The United States Ratifies the Singapore Treaty
Geneva, October 1, 2008
Ambassador Tichenor, accompanied by Lynne Beresford, Commissioner of Trademarks of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), deposited the U.S. instruments of ratification for the Singapore Trademark Law Treaty on October 1, 2008 with the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr. Francis Gurry. The U.S. is the 8th Member State to have ratified the Treaty. Only two more Member States, or intergovernmental organizations having a regional trademark office, need to ratify the Treaty for it to enter in force for the 55 countries that have signed on to it. Lois Boland, Director of the USPTO Office of Intellectual Property Policy and Enforcement, and the IP Attachés at the U.S. Mission in Geneva, Deborah Lashley-Johnson and Nancy Omelko, also attended the event.
“Our ratification of the Singapore TLT is important in helping to bring this treaty into force, so that all trademark owners can have a predictable, level playing field when doing business globally,” said Commissioner Beresford. “The U.S. looks forward to the Singapore Treaty entering into force,” said Ambassador Tichenor. “This ratification is a step in that direction. The Treaty will benefit not only U.S. companies but those of all signatories looking to protect their trademarks abroad, efficiently and cost-effectively.”
The Singapore Treaty updates and improves the WIPO Trademark Law Treaty of 1994 (TLT) that harmonizes formalities and simplifies procedures for registering and renewing trademarks.
Specifically, the Treaty allows national trademark offices to move to an entirely electronic system for trademark application and processing, which is an efficient and cost saving alternative to paper communications. The Singapore Treaty also addresses burdensome recording 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.