Laos will be the fifth Asean country to use this system. Director General of the Department of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr Khanlasy Keobounphanh, yesterday addressed the topic at a workshop on international trademark registration under the Madrid Protocol.
The Madrid Protocol system provides for the international registration of trademarks by way of one application that can cover more than one country. This provides a mechanism for obtaining trademark protection in many countries around the world, which is more effective than seeking protection separately in each individual country.
Dr Khanlasy said the main objectives of the workshop were to increase awareness of the need for trademark registration and protection and related trademarks. Discussions would also promote better understanding of the role of the trademark in enhancing cultural and economic development and encouraging creativity. The owners of all businesses including SMEs in Laos will benefit from the Madrid system because it will protect their trademark and brand, she said.
The system provides an opportunity to have a single registration to cover a wide range of countries, which is advantageous both in terms of portfolio management and cost savings, as opposed to a portfolio of independent national registrations. President of the Lao PDR-US international and Asean integration project (USAID-LUNAII), Mr Daniel Fitzpatrick, said the USAID- LUNAII is funded by the United States government to promote trade and investment in Laos.
The goal of this work is to create economic opportunities and help raise the living standards of the Lao people. He said that in line with these efforts, the workshop would help Lao exporters to better understand the benefits of the Madrid system, which promotes brand identity. Trademark law allows companies to protect brands, by prohibiting other companies from copying their brands or otherwise taking actions that trick consumers, Mr Fitzpatrick said. Madrid is the legal base of the multilateral treaty, the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks of 1891, as well as the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement (1989).