We continue with our highlights of key case studies giving you practical insights on how companies across various industries use the Madrid System globally to their advantage. Our latest study focuses on Panasonic, the renowned Japanese electronics corporation.
Panasonic provides a wide range of products and services that are used in consumers’ daily lives worldwide. Over the years, Panasonic introduced several business brands to achieve further growth and greater brand value in each area of business.
Discover how, with such a varied portfolio and an expansion strategy geared internationally, Panasonic uses the Madrid System to simplify the administrative procedures and greatly reduce costs.
Panasonic provides a wide range of products and services that are used in people’s daily lives. They include home appliances, the electronic components used in them, housing and various services. Through their business activities, they are working hard to advance society and to enhance people’s quality of life. In 2008, the company changed its name from the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd to the Panasonic Corporation. At the same time, it changed its National home appliances and housing equipment brand name in Japan to Panasonic, thereby consolidating that brand name domestically.
In 2018, the company marked the hundredth anniversary of its founding by Konosuke Matsushita. Since its foundation, the company has been thoroughly committed to creating a better life for its consumers through its businesses. Under the brand slogan of “A Better Life, A Better World”, which expresses their management philosophy, they aim to achieve the happiness of people around the world through their four core business areas: consumer electronics, housing, automotive and B2B.
Principles regarding Brand Name
The Panasonic brand identity is defined by the brand promise, brand slogan and brand value. The brand promise represents the promise which the Panasonic brand makes to customers. The brand slogan is the slogan that concisely expresses the brand promise: “A Better Life, A Better World.” The brand value is described using three words: Visionary, Refined, and Trusted. It is the value that employees keep in mind to achieve the brand slogan.
In addition, Panasonic introduced business brands to achieve further growth and greater brand value in each area of business. The corporate brand represents the characteristics of, and embodies their confidence in Panasonic, and provides an overall picture of their corporate activities. The business brands are used to promote the identity of individual businesses and are classified into three categories in accordance with their relationship to the Panasonic brand: Panasonic business brands, Panasonic-endorsed business brands and individual business brands.
International trademark strategies and advantages of using the Madrid system
Registering trademarks in countries where it operates is essential to enhancing and protecting brand value. The corporation has registered the Panasonic brand in all jurisdictions with trademark systems. It has also filed applications to register trademarks for its individual product brands and brand slogan.
As Panasonic needs to register its trademarks in the multiple countries in which it operates, the corporation proactively uses the Madrid System because of its advantages in terms of cost, simplified procedures and the right of priority based on the date the application was filed. Another advantage is the simplicity of the administrative procedures, such as for renewing international registration and changing the holder’s name.
On the other hand, as a matter of practicality and given the possibility of a central attack, it may consider filing a trademark registered overseas as a basic mark if it thinks that there is little chance of a particular basic mark being registered with a given national office. Where many goods and services are to be covered, such as with the corporate brand name, it uses the Madrid System owing to its ease of use in terms of receiving notifications to make amendments during examinations in the Offices of the designated Contracting Parties. The stability of trademark rights under the Madrid Protocol is another benefit.
Example of using the Madrid system
Panasonic (International Registration Number 1211986 and others)
“Panasonic” is the corporate brand. The Panasonic brand name was created in 1955 and was first used as a brand for audio speakers exported to overseas markets. It is a combination of the words “pan” (universal) and “sonic” (sound) and conveys the meaning of bringing the sound that the company creates to the world. Since 2008, “Panasonic” has been used as the corporate brand representing the company and its products and services.
In 2013 and 2018, it used the Madrid System to file an international application for “Panasonic” in order to obtain rights for its latest range of goods and services. In addition to the countries designated in its original international trademark registration, the subsequent designation has allowed Panasonic to expand the geographical scope of protection, extending the rights to markets where the company plans to expand its business and to countries that have joined the Madrid System more recently.
The biggest benefit of using the Madrid System has been a significant reduction in labor costs. When filing a bundle of national applications in each target market, the application fee and registration fee may differ by country, depending on the number of goods and services to be covered. The Madrid System, by contrast, requires the applicant to pay only one set of fees for trademark protections in multiple territories and, unless a refusal of protection is issued, there is no need to appoint a local representative in a given country, which constitutes a cost saving. That has proven especially useful when filing international applications, for example for its corporate brand, in various categories and in multiple jurisdictions.
The Madrid System: The Way Forward
The Madrid System benefits a global business like Panasonic. It files through the Madrid System when filing applications to multiple member countries. The more countries it files in, the greater the benefits in using the Madrid System. It will therefore continue to use it. In addition, the Global Brand Database of the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Madrid Monitor are powerful online tools available upon filing trademark applications with functions that seem to be constantly evolving. Panasonic warmly welcomes the fact that its major markets overseas have been joining the Madrid Protocol and is confident that the Madrid System will become still more convenient to use.