also be able to get protection of their Trademarks in Pakistan by using Madrid route.

Ambassador Hashmi said that Pakistan has several international brands in several sectors, whether it is fashion, hospitality management food and so on and so forth. So with this accession to the Madrid protocol, that allows them the opportunity to expand their outreach throughout the world. He said it will also incentivises them so that they are able to protect their brands but also expand their businesses.

“I see it as also a win-win proposition as Asia is a fast-growing region within that Pakistan’s economy is also growing”, he said, adding so that it gives an opportunity to also foreign brands, foreign trademark holders, to come to Pakistan to invest and take advantage of the opportunities that exist there.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2021

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