The European Union Intellectual Property Office2 treats the EU designation in a slightly different way from the applications submitted directly to them; For more information, visit our separate page. The protocol has been in force since 1996 and has 100 members, making it more popular than the agreement, which has been in force for more than 110 years and has 55 members.  The main reason why the protocol is more popular than the agreement is that the protocol has introduced a number of changes to the Madrid system that have greatly improved its usefulness for trademark holders. In 1966 and 1967, efforts were made to address this problem by creating a new treaty that would reflect the needs of the time, not the world of the 1890s, when the agreement was adopted. This led to the development of the Trademark Registration Treaty (TRT), which was adopted in Vienna in 1973 and came into force in 1980 with five States Parties, namely Burkina Faso, Congo, Gabon, the Soviet Union and Togo. Given that there were no other TRT memberships and that the number of registrations had been low since its inception, it was clear that the TRT would probably not have supplanted the Madrid agreement. For example, it is possible, under the protocol, to obtain an international registration on the basis of a pending trademark application, so that a trademark holder can, simultaneously or immediately after, file an application in a Member State, effectively apply for an international registration. In comparison, the agreement requires that the trademark holder already have an existing registration in a member jurisdiction, which can often take many months and sometimes years. Moreover, the agreement does not allow for the “conversion” of international records that have been “centrally attacked”. In the run-up to the establishment of a multi-judicial (or at least pan-European) Community brand, the relevance of the Madrid system has been tested. Pressure on WIPO to maintain its relevance and strengthens the agreement by increasing the number of members, possibly through amendments. This culminated in the introduction of the Madrid Protocol, which stated that a Community trademark could be a “foundation registration” or “original registration”, on which an international registration could then be made.
This mechanism is called “interconnection determination.” The protocol was signed as a result of significant WIPO lobbying efforts by many countries, including most of the current members of the Madrid Agreement, and by some European Union member countries, but which were not members of the Madrid Agreement.