On April 8, 2013, India became the 90th member of the Madrid Protocol, a trade agreement that allows citizens of participating countries to receive trademark protections in all 90 member countries with one application. India has already become an economic and scientific powerhouse, and this step brings India further in line with the international trade and intellectual property community.
This move should simplify trademark procedures not just for Indian businesses, but also for the plethora of international companies that have significant holdings in the country. Under the current 1999 Trade Mark Act, someone wishing to protect their trademark in India has to go through a complicated process involving multiple applications to receive trademark protection domestically and internationally. With the adoption of the Madrid Protocol, set to go into effect on 08/07/2013, India will join the growing number of developed and developing countries that recognize the importance of consistent and simplified intellectual property procedures.
While this is no doubt an important step for India’s rapidly expanding business community, there are hopes that it is but a preview of things to come. According to the US patent office, “The protocol is a filing treaty and not a substantive harmonization treaty.” In other words, it will make things easier, but it does not mean that a huge trade barrier is coming down. This is definitely a step in the right direction, however, and India will likely be continuing to work toward further synchronization with the international business community.