(Sept. 15, 2010) On May 31, 2010, the Government of Israel deposited with the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol Concerning the International Registration of Marks (Protocol) (Protocol text, WIPO website (July 30, 2010), http://world-intellectual-property-organization.com/edocs/madrdocs/en/20
10/madrid_2010_10.doc). Israel is the 85th member of the WIPO-administered international trademark system, which is governed by the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (1891) and the Protocol (1989). The Madrid Protocol will enter into force, with respect to Israel, on September 1, 2010. Under the Madrid System, a trademark owner may protect a mark in any of the contracting state parties he designates by filing one application in the relevant national or regional trademark office.
According to WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, “Israel's membership of the Madrid Protocol offers a valuable option for Israeli enterprises to export and leverage Israeli brands in international markets with significant opportunities for business development.” He further noted that Israel's membership will “facilitate market access and the channeling of resources to Israel by foreign trademark holders.” (Press Release, PR/2010/644, WIPO, Israel Joins the International Trademark System (June 1, 2010), http://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2010/article_0017.html.)
According to Israeli attorneys specializing in trademarks, Israel's accession to the Madrid Protocol is very beneficial to Israeli companies, which have previously been in an inferior position compared to those foreign companies that acquired trademark ownership by registering imitations of Israeli-registered trademarks for a relatively low cost in member countries, thereby forcing Israeli companies to choose between investing large amounts of money in fighting over the trademarks' ownership or losing control of the marks completely in the global market. The accession is viewed as especially beneficial to Israeli start-up companies whose budget is often limited. Due to the high cost of registering trademarks separately in each country and the global nature of the market, such companies tended to delay protecting their trademarks and as a result lose business. (Ela Levi- Weinrib, Israel Joined the Madrid Protocol – Arrangement for Registration of Trademarks [in Hebrew], GLOBES NEWSPAPER ONLINE (Sept. 13, 2010), http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1000587875&fid=829.)