Bookmark and Share

Singapore Trademark Treaty Comes Into Force

Issued: February 01 2009
The Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks is set to comes into force on March 16, 2009, following Australia’s December 16, 2008, ratification of the treaty. The treaty, concluded by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in March 2006, is the international effort to update the 1994 Trademark Law Treaty.
The Singapore Treaty provides simplified and internationally harmonised rules for trademark registration and licensing, according to Lau Kok Keng, a partner at Rajah & Tann in Singapore. By eliminating red tape, enabling trademark authorities to take advantage of modern communications technologies, the Singapore Treaty promises to reduce transaction costs for brand owners, Lau says.
“It is recognised that nowadays, brands no longer refer exclusively to labels on goods,” says Lau. “A brand today stands for the product’s identity. As creativity and investment go into the developments of brands, businesses need to secure that investment. The new rules contained in the Singapore Treaty address those needs.”
Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Kim Carr, said Australia’s signing on “offers a positive example for [its] trading partners, thereby increasing the capacity of regionally based trade.”
Lau says the treaty takes into account the advantages of electronic filing and communication facilities, while at the same time recognising the different needs of developed and developing countries.
Australia’s ratification of the treaty was the tenth ratification overall, and the one which allowed the treaty to come into force. Other countries which have ratified the treaty include Switzerland, Bulgaria, Romania, Denmark, Latvia and Kyrgyzstan.
When the Singapore Treaty comes into force in March, contracting parties must comply with simplified registration rules to streamline trademark registration procedures, says Lau. The treaty also introduces new mandatory relief measures for trademark office procedures when there are procedural mistakes in trademark applications such as missed time limits, which, if not remedied, could be detrimental to trademark rights, says Lau.
Francis Gurry, director general of WIPO, said the entry into force of the treaty was good news for trademark owners around the world as it opened the way for the branded goods industry to register and manage trademark rights cost-effectively and efficiently, which he called a particularly welcome development for companies seeking to generate cost savings and maintain their market position in turbulent economic times.


Related Articles


Law Firms