Singapore Treaty on the Law of TrademarksSenate Consideration of Treaty Document 110-2
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[Senate Treaty Document 110-2] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] 110th Congress 1st Session SENATE Treaty Doc. 110-2 _______________________________________________________________________ SINGAPORE TREATY ON THE LAW OF TRADEMARKS __________ MESSAGE from THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES transmitting THE SINGAPORE TREATY ON THE LAW OF TRADEMARKS (THE ``TREATY'' OR ``SINGAPORE TREATY'') ADOPTED AND SIGNED BY THE UNITED STATES AT SINGAPORE ON MARCH 28, 2006 May 3, 2007.--The Treaty was read the first time, and together with the accompanying papers, referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations and ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL ---------- The White House, May 3, 2007. To the Senate of the United States: I transmit herewith for the Senate's advice and consent to ratification the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks (the ``Treaty'' or ``Singapore Treaty'') adopted and signed by the United States at Singapore on March 28, 2006. I also transmit for the information of the Senate a report of the Department of State with respect to the Treaty. If ratified by the United States, the Treaty would offer significant benefits to U.S. trademark owners and national trademark offices, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The beneficial features of the Trademark Law Treaty of 1994 (the ``1994 TLT''), to which the United States is a party, are included in the Singapore Treaty, as well as the improvements to the 1994 TLT that the United States Government sought to achieve through the revision effort. Key improvements allow for national trademark offices to take advantage of electronic communication systems as an efficient and cost-saving alternative to paper communications, at such time as the office is ready to embrace the technology. The Treaty also includes trademark license recordation provisions that reduce the formalities that trademark owners face when doing business in a country that is a Contracting Party that requires trademark license recordation. The goal of these provisions is to reduce the damaging effects that can result from failure to record a license in those jurisdictions that require recordation. These and other improvements create a more attractive treaty for World Intellectual Property Organization Member States. Consequently, once the Treaty is in force, it is expected to increase the efficiency of national trademark offices, which in turn is expected to create efficiencies and cost savings for U.S. trademark owners registering and maintaining trademarks abroad. Ratification of the Treaty is in the best interests of the United States. I recommend, therefore, that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Treaty and give its advice and consent to ratification. George W. Bush. LETTER OF SUBMITTAL ---------- Department of State, Washington, DC, March 29, 2007. The President, The White House. The President: I have the honor hereby to submit to you, with a view to its transmittal to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification, the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks (the ``Treaty'' or ``Singapore Treaty''), adopted and signed by the United States at Singapore on March 28, 2006. This Treaty was adopted under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (``WIPO'') with the objective of simplifying the process of applying for and maintaining trademark registrations and trademark license recordations in those countries or intergovernmental organizations that are parties to the Treaty (``Contracting Parties''). The Singapore Treaty revises the WIPO Trademark Law Treaty of 1994 (`` 1994 TLT''), to which the United States is a party along with 37 other parties. The revisions improve upon the 1994 TLT and are intended to make the Singapore Treaty more attractive to prospective Contracting Parties, and thus expand the benefits of the Treaty, if ratified, to U.S. trademark owners filing in other countries. The Singapore Treaty contains virtually all of the same provisions as those of the 1994 TLT, but revises aspects of the 1994 TLT to: allow national trademark offices to accept only electronic filings, if they so choose; require trademark offices to grant relief to trademark owners who fail to comply with certain time limits; impose limits on license recordation requirements and on penalties associated with failure to record licenses; create an Assembly to deal with matters concerning the Treaty; and clarify the administrative tasks to be performed by WIPO's International Bureau under the Treaty. The U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative join the Department of State in requesting that the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks be transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification as soon as possible. Respectfully submitted. Condoleezza Rice. Enclosure: Key Provisions of the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks. key provisions of the singapore treaty on the law of trademarks The Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks (the ``Treaty'' or ``Singapore Treaty'') contains virtually all of the same provisions as the 1994 Trademark Law Treaty (``1994 TLT'') with additional provisions that would, if the Treaty were ratified, provide further benefits for U.S. trademark owners. The 1994 is designed to harmonize formalities and simplify procedures in the, application for registration and renewal of trademarks by establishing maximum requirements that parties to the treaty can impose on trademark applicants and holders. From the brand owner's perspective, the 1994 TLT saves time and money in trademark prosecution and maintenance. The Singapore Treaty improves upon the 1994 TLT by: (1) allowing national trademark offices to accept only electronic filings, if they so choose; (2) providing relief measures for failures to comply with certain time limits; (3) imposing limits on license recordal requirements and on penalties associated with failure to record licenses; (4) creating an Assembly to deal with matters concerning the Treaty; and (5) clarifying the role of the World Intellectual Property Organization's (``WIPO'') International Bureau in administering the Treaty. Elimination of Paper Requirements Article 8 provides that any party to the Treaty (``Contracting Party'') may choose whether it accepts communications on paper, or in any other form. By contrast, several provisions of the 1994 TLT, which are not included in the Singapore Treaty, require domestic trademark offices (such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office) to accept trademark applications submitted in paper form. Relief Measures for Failure To Comply With Time Limits Article 14 requires Contracting Parties to provide for at least one type of relief measure for trademark applicants that fail to comply with specific time limits during the trademark application process who apply for such relief. This relief can take the form of: (1) extension of time to comply; (2) continued processing; or (3) reinstatement of rights. Limits on License Recordal Requirements Certain countries (but not the United States) require that trademark licenses that are issued by trademark owners be recorded in an official register. Articles 17 and 18 impose limitations on the types of requirements that can be imposed with respect to recordal of a license. Additionally, Articles 19 and 20 prohibit Contracting Parties from depriving trademark owners or licensees of certain legal rights simply because of a failure to record a license. Assembly and International Bureau Article 23 creates an Assembly constituted by the Contracting Parties to deal with matters concerning the Treaty. It also provides for voting rules for decisions of the Assembly. Of note, this Treaty (as does the 1994 TLT) allows certain intergovernmental organizations to become Contracting Parties. Article 23 also specifies that any Contracting Party that is an intergovernmental organization may participate in a vote, in place of the Member States of which it is comprised, with a number of votes equal to the number of its Member States that are Contracting Parties. It further provides that no such organization shall participate in the vote if any of its Member States exercises its right to vote and vice versa. Article 24 clarifies the administrative tasks to be performed by WIPO's International Bureau related to the Treaty. Application of the 1994 TLT and the Singapore Treaty Article 27 clarifies that with respect to relations between Contracting Parties to the Singapore Treaty and the 1994 TLT, the Singapore Treaty applies. The Article also clarifies that a Contracting Party to both the Singapore Treaty and the 1994 TLT shall continue to apply the 1994 TLT in its relations with a party to the 1994 TLT that is not a Contracting Party to the Singapore Treaty. Implementing Legislation In the event that the Senate provides its advice and consent to ratify this Treaty, the United States would not be required to enact any implementing legislation as the United States is already in compliance with the provisions of the Treaty.