The most significant trade mark event for this year so far is the fact that Mexico is scheduled to join the Madrid Protocol on 19 February 2013. Mexico is currently the world’s 14thlargest economy and its main trading partner is the United States.

As Mexico’s role has increased within the Latin American sphere during the past few years, its accession to the Madrid Protocol could set an example for other Latin American countries to realise the importance of protecting intellectual property rights. Only 3 of these countries (Cuba, Antigua and Barbuda & Colombia) have joined the Protocol to date.

The Madrid system offers the possibility of trade mark protection in several countries by simply filing one application directly with your own national or regional trademark office.  The advantage of the system is the opportunity to minimise procedures and costs.

During 2012 the Philippines, Colombia and New Zealand joined the Madrid Protocol.  On the other hand, Syria announced its decision to leave the system on 29 June 2012. This withdrawal will become effective as of 29 June 2013.

The Madrid Protocol is a testament to the success of a more unified legislation on intellectual property matters around the world. As such, countries scheduled to join the Protocol in the upcoming years include Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei. The strategic importance of these countries is paramount to the world economy, due to their location in one of the fastest growing regions in the world.