Welcome Spring and rebirth! I am so excited that March is over and it means we are officially in spring! During March, I really spent some time thinking about whether I love or hate the Madrid system, and I could not come to a definitive conclusion. The Madrid system was created as a convenient and cost-effective solution for registering and managing international trademark portfolios, by allowing applicants to file a single class application and pay one set of fees to apply for protection internationally. It creates a bundle of national rights through an international registration able to be administrated centrally. And provides a mechanism for obtaining trademark protection in many countries around the world which is more effective than seeking protection separately in individual countries or jurisdictions of interest.

While at filing the Madrid system is efficient, whether or not it is cost effective, is questionable, and completely dependent on the countries you designate, the trademark you file and the breadth and depth of your portfolio.

As my experience is mainly in the Arabic countries, my experience with Madrid is relatively minimal.

The Arabic countries which are party to the Madrid Union are:

  • Bahrain, – 2005
  • Oman, – 2007
  • Syria, – 2004
  • United Arab of Emirates – 2021
  • Algeria – 2015
  • Egypt – 2009
  • Morocco – 2018
  • Sudan – 2010
  • Tunisia – 2013

So, in a nutshell, while Madrid is an awesome opportunity to transform our skills to become experts in multiple international jurisdictions, there are many elements within it which create confusion. Whether or not the Madrid Union is the right avenue to protect your trademark is not a straight forward answer…

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