Tales of the Protocol


Tom Phillips

Tales of the Protocol

Vladimir Sazonov / Shutterstock.com

With 128 member countries and counting, the Madrid System is a shining example of IP harmonisation. Tom Phillips spoke to attorneys working in its newest member states about what joining means to them.

Originally conceived in 1891 to offer a single and inexpensive international trademark registration across multiple countries, the modern-day Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks has come a long way.

It was not until the adoption of the Madrid Protocol, more than 100 years later, that a true IP success story was born. In 1988, there were only 25 members. A year later, the Protocol was adopted, adding more flexibility for users and national IP offices. And after it came into operation in 1996, membership rocketed.

Now, users can pay one set of fees and register, manage, and protect a trademark in two-thirds of the world. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the 112 current members of the Madrid Union (contracting parties to the Madrid Protocol), covering 128 countries, have enjoyed the system’s benefits. The newest recruit as of April 2022 is the Republic of Cabo Verde, an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean at the westernmost point of Africa.

Madrid System, harmonisation, hague system, trademarks