By Stephen D. Wilson | October 30, 2019

On September 27, 2019, Malaysia joined an intellectual property (IP) treaty that will benefit U.S. brand owners who wish to protect trademark rights in Southeast Asia.

Madrid System

The Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (Madrid System) is a trademark treaty that covers over 120 countries, representing more than 80% of world trade.  The Madrid System is governed by the Madrid Agreement and the Protocol relating to that Agreement (Madrid Protocol).  The Madrid Union is made up of Contracting Parties to the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol.


On September 27, 2019, the Government of Malaysia deposited its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland.  The treaty will enter into force for Malaysia starting December 27, 2019.  Malaysia is the 106th member of the Madrid System.  Brazil, Canada, and Samoa also recently joined the Madrid System effective this year.

Southeast Asia

All of the countries that are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with the exception of Myanmar are now members of the Madrid System.  ASEAN is a regional intergovernmental organization that includes the following ten countries in Southeast Asia:

  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Global Brand Protection

Too frequently, U.S. brand owners learn the hard way that many or most foreign countries have first-to-file trademark regimes that benefit the party who wins the race to file, and penalize trademark owners who delay filing.  In a global economy, savvy brand owners would be wise to consult with experienced trademark counsel regarding global IP options and strategy, and avoid losing the international race to protect important brands in key territories.

Beggs & Lane assists clients worldwide with global IP protection and brand portfolio management, including U.S. and international trademark registration, licensing, and enforcement.