Friday, October 10, 2008

USPTO participates in ratificatin of Singapore Treaty

USPTO participates in ratification of Singapore Treaty
Ambassador Tichenor of the U.S. Mission in Geneva, Switzerland, and USPTO Commissioner for Trademarks Lynne Beresford deposited the U.S. instruments of ratification of the Singapore Trademark Law Treaty with the newly appointed World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry on October 1, 2008. The U.S. is the 8th Member State to have ratified the Treaty. Two more Member States or intergovernmental organizations having a regional trademark office need to ratify before Singapore is in force. Fifty-five countries signed the Treaty at the end of the diplomatic conference signifying their intention to eventually join the treaty. Lois Boland, Director of the USPTO Office of Intellectual Property Policy and Enforcement and IP Attach├ęs at the U.S. Mission in Geneva, Deborah Lashley-Johnson and Nancy Omelko also attended the event.
The deposit of the instruments of ratification was Director General Gurry’s first official act as Director General which gave the deposit a special significance.
The Singapore Treaty updates and improves the World Intellectual Property Organization Trademark Law Treaty (TLT) of 1994 that harmonizes formalities and simplifies procedures for registering and renewing trademarks.
“Our ratification of the Singapore TLT is important in helping to bring this treaty into force, so that all trademark owners can have a more predictable, level playing field when doing business globally,” said Commissioner Beresford. Specifically, the Treaty modernizes some aspects of the earlier Trademark Law Treaty and allows national trademark offices to move to an entirely electronic system for trademark application and processing while, at the same time, preserving the rights of developing countries to maintain paper systems if that is helpful to them.
The Singapore Treaty also addresses burdensome and strict license recordal requirements in some countries that make it difficult for trademark licensors and licensees to enforce trademark rights against third parties. In addition, it expands the original TLT to apply to trademarks consisting of non-visible signs, in line with Free Trade Agreements entered into by the United States.
Ratification of the Singapore Treaty did not require implementing legislation because U.S. law is already in compliance with the provisions of the Treaty.
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