Source: Gobierno de Chile
The new president of the United States has turned his back on several international treaties, and with those to many established agreements in the field of Intellectual Property, notably trademarks.
Last month, just a few days after assuming his charge, he signed the withdrawal of USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), indicating as well that there would be no new treaties and that he would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, treaty that unites the USA, Mexico and Canada.
What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
It is a commercial agreement formalized in 2016 between the USA, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Brunei, countries that represent 40% of the world economy, the purpose of which was to reduce customs duties and facilitate custom processes between all the signatories.
One of the main subjects of disagreements has been intellectual properties, with strong points of contention between the USA and South-East Asian countries. The treaty would have had the following effects regarding trademarks.
- It would have eliminated the restrictions for “non-conventional” trademarks and imposed the recognition of sound or smell trademarks.
- It would have imposed the recognition of protected geographical indications, allowing them to be adapted to local trademarks, with certain limitations.
- The basis to determine whether a trademark is “well-known” or notorious would be fixed according to the criteria of WIPO instead of the local jurisdiction.
- In terms of the classifications of goods and services, the Nice system would have been prevalent over other local systems in case of possible disputes or conflicts.
- The term of protection granted to a trademark would have had to be at least of ten years.
- In terms of cyber-squatting, the agreement would have imposed the establishment of a uniform and coherent domain name dispute system to avoid disputes ending in courts.
All these measures have now been suspended and will probably never come into effect, since as the Japanese government has stated, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be meaningless without U.S. participation”. The TPP probably will not go ahead without the leadership of the USA.
|The agreement would have facilitated the registration of geographical indications. Those have also been a motive of strong disagreement during the negotiations of the TTIP, an equivalent treaty between the USA and the European Union, since the latter required the USA to recognize geographical indications, of which the European Union has a great number.|
|Source: Flickr: matupplevelser|
Although for the great majority of our clients those changes will have no major effects, there are some circumstances in which they might find themselves affected, especially those we assist with non-conventional trademarks or with domain name disputes (cybersquatting).
There might also be instances in which they are affected by disagreements regarding the definition of a well-known trademark, or the Nice classification and how to adapt the classes.
In any case, we will keep assisting our clients to register their trademarks in the USA and in all jurisdictions around the world, offering them the best advice so that, even when there are differences, their protection will be ideal.
If you have any specific inquiry, please do not hesitate to write to us and we will offer you our assistance for your intellectual property needs.
Author: Tirso García, Product Manager @ iGERENT