Following on from the eagerly anticipated accession of India to the Madrid Protocol, now it is the turn of Rwanda to join up. We will be able to designate Rwanda in a Madrid Protocol application from 17 August 2013.
Rwanda will become the 91st member of the Madrid family. Having joined the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs in August 2011, Rwanda is proving to be keen on international arrangements in intellectual property.
Formerly a German colony and then under Belgian administration, Rwanda has a Civil law system (although nowadays Rwanda is also now a member of the Commonwealth).
This Civil law history should mean its Madrid Protocol membership is automatic and requires no legislative amendments locally (although, of course, the Office of the Registrar General may need to make some operational changes). This does mean that the enforceability of International Registrations designating Rwanda is not in question, which is not the case for many African Madrid members with a Common Law legal system.
Rwanda joins Kenya as the only other member of the East African Community to also be a member of the Madrid Protocol. Rwanda will become the 16th member of the Madrid Union in Africa (although again note the questionable enforceability of International Registrations to some African countries).
Welcome aboard Rwanda!