The number of countries and regions joining the international system for trademark registration on the basis of the Madrid Convention and its Protocol, continues to grow. Brunei is the latest country to deposit an instrument of accession with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which comes into force on 6 January 2017.

The international system for trademark registration (also known as the Madrid System) makes it possible to request trademark protection in one or more member states of the Madrid System by filing one application at WIPO in Geneva.

The Madrid System dates back to the ‘Madrid Agreement’ of 1891 and has been expanded with the ‘Madrid Protocol' in 1996. Since the accession of Algeria to the Protocol in October 2015, all international trademark registrations are exclusively governed by the Madrid Protocol, making the Madrid Agreement essentially a non-operational treaty.

Brunei is the 98th member of the Madrid System, covering 114 territories. Another Southeast Asian country, Laos, joined on 7 March 2016.

That more and more countries and regions can be designated in an international trademark registration makes it increasingly appealing for businesses to apply for an international registration. For an analysis of the pros and cons of the Madrid System, read this article.

When the outlet of your business focuses on several countries or when it is about to enter new markets, it is important to determine whether your interests are sufficiently protected in those countries and regions.