Trademark Deal Languishes – Brief Article
An international plan to make trademarks easier to secure and renew abroad still awaits U.S. adoption, after Congress failed to act on the measure in its last session. The trademark agreement, part of the Madrid Protocol, would simplify the trademark registration process, making it easier and less costly to protect intellectual property.
Trademark enforcement has become an increasingly contentious issue as competition in the global marketplace heats up, and the Madrid Protocol promises some administrative relief for both small companies and multinationals. Instead of filing a form in each country (which involves enlisting the aid of a local lawyer, filing in the local language, and paying in the local currency), an individual or company would be able to file one form, pay one fee, and simply check off other countries in which it would like to apply. Keeping track of multiple renewal deadlines would be a thing of the past.
Moreover, companies would save more than 60 percent in filing fees, says Bruce MacPherson, director, external relations, and group coordinator of the International Trademark Association. In addition, he says, the Madrid Protocol “is the only system that requires countries to act on international applications in 18 months.”
However, an application will not always be approved, even in a country that subscribes to the protocol, says Clark Lackert, a partner in Nims, Howes, Collison, Hansen & Lackert,a New York law firm.
It is likely backers will have to wait until Congress reconvenes in January before the matter can be taken up again.
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