Madrid: The Double Edged Sword
Ah the Internet! Arguably mankind's greatest invention. It's come such a long way too. Just a couple of decades ago, who could've imagined that through copper, fibre and radio-waves, the world can literally be brought to your doorsteps. Shopping, songs, movies, TV series, books... all a mere click away. Equally, back then, no one (save for a few Cyber-Nostradamuses) could see the danger that this ethereal behemoth would bring. With our whole life stored in bits and bytes, all we have and all we are could be taken away by the marauding pirates of the cyber-seas, with just a few clever lines of codes and an unsuspecting click. Yes, the double edged sword cuts both ways!
On 27 December 2019, the Madrid System is coming into force in Malaysia. And with it, protecting your trademark globally is just an application away. Through the Madrid System, one application can cover up to 121 countries in the world. But beware! Much like the internet, this application superhighway goes both ways. For although it opens up the world to Malaysian businesses, it also opens up Malaysia to the world. For a foreign company with hegemonic intentions, or worse, a trademark squatter (an extortionist who registers trademarks just to sell them back to the owners), your precious trademark is just a tick box away.
Sure! There are ways to get your trademark back. But because the law usually sees the person who has registered a trademark as its rightful owner, anyone who says otherwise will have to fight an uphill legal battle to reclaim the rights to his trademark from the guy who has beaten you the punch. So if your trademark is registered by someone else, you will have to fork out tens or even hundreds of thousands to hopefully get it back. Or... you can walkaway, tail between your legs and rebrand!
Alas, in this game of trademark, there's no consolation for coming second. And with Madrid around the corner, you better move fast to secure your trademark before it belongs to someone else! Like what the good doctor says, better be safe now then to deal with the puking and pooping mess a few months down the road.