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WIPO Members in Singapore for Revised Trademark Law Treaty

The Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of a Revised Trademark Law Treaty (TLT) has opened on Monday 13th March 2006 in Singapore. It is the first time that a diplomatic conference in the field of intellectual property is held in Asia. And for Singapore, it has a strong significance according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Law S. Jayakumar, who said “this conference marks a high point for our intellectual property journey and our efforts to make Singapore an IP-friendly location”.

More than 600 government policymakers and intellectual property experts from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) member countries are in Singapore for more than two weeks in order to negotiate the 1994 Trademark Law Treaty to bring it in-line with the technological advances of the past years.

In fact the Trademark Law Treaty, which aims to streamline and simplify the trademark registration procedures worldwide, had not at that time taken into account the development and impact of new technologies including Internet or new types of trademarks such as sound, scent or hologram trademarks.

The aim of this Conference is to update the TLT: processes for electronic trademark filing and standardized requirements should be set for all the 33 members of this Treaty. Singapore is not a party yet, but Singapore may join the member countries once it has been revised.

The Trademark Law Treaty is expected to help companies to save time and money on their efforts to protect their brand names and logos. WIPO Director-General Kamil Idris said “the revisions will contribute to reducing procedural transaction costs and enhance confidence in the trademark system as well as provide additional incentives for business to further invest and expand” and added that ” the resulting savings can be expected to further stimulate businesses to develop and market their brands”.

Singapore has been modernizing its IP legislation and has also put considerable resources on educating local firms and the public about IP as well as beefing up enforcement of IP rights. As a matter of fact, the number of trademark applications has risen to 27 000 last year, up from 23 000 in 2004, according to Mrs. Liew Woon Yin, the Director-General of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore.