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Making International Brand Protection Easier For ASEAN Businesses

7 November 2013

SINGAPORE, 7 November 2013 - Regional brand owners will be one step closer to easier and potentially cheaper international trademark protection, following a series of information dissemination seminars, including for the Philippines and Viet Nam to promote the use of the Madrid Protocol. In addition, a training for Madrid Protocol examiners was recently organized jointly with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for Intellectual Property (IP) Officers from the ASEAN Member States (AMS) on Madrid regulations and procedures from 4-7 November in Singapore.

These events are part of an ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Economic Cooperation Work Programme (EWCP) supported the project which aims to prepare and assist the AMS to accede to the Madrid Protocol.

Mr Tan Yih San, Chair of the ASEAN Working Group on IP Cooperation said, the Madrid Protocol will enable brand owners to file a single application in one language directly with his or her own national trademark office and use the application to seek protection in all other important markets. Further, he said that this time-efficient framework will enhance brand protection efforts in ASEAN and allow brand owners to focus on building brand reputation through effective trade.

Through this comprehensive project, participating countries have benefited from consultation fora to raise awareness of the benefits of the Madrid Protocol for the business community, as well as clear accession plans, including examination of laws and regulations. For those countries that have already acceded, in-country seminars to promote the use of Madrid, as well as the above training course for IP Officers on Madrid regulations and procedures, are being organized this November.

Effective and predictable trademark protection gives business confidence to invest in new markets and facilitates the international trade that AANZFTA aims to encourage, said Mr Michael Mugliston, AANZFTA Joint Committee Co-chairCooperation between ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand through this project assists us to realise the commercial, trade and development potential of AANZFTA, he added.

The Madrid Protocol is an international trademark treaty administered by WIPO. Australia, Singapore and Viet Nam were members of the Madrid Protocol prior to the commencement of the ECWP project. New Zealand and the Philippines acceded in 2012 and Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia and Thailand intend to accede by 2015.

The Agreement Establishing the AANZFTA is the most comprehensive trade agreement that ASEAN has negotiated to date. ECWP helps to implement the AANZFTA and is funded under the five-year AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AECSP).

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