UN intellectual property agency welcomes US ratification of key trademark pact

1 October 2008

The United Nations agency entrusted with protecting intellectual property rights today lauded the United States’ ratification of a key global trademark treaty.

Warren Tichenor, American Ambassador to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva, deposited his country’s instrument of ratification today, noting that the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks will allow US companies and those of other signatories to protect their brand labels abroad.

This pact, concluded under the auspices of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in March 2006, is an update to the 1994 Trademark Law Treaty (TLT) to bring it in line with the technological developments of the past decade.

It deals mostly with procedural aspects of trademark registration and licensing, and eliminates some red tape in trademark registration.

Today’s ratification by the US brings the current number of States party to the Treaty to eight, and it will enter into force as soon as 10 countries or intergovernmental organizations have taken action.

To date, more than 50 countries have declared their intention to formally join the pact by signing it.

Once operational, “brand owners will benefit from reduced transaction costs thanks to the efficiencies built into the Treaty, which simplifies and standardizes trademark office procedures,” Francis Gurry, the new Director General of WIPO, said, voicing hope that more countries will proceed towards ratifying the Treaty.

When appointed last week by acclamation, the Australian official noted the volume of work facing many patent offices due to a sustained trend to harness the economic value of innovation through the acquisition of property rights.

“The functional consequence of this trend is that the system is becoming a victim of its own success” with patent offices “choking on demand and struggling to perform in a manner that is timely enough to be responsive to the needs of the economy,” he said in his acceptance speech to WIPO’s General Assembly, whose annual meeting wrapped up on Monday.

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