The international systems for trademark and design protection continue to expand with Brazil the latest country to file an instrument of accession to the design protection system and Mauritius acceding the trademark system. The more countries that join the systems the better for companies that operate internationally.
Brazil's accession to the international design system follows that of Jamaica and China in 2022, while the accession of Mauritius to the international trademark system follows that of Jamaica, Chile and Cape Verde. Brazil joined the international design system on 13 February 2023 and Mauritius joined the international trademark system on 6 February 2023.
The international system for design protection
The international system for design registration, known as the International Design system or the Hague Union, is regulated by the Hague Agreement and its supplementary protocols. The system is an important tool for brand owners and innovative companies, as it makes it possible for them to apply for design protection in one or more member states, by means of a single application to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. To be eligible for protection under the international system, applicants must be a national of one of the member states, be resident or have a 'real and effective establishment of business' in that state (in other words: actually trade from the jurisdiction concerned).
When Brazil's accession becomes effective on 1 August 2023, it will increase the number of member states, in which international design protection can be obtained via that single application, to 79 (including the European Union).
The international system for trademark protection
The international system for trademark registration (also known as the Madrid System) makes it possible to request trademark protection in one or more member states of the Madrid System by filing one application via WIPO in Geneva, Switzerland. (For a complete analysis of the pros and cons of the Madrid System, read our article 'International trademarks: Is the Madrid System right for you?').
After its accession on 6 February 2023, Mauritius will be the 114th member state of the Madrid System, which will cover 130 countries in total, including the EU member states and the three countries of the Benelux.
Is registering an international design or trademark the right choice for you?
The fact that an increasing number of jurisdictions can be designated in an international design or trademark application makes the systems an important tool for businesses. It is especially useful if a company wishes to launch a new trademark and/or design feature that is to be marketed in several countries or where a business plans to enter new markets. As with IP in general, it is important to check that your rights are sufficiently protected in the jurisdictions in which you sell, trade or transport goods.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.