By Arif Shahriar 


The Trademark Law Treaty was adopted on October 27, 1994 at a Diplomatic Conference in Geneva. The principle of the Trademark Law Treaty is to simplify as well as harmonize the administrative procedures in respect of national applications and the protection of marks. Individual countries may become party to the Treaty as well as intergovernmental organizations which uphold an office for the registration of trademarks with effects in the territory of its member States. The provisions of the Treaty are supplemented by the Regulations and Model International Forms. The Treaty does not deal with the substantive parts of trademark law covering the registration of marks. The Treaty entered into force on August 1, 1996.

According to Article 2, the Treaty applies to marks for goods as well as services. Collective marks, certification marks and guarantee marks are not covered by the Treaty. Registration of these marks usually requires the completion of special, vastly varying conditions in the different countries. Holograms and non-visible signs, such as sound marks and olfactory marks are also excluded from the range of application. They do not easily reproduced by graphic means and because only very few countries offer for the protection of these marks in their national law.

Article 3 of the Treaty contains a comprehensive list of information which may be required by an Office in respect of an application for the registration of a trademark. For instance, the name and address of the applicant and of the representative. No Office may want other information than that referred to in the Treaty. Such as an extract from a Commercial Register, an indication that the applicant is carrying out an industrial or commercial activity or that the applicant is carrying out an activity corresponding to the goods or services listed in the application. The similar application may relate to several goods or services. The Office must admit the application irrespective of whether the goods or services belong to numerous classes of the Nice Classification. In this case the application must lead to a single registration. An Office cannot decline an application in writing on paper if it is on a form corresponding to the model application form contained in the Regulations.

Article 4 of the Treaty permits a Contracting Party to require that the representative of an applicant or a holder be a representative admitted to practice before its Office. According to this provision the power of attorney may relate to numerous existing or future applications or registrations. The grant of a filing date is necessary in view of the rights which come into existence on that date and in view of the possibility of claiming a right of priority effective from the said date in respect of successive applications in other countries. Article 5 of the Treaty provides for the utmost information that an Office may necessitate for the grant of a filing date. These comprise the identification of the applicant, information adequate to contact the applicant or his representative, a reproduction of the mark, a list of the goods and services for which registration is sought. Article 8 of the Treaty holds provisions in respect of the signature and other means allowing the identification of the source of a communication such as the filing of an application to the Office.