In 2012, the Philippines acceded to the Madrid Protocol.
The Madrid Protocol is a cost-efficient, centralized system that allows trademark owners to obtain protection for their marks in multiple jurisdictions by filing one application in the IPO of the Philippines and designating the member states where trademark protection is sought. The IPO of the Philippines forwards the application to the International Bureau (IB), which then grants an international registration and notifies the designated member states. The system effectively simplifies the filing, maintenance and renewal procedure and reduces costs in the filing of trademark applications in multiple jurisdictions, including that of engaging a local trademark agent for every jurisdiction.
The Madrid Protocol, however, does not grant an “internationally effective” trademark. The international registration granted under the Protocol does not translate to protection in the sense of creating a legal standing to sue for trademark infringement. The international registration merely amounts to a filing compliance, based on which the mark owner may proceed to designate countries from which trademark protection is sought. In the event that it is designated in the Protocol application, a member country has the prerogative to grant or refuse protection. The Madrid Protocol does not supplant the governing IP statutes of countries that determine whether the marks may be granted protection.
Filipino trademark owners and foreign trademark owners who have commercial or industrial establishments in the Philippines now have two options of seeking trademark registrations in different countries – to file directly in each country or to avail of the Madrid system.
The Madrid Protocol requires that the applicant:
- must have a pending trademark application or registration in the IPO of the Philippines; and
- must be a national of or has a domicile or has a real and effective commercial and industrial establishment in the Philippines.
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