1st November 2023 hails an important, and welcome, change to the Madrid System for registering trade marks.

The Madrid System is a useful and cost-effective way of expanding trade mark protection into a number of territories.  After filing centrally at the International Bureau “WIPO”, the application is passed to the designated national offices who then examine under their local laws.  The subsequent examination reports that are issued can, however, cause difficulties to applicants where the deadline to respond is either unclear or very short.  Where a failure to respond can lead to loss of rights this can be a serious problem.

Today marks a significant change in making the system easier and more user friendly. 

Clearer deadlines

Either national offices must now clearly indicate in the examination reports (notifications of provisional refusal) the start and end dates of the time limit to file a response (in cases where such a time limit starts on a date other than the date on which WIPO transmits a copy of the notification to the applicant) or WIPO must specify the dates when sending the notification to the applicant. This means the date of the deadline will now be clearly notified to the applicant.

Minimum time to respond

A further welcome development is the introduction of a minimum time limit to respond to a provisional refusal.  Applicants must now be provided with a minimum time limit of two months, or 60 consecutive calendar days, to file a response.

These are welcome changes and ensure the system continues to be an attractive and useful method of protecting a trade mark globally.

 WIPO Announcement MADRID/2023/26: https://www.wipo.int/edocs/madrdocs/en/2023/madrid_2023_26.pdf