The Madrid Protocol along with the Madrid Agreement, gives the legal basis to the Madrid System which is the primary method of international registration of trademarks in multiple Jurisdictions. Administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (hereinafter referred to as “WIPO”), the Madrid Protocol allows the trademark owners of its contracting parties to seek protection of their trademarks in multiple countries by filing a single application. It is a cost effective method as it saves time and money by filing one application, rather than a bundle of national applications. Moreover, the Madrid Protocol also allows such applications to be filed in a single language and grants protection to the trademarks in multiple countries upon the payment of a single fee.

On March 26, 2018, Afghanistan deposited its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol at the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization making it the 101st member. The Protocol will come into force in Afghanistan on June 26, 2018. The two-letter code for Afghanistan is “AF”.

With Afghanistan’s adoption of the Madrid Protocol, the local business owners are the ones who are bound to benefit the most. From June 26, 2018 i.e. the date from which the Protocol will enter into force for Afghanistan, the local business owners in Afghanistan could seek protection of their trademark in territories of the other 100 member countries through a single application filed with the Afghanistan Central Business Registry and Intellectual Property Ministry of Commerce and Industry and payment of a single set of official fees. This will help them in significantly reducing the costs and efforts during their expansion in other countries. In addition, the foreign applicants could also obtain trademark protection for their marks by designating Afghanistan in their Madrid Application along with other member countries.