Princess graces AANZFTA-WIPO seminar
Danial Norjidi

HER Royal Highness Princess Hajah Muta-Wakkilah Hayatul Bolkiah yesterday attended the AANZFTA-WIPO Regional Consultation Seminar on Accession to Madrid Protocol for Trademark Owners, SMEs and Trademark Agents at The Empire Hotel & Country Club.

The seminar was held yesterday as part of the Madrid Protocol Accession Project through the Economic Cooperation Work programme under the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA). The Madrid system is the primary international system for facilitating the registration of trademarks in multiple jurisdictions around the world, and accession to the protocol relating to the Madrid Agreement is one of the initiatives agreed to be undertaken as part of the Asean Intellectual Property Action Plan 2011-2015 (Asean IPR). The end goal of this plan is for seven Asean member states to accede to the protocol.

Under this action plan, Asean member states need to provide stakeholders with global IP protection systems that will enable them to seek protection for their IP rights through accessible and transparent infrastructures in a bid to contribute to economic integration by 2015.

The Solicitor General, Dayang Naimah binti Md Ali delivered opening remarks at the seminar, and was quoted as saying, “Intellectual Property is an important asset for any person that owns it. He can sell it, license it or even give it away and can gain considerable benefit from it. Its protection is therefore very important in order to encourage creativity and innovation and thereby enhance national development.”

She highlighted that, in this highly competitive global economy, businesses need to take advantage of all available tools to assist them in meeting challenges to grow.

“A key tool to spur business expansion is using an international system. The Madrid Protocol is one such mechanism for the protection of intellectual property, namely, trademarks.

“In that the trademark owner can make one application for protection in one member state and enjoys protection in one or all other member states to the Madrid Protocol.”

She added in her speech, “It is our hope that this seminar would at least prepare and educate stakeholders before Brunei Darussalam accedes to the Madrid Protocol, as well as provide all stakeholders with the opportunity to not only broaden their understanding of the protocol but to also learn from the experiences of other countries who have acceded the Madrid Protocol”.

Denis Croze, the Director of the Singapore WIPO Office also spoke at the seminar’s opening and underlined that the purpose of the seminar was to contribute towards the implementation of the Madrid accession project of the Asean Working Group on intellectual property cooperation.

“WIPO is pleased to contribute and to participate actively in this initiative,” he said, adding that the Asean IPR Action plan is designed to meet the goals of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

These goals aim for an innovative and competitive region through the use of intellectual property for their nationals and ensuring that their region remains an active player in the international community.

“This is to say that in our globalised world and economy, the Madrid System cannot be ignored by entrepreneurs and business circles, whether multinational or small and medium sized enterprises,” he continued. “In today’s international economic competition, no country and no one can take the risk of not offering the best services to its businesses.”

Denis went on to say, “The World Intellectual Property Organisation is proud and pleased to see the excellent cooperation which has led to the holding of this seminar. This is an outstanding example of the coordination among the different technical assistance providers – international organisations and member states – aiming at better serving the interests of the businesses of your country.”

The seminar itself was aimed at preparing and educating stakeholders before Brunei accedes to the Madrid Protocol as well as to provide all stakeholders and officers of IP offices with the opportunity to not only broaden their understanding of the protocol but to also learn from the experiences of other countries that have ratified the Madrid Protocol.

Yesterday’s consultation seminar will be followed by the Regional Meeting of Asean Madrid Leads on Accession to the Madrid Protocol which is taking place today.

Vincent Cheong, CEO of the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) also attended the seminar, along with foreign participants from the respective Asean member states, local businesses in Brunei, trademark agents and attorneys as well as officers from the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Brunei Economic Development Board. - Borneo Bulletin (7 February 2013)