Intellectual property in Costa Rica,
Summarized by MSc Licda. Gabriela Elizondo A.
2016 - Translated from the original Spanish text.
Lisbon Agreement Regarding the Protection of the Denominations of Origin and their International Registration. This international treaty includes Costa Rica and establishes a system of international recognition of denominations of origin, registered in each of the member nations, which today surpasses 30 countries.
The owner of a commercial name or Logo, has the exclusive right to prevent, third parties from using identical or similar signs or names for the same business, or for the same products or services or related products and services, if done so without the owner’s consent.
Industrial Property is one of the two branches that conform the Intellectual Property division and includes everything related to patents, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications and designations of origin.
In Costa Rica, the governing institution in the field of Intellectual Property, is the National Registry which is the only government entity authorized to register, protect and disclose these acts. For Industrial Property, there is a specialized registry that matriculates and protects logos, brands or names that distinguish one company, product or service.
Due to the importance of this issue in society, we want our esteemed clientele to understand the importance of registering their trademarks, logos, and business names, but in this article, we will exclusively explain trademarks.
Although trademark registration is not mandatory, it must be protected because its registration grants the owner the exclusive right to prevent others from using the same or similar trademark for the same/similar products or services and thereby avoid confusion among consumers.
It is any sign or combination of signs that allows a consumer to distinguish assets, products or services from one another. In other words, they are those signs that businesses and consumers use to identify and distinguish products or services on the market. Refer to: (Art. 2 Trademark Law and Other Distinctive Signs N°7978, Costa Rica)
A trademark can consist of a sign or combination thereof, as well as including words or group of words, personal names, letters, numbers, figures, monograms, portraits, labels, badges, prints, vignettes, borders, lines or stripes, combinations and arrangements of colors as well as sounds.
They also may consist of the form, presentation or conditioning of the products, its packaging or wrappings or the means or places of sale of products or corresponding services. (Article 3 of the Trademark Law and Other Distinctive Signs, N°7978, Costa Rica.)
The main function or purpose of the Trademark: It is to enable consumers to identify and distinguish a product or service as well as their business/company origin. Also, they serve as an advertising channel thereof and can be an important business asset.
The “priority” is the benefit that a person can obtain regarding the presentation of the first application for trademark registration by filing a subsequent application of the same trademark, in some other country. This applies to those who have correctly submitted a trademark application before the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
The priority right lasts for six months from the day following the presentation of the priority application and will be invoked through an express declaration that must be made with the registration application or within a period of two months.
The period of validity of a trademark is for 10 years from its date of registration and the protection is National.
Renovation: This can be requested and presented within the year prior to expiration or within 6 months after the expiration date of the trademark.
The holder of a trademark has the exclusive right to prevent, without their consent, third parties from using identical or similar trademarks for the same products or services or for similar products and services.
MSc Licda Gabriela Elizondo Aplizar.
Uvita Law Firm, 2016, Costa Rica.