ASEAN member countries are moving forward with their initiatives to accede to the Mardird Protocol by the end of 2015 as part of the ASEAN Economic Community building.

To prepare for the admission, an advanced training on the Protocol operations was organised in Singapore on December 9-11 by the ASEAN Secretarial, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the European Union- ASEAN.

The training was implemented under the auspices of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AANZFTA).

Simple, cost-effective mechanisms for protecting intellectual property (IP) in the region enhance ASEAN competitiveness by giving business confidence that their value intellectual assets will be protected if they invest and trade across borders, said the ASEAN Secretariat in a statement.

With the Protocol, ASEAN will make it easier for trademark owners to do business by allowing them to file a single application in one of the accepted languages directly with their own national trademark office and use the application to seek protection in ASEAN and other important markets.

This training was among a series of activities under the Accession to Madrid Protocol Project Phase II, which shifts its focus from awareness raising in Phase I to laying down the groundwork that will allow participating countries to build the necessary structures to enable them to operate the protocol efficiently.

To date, the Philippines , Singapore and Vietnam have acceded to the protocol, which is an international trademark treaty administered by the WIPO.

Other ASEAN member nations are in various stages of the accession.-VNA