July 27, 2009
The business sector is pushing for the Philippines’ inclusion in the Madrid Protocol, a system that facilitates the registration of trademarks and service marks for member-countries.
In a briefing yesterday, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Edgardo Lacson said the group wanted to be included in the roster of Madrid Protocol members as this would make trademark registration and protection easier for local businesses.
“Trademarks filed here will not just be limited to the Philippines. You’ll also be patented in all member-countries,” he said.
The Madrid Protocol currently has 80 member-countries, including the United States and Japan, the country’s two largest trading partners.
Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines director general Adrian Cristobal Jr. said that becoming part of the agreement would simplify the process of filing for trademark and service mark protection.
Anil Sinha, counselor for the small and medium enterprises division of the World Intellectual Property Organization, said this would also make the process more economical.
“It will result in substantial savings. It makes the process easier since when you have to renew your trademark after 10 years, you don’t have to go to each of the countries (where you’ve filed for protection). ”
He admitted, however, that efforts to become party to this agreement would be met with some opposition from intellectual property lawyers who stand to lose some business when the country becomes part of the Madrid Protocol.
“But it doesn’t have to be that way. They can actually go up the value chain and offer more services,” he said.
IP lawyer Ferdinand Negre, a partner at the Bengzon Negre Untalan law firm, agreed with Sinha.
“The business the IP lawyers will lose as a result of becoming part of the Madrid Protocol can be replaced by other business, such as licensing and enforcement, ” he said.
“The forgone revenues would be a small price to pay for the positive effects (the Madrid Protocol) will have on the economy,” he said.
PCCI IP committee chair Jesus Varela said the group was now in talks with members of the Senate to push for the country’s inclusion in the Madrid Protocol.
Source: The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Thursday, 23 July 2009, Business Section, Page B-2.