The World Intellectual Property Organization, officially abbreviated as WIPO, is the official organization for the registration of trademarks on an international basis. Created in 1967as a specialized service of the United Nations (UN), WIPO operates to ‘encourage activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world’. WIPO is vast in scope and has a number of requirements which much be met in order to gain trademark registration.
Structure and mission of WIPO
WIPO’s headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland. The organization currently has 185 member states which means that trademark owners seeking registration in any of the 185 member countries, can do so by applying with one single application form through WIPO.
Essentially, WIPO is responsible for reviewing all trademark applications for its member countries where there is an application for trademark registration for more than one country. Usually it is necessary for the applicant to first obtain trademark registration rights in their country of domicile before they apply to WIPO for registration in additional countries.
It should be noted that WIPO is not solely for the registration of trademarks, but also for:
Oftentimes, where a national trademark registry is not available in a certain country, the individual will have to apply through WIPO in order to obtain their set of exclusive registration rights. As mentioned, there is only one application form required, irrespective of the number of countries the applicant wishes to obtain rights in. Application forms can be submitted in English, French or Spanish,
Operating in accordance with the Madrid System, which complies with the Madrid Agreement 1891 and the Madrid Protocol 1989, the organization is designed to develop and promote the use of intellectual property in a safe and fair environment.
WIPO sets the standards and legal framework of the requirements and obligations of a trademark while also providing rules as to revocation of trademark rights. Through its specialized services, legal framework, infrastructure and support of economic development, WIPO provides a fair and competitive environment for global intellectual property.