The Brazilian Minister of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services has indicated Brazil’s intention to join the International Trade Mark System. However, Brazil will require further time to iron out how this will work in practice, as it must tackle a number of issues internally including:

  1. dealing with the current backlog at the Brazilian trade mark office;
  2. cutting down the length of time it will take for a trade mark to register (it currently can several years for nationally filed marks);
  3. the translation of documents (from Portuguese to the official languages of the international bureau, i.e. English, French and Spanish);
  4. the acceptance of multi-class applications (which is not allowed nationally in Brazil at the moment).

As a result, it is unlikely that Brazil will join the international system prior to 2018.

Nonetheless, Brazil’s intention is no doubt welcome news for many, especially as there is speculation that other South American countries, such as Argentina and Chile, may follow in Brazil’s footsteps.

As many readers will know, the International Trade Mark System allows applicants to file a single application, pay one set of fees and apply for protection in up to 114 countries. Applicants can also modify or renew their registration through this centralised system. Owner of existing international trade marks may also add countries to their international trade mark (via a process called ‘subsequent designation’), which can be cost-effective and convenient, especially as the number of countries that are part of the international system steadily grows.