Recently, Indonesia and Thailand announced they will being joining the Madrid Protocol. Indonesia plans to join in early 2018 and Thailand plans to join in late 2017. The Madrid Protocol is an international system that harmonizes trade-mark registration. If one files a Madrid Protocol trade-mark application in one contracting jurisdiction, they can receive protection in other signatory jurisdictions. After Indonesia and Thailand sign, the Madrid Protocol’s membership list will increase to 100.
A desire to promote foreign investment is most likely driving these nations’ decisions. According to Bloomberg, Indonesian President Widodo, after previously adopting a more domestic-focused outlook, is now trying to encourage foreign investment. President Widodo specifically stated that, “Indonesia is open for investors.” Somewhat similarly, the World Bank informed Thailand that Thai economic uncertainty has motivated some foreign companies to look to other nations. Foreign investors might be comforted if nations are party to international trade-mark treaties. They would not have to separately file trade-marks in jurisdictions that would have different or potentially tricky policies.
Additionally, these decisions highlight the growing international harmonization of intellectual property policies. While there is still significant national variation, the international treaties have increasingly created minimum intellectual property standards since the late 20th century. Related, WIPO’s membership has been growing and in autumn of 2017, several more jurisdictions joined WIPO.
With these trends in mind, it will be interesting to see if more countries follow suit and join the Madrid Protocol.