The International (Madrid) Trade Mark system provides a cost-effective way of obtaining registered trade mark protection in a range of countries. In the past, the usefulness of the system was limited because the countries in the system did not match the markets of interest to most applicants. In recent years, that situation has changed, as more and more countries have joined the system.
The latest jurisdictions to join the Madrid system are Zimbabwe and the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), for which the system became effective on 11 March and 5 March 2015 respectively. These two territories are not of great interest to most of our clients, but nonetheless the option of using the Madrid system to obtain trade mark protection in one or both is a welcome development.