Skip to main content

ASEAN business leaders gain insights on protecting their trademarks and designs overseas

Representatives from the business community, IP practitioners, officials and other stakeholders gained insights on the procedures and advantages of protecting brands through the Madrid Protocol for the international registration of marks at a series of ARISE+ IPR workshops held in Indonesia, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Thailand from 27 February to 5 March. The workshop in Cambodia also included information on the Hague system for the international registration of designs. Bilingual booklets on the Madrid and Hague (for Cambodia) systems were launched during the workshops, available for download here.

As ARISE+ IPR Consultant Ernesto Rubio explained at each of the workshops, the Madrid Protocol is a brand protection system covering up to 119 countries, including all EU Member States, using a simple, convenient, centralised platform to acquire protection for and manage their trademarks. It requires only a single application for multiple countries, in one language, with one set of fees in a single currency. Strict time limits on processing Madrid applications also means businesses can acquire overseas trademark protection considerably faster.

The Madrid system makes it simpler for businesses to enter into new markets with the confidence that their IP rights are adequately protected, thereby encouraging investment and growth in the participating ASEAN Member States.


Opening proceedings in Jakarta, Deputy Head of Trade Levente Albert, EU Delegation to Indonesia, noted that protection of IP rights is key to building on the EU-ASEAN trade in goods, which reached €201.1 billion in 2017. Strong IP rights guarantee incentives for creators and foster investor confidence, ultimately leading to increased economic growth and employment.

DGIP Indonesia Director General Freddy Harris concurred, adding that Indonesia’s accession to the Madrid Protocol in 2018 has reduced barriers for local businesses seeking export opportunities and has ensured alignment of Indonesian trademark procedures with those of key trading partners. Following accession, 37 Madrid filings originated from Indonesia in 2018, with China and other participating ASEAN Member States featuring in the top designated destinations for the country.

For businesses, the benefits of using the Madrid system are paramount. Rex Marindo, Marketing Director of CRP Group, explained to participants that when they decided to expand their Upnormal Coffee Roasters products into international markets, they soon realised that the centralised filing offered by the Madrid system was the best way to go forward.  He noted that the Madrid procedures are not complicated.


The ARISE+ IPR Madrid Protocol workshop in Lao PDR kicked-off with an address from First Secretary of the EU Delegation to Lao PDR Baiba Zarina, highlighting the key benefits for economic development in the country. “The Madrid System offers a cost-effective and convenient means for Lao businesses to protect their trademarks overseas and is of key consideration for exports,” she noted.

DIP Lao PDR Director General Khanlasy Keobounphanh highlighted the importance of raising awareness in the local business community of the Madrid system as a tool to support their growth and development, and was pleased to see many business representatives attending the workshop.  She also emphasised that Lao business should take advantage of the 90% discount on basic Madrid fees when filing international applications with the IP office.  The discount is available when applications are filed in least developed countries such as Lao PDR.  


Following accession to the Hague Agreement in 2016, the workshop in Cambodia also included a component and booklet on the Hague system for the international registration of designs. Similar to Madrid, the Hague system for designs provides a simple, convenient and cost-effective means to register up to 100 designs in up to 70 countries, using a single application in one language for multiple countries, and paying one set of fees.

Opening proceedings, EU Delegation to Cambodia Trade Attaché Marta Abrantes noted, “The Madrid and Hague systems effectively lower barriers for export opportunities for Cambodian businesses and also foster inbound investment, both contributing to economic development.”  DIP Cambodia Director Op Rady commented that the Madrid and Hague systems are the simplest way for local businesses to obtain protection for trademarks and designs internationally.

Presentations on the procedures and advantages of the Madrid and Hague systems followed, along with comparisons against the national routes for each.


At the final leg of the ARISE+ IPR workshops on the Madrid Protocol in Bangkok, Programme Officer Cooperation Attaché Francesca Gilli, EU Delegation to Thailand, affirmed the convenience of the Madrid system for local businesses. “The Madrid System is the one-stop solution for trademark holders to obtain and maintain protection for their business activities in multiple markets, including in the EU,” she remarked. 

DIP Thailand Director of IP Promotion and Development Division, Chakra Yodmani, informed participants that they have been working closely with the business community to highlight the benefits of the international trademark system since Thailand’s accession to the Madrid Protocol in 2017.  Since Thailand joined Madrid, 143 international applications have been filed, showing that Thai businesses are keen to take advantage of the efficiency that the Madrid system offers.

The direct benefits for business operations were best demonstrated by NB Group CEO Boonprasert Pupan, who said that the Madrid system substantially reduces the costs of managing their trademark portfolio, a crucial asset for overseas franchising opportunities.

The publications below are comprehensive guides for businesses wishing to protect their trademarks or designs (in the case of the Hague System) internationally, detailing the advantages, procedures and fees, domestic requirements, and tips for brand development, among other useful aspects:


Share this post