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Madrid Protocol in Latin America: a nightmare or a dream?


Adam Smith, reporter for the World Trademark Review (WTR), investigates the possible accession to the Madrid Protocol of some jurisdictions in Latin America. In the latest edition of WTR (23), under the title ‘2010: Madrid to expand to Latin America’, the writer embarks into the different issues which surrounds the delay of the accession.

I admire Adam’s attempt to point out many situations in such a small space. He starts the article by comparing this situation as a political football! He focuses in the scepticism of these countries (the article mainly refers to Argentina, Brazil and Colombia) to the benefits that the Madrid Protocol brings. He points out that the accession is seen as a better opportunity for foreign applicants than for national enterprises in foreign markets. This idea is clear when he quoted some Latin American practitioners criticising the protocol as “just another way for big foreign multinationals to exploit developing countries”.

Another point that he tries to cover is that Latin American governments do not recognise the importance of brands and therefore they do not encourage and support local companies to develop and increase the value of branding. I do strongly agree.

Added to the above, he continues by indicating the situation of the IP offices – do they meet the standards and could they handle the work?

An extra to the article is the fact that it refers to the race that these countries appear to have to become the first Latin America country to accede to the Madrid Protocol. However, he mentions that while the governments of Argentina, Brazil and Colombia praise that they are going to be the first one, the idea is tainted by economical and political problems. I may add, who is to come first and at what cost?

A personal note
I would like to ask the following: the majority of IP practitioners realise the benefits of the Madrid Protocol, but is this just an ideology of those more economically developed countries? Certainly, companies will have a cheaper and faster access to named markets. However, as any decision, one needs to measure the pros and cons. In this case, undoubtedly Latin America countries are seen the Protocol as an open door to foreign companies (not for nationals ones). Or, I just wonder, is it that less economically developed countries are distrustful and afraid?

I indeed enjoyed the article and you are more than welcome to read it here.

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