As Thailand readies itself for ascension to the Madrid Protocol for intellectual property protection, it is being welcomed by Thai and foreign companies alike. The process is not complete and there is still some way to go but it has been heralded as a significant win for small and large businesses in the area of intellectual property protection both in Thailand and around the world.
With this move, Thailand is joining the group of nations (more than 100) already part of the scheme operated by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Those member nations represent around 80% of world trade including the United States, the European Union and Australia as well as other Asian economies like China, Japan, India.
Thailand’s decision to become party to the Madrid Protocol further increases the usefulness of the agreement’s usefulness to brand protection, particularly those trading in the export markets of Asia. It also serves as a timely reminder to companies to examine their brand protection around the world.
As companies increasingly expand their markets through physical exports, digital advertising and local distribution, the need for strong international brand protection grows with it. The Madrid Protocol for intellectual property protection, particularly brand names, logos and other brand assets, is a streamlined way to protect valuable IP around the world. However, it is not without exceptions.
Looking at Asian markets; while the majority of nations including Vietnam, South Korea and Philippines are signatories, there are noticeable absences, namely Indonesia and Malaysia. With a population of more than 250 million people, Indonesia is not a small market and brands looking at operating in Indonesia need to avail themselves of Indonesian brand protection through the Indonesian Intellectual Property Office (Direktorat Jenderal Kekayaan Intelektual).
Considering the time and monetary investments in your brand assets, legal protection is a relatively small amount, and considering the potential cost in terms of potential legal costs or possible reputational damage, the initial costs for filing for IP protection in your key markets is one worth considering.