New Zealand businesses can now readily secure trade mark protection in India under an International Trade Mark Registration. As India is New Zealand’s seventh largest export destination*, this development is excellent news for New Zealand exporters keen to protect their Intellectual Property in offshore markets. As of 8 July 2013, India is the 90th country/territory worldwide to join the Madrid Protocol for International Trade Mark Registration (known as an “IR”).

An unusual point to note about India under the Madrid Protocol is that an International Registration (or IR) filed before 8 July 2013 (the date India joined the Madrid system) cannot be extended to cover India. Only IRs filed on or after 8 July will be able to designate India. This is different to the usual approach whereby new Madrid Protocol member countries can be added as subsequent designations to existing International Registrations. Only a handful of other countries have taken the same approach as India in this regard.**

While IRs under the Madrid Protocol are not always the best method of International brand protection, for most countries that are members of the Madrid Protocol subsequent designations can be a useful way of managing expanding business interests in new markets overseas. Subsequent designations to an International Registration can ordinarily be made at any time. These take the priority date of the subsequent designation and form part of the International Registration. This can be a low cost way of extending protection to new markets as your business interests evolve and expand, and as new countries join the Madrid Protocol.