By Lucy Rana and Arpit Kalra
On February 24, 2021, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan deposited its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol with WIPO’s Director General. The Madrid Protocol will enter into force for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on May 24, 2021. By signing the accession of instrument, Pakistan becomes the 108th member of the Madrid System, which now covers 124 countries. Pakistan also becomes the fourth SAARC country, after India, Afghanistan and Bhutan, to join the Madrid Protocol.
The Madrid Protocol is bringing the world closer together with respect to the trade opportunities and in the expansion of IP related co-operation between countries. Pakistan’s adoption of the Madrid Protocol, will not just help the big brand owners in Pakistan to take their brands to other member countries but also the local business owners like SME’s and entrepreneurs will benefit from the simple registration process of the Madrid Protocol. The local business owners in Pakistan could seek protection of their trademark in territories of the other member countries through a single application filed with the IPO, Pakistan and payment of a single set of official fees. This will help them in significantly reducing the costs and efforts during their expansion in other 107 countries.
In addition, the foreign applicants could also obtain trademark protection for their marks by designating Pakistan in their Madrid Application along with other member countries. From May 24, 2021, using WIPO’s online subsequent designation service, foreign companies and trademark owners can expand their trademark protection through the Madrid System to include the consumer market of Pakistan. The accession of Pakistan to the Madrid Protocol is a positive step towards promoting trade cooperation between countries.