A brand is the essence of one’s own unique story. This is as true for personal branding as it is for business branding. A brand is a promise made and a promise kept. Branding speaks to the name of your product or service or even the packaging or the image of your company because that reflects you. However, most persons think this is only necessary for physical products and not services such as providing online classes, online exercise programmes, providing online concerts among so many more. Branding makes a memorable impression on consumers, whether for your goods and/or services.
Covid-19 has changed the way a person shops, entertains, studies and conducts simple everyday business transactions. Most services require a greater online presence, meaning, your brand is left vulnerable if not protected. In truth, there should be more emphasis on protecting your brand in the Covid-19 environment.
The Madrid Protocol concerns the registration of trade marks and is an international filing system which allows the brand owner protection of his/her trade mark in several different countries by filing a single application to their national intellectual property office. Presently there are 123 countries party to the Madrid Protocol, including some of our key trading partners such as the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), the European Union (EUIPO), Canada, China and India. The Trinidad and Tobago Intellectual Property Office (“TTIPO”) is the office responsible for administering this Treaty and this service will be accessible online at www.ipo.gov.tt. It becomes operational on January 12th, 2021. The Madrid Protocol is a seminal Protocol with several benefits to Trinidad and Tobago’s citizens and companies alike.
For an individual, having this option to file a trade mark application, makes the process easier as it only requires the applicant to file one application form (which includes all countries that are party to the Protocol), pay one fee and in one currency (swiss francs). Also, an individual can now file his own application online. There is a fee calculator at the intellectual property (“IP”) offices’ website that will assist in calculating the fees needed to apply at www.ipo.gov.tt.
- Sporting industry
Many athletes around the world would find ease in using the Madrid System as it would allow them to protect their brand and images in many countries around the world.
“As an athlete, I think IP rights and the protection of those rights is important…it allows me access to equipment, gear, and innovations that help me to perform better as an athlete and to achieve my sporting goals.” – William Winram, world-record free diver, ocean explorer and conservationist.” https://www.wipo.int/ip-outreach/en/ipday/archive/ipday_2019.html
- Legal industry / Agents
The legal profession is very important; especially in the intellectual property industry. These Intellectual Property stakeholders will assist users to prepare their applications (through the Madrid System) and works complementary to other services.
- Manufacturing / Exporting industry
The manufacturing and exporting sectors are of extreme importance to any economy. Having an easier way to ensure their brands are protected in export IP markets is vital to their business strategies. When looking at external markets one of the most important things is ensuring that there will be no passing off of brands and products. Exporters would also be able to manage their IP portfolio easier because through using this system, they can easily find out about any of their trade mark applications in any country party to the Madrid Protocol by a simple email to the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”).
- Creative industry
It is no secret that Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival is one of the greatest shows on earth. However, what persons don’t know is that many of these band leaders have no easy means of protecting their names and logos internationally (unless they apply in each country). Through using the Madrid Protocol system, they would be able to protect their logos and names as trade marks easier internationally. The creative industry stakeholders now have the ability through Madrid to file for the protection of their brands for their artists, producers, film producers, authors, poets and many more.
The Madrid System supports you throughout the lifecycle of your trademark, from application through to renewal. The Madrid System is convenient and cost-effective. In this era of globalization, international trade has led to more enhanced products. In order to maintain a competitive advantage, businesses must understand the importance of IP. “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business” Steve Forbes, Editor in Chief of Forbes Magazine.
For more information on the Madrid Protocol and Trade Marks contact the IP office online at: www.ipo.gov.tt.
This article was done by Ms. Steffi Mohammed (Trademark Systems Specialist (Madrid)), Trinidad and Tobago Intellectual Property Office, Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs.