Brunei Darussalam is set to become the 98th country to join the Madrid system for international trademark registration. All necessary documents for accession were deposited by Brunei’s permanent representative in Geneva, Dato Mahdi Rahman and the formalities for the country’s accession to the Madrid Agreement were finalized on October 6th. The Madrid System will take effect for Brunei on January 6th of 2017.

Starting from this date, businesses will be able to register their trademarks in Brunei along with the other jurisdictions of the countries party to the Madrid Agreement through one single application. Likewise, Brunei trademark owners will be able to file an international application and manage their trademark portfolio through this system from a single office, in only one language, and paying the fees in one single currency.

Enabling trademark application in Brunei for international companies should further emphasize the dominance of foreign trademarks in the country. Statistics published by the Brunei Intellectual Property Office clearly show that foreign trademark applications vastly outnumber domestic applications. In the period spanning from beginning of 2012 to August 2016, only 392 trademark applications were filed by local applicants, against almost 5,000 filed by international businesses.

Brunei’s accession to the Protocol is in line with the ASEAN’s Intellectual Property Actions Plan 2011-2015, in which each state committed to join the Madrid Scheme. Viet Nam and Singapore had already done so before this engagement. Cambodia, Lao PDR, and the Philippines have become members of the Madrid Union in the past few years. Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, however, have not done so yet. Debbie Roenning, Director of the Legal Division of the Madrid System has nevertheless announced that these countries are expected to join in the near future. New amendments to Thailand’s Trademark Act became effective on July 28th of this year, paving the way for accession to Madrid, and Indonesia should do so by the end of 2016. 

[Source: The Brunei Times, BruDirect.com]