Costa Rica Intellectual Property Registration
In Costa Rica, the rights to industrial and intellectual property are guaranteed by the Constitution, which in its Section 47 states that “Any author, inventor, producer or merchant shall temporarily have the exclusive property of its inventions, trademarks and commercial names, all according to the law”. Trademarks, commercial names and the advertising slogans are distinction signs regulated in this country by the Law of Trademarks and other Distinction Signs, No. 7978 of January 6, 2000, and it’s Regulations.
Costa Rica is also a signatory of several international agreements related to intellectual and industrial property rights (TRIPS, Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Convention establishing WIPO, Bern Convention, among others).
Types and classification of distinction signs
- Trademark: Section Two of the Law of Trademarks and other Distinction Signs defines “trademark” as: “any sign or combination of signs that allows the distinction between the goods or services belonging to a person from the ones belonging to another person, for the reason of such being considered sufficiently different or capable of identifying the goods or services to which they apply, before the ones in their same species or class”. Trademarks may be constituted by words or word combinations, letters, numbers, graphical elements, figures, monograms, pictures, labels, patterns, illustrations, among others, as well as by the form or presentation of products or services. The same criteria apply for commercial names.
According to the indicated Law of Trademarks and other Distinction Signs, the products and services to be protected by a trademark are classified according to the International Classification of Products and Services of Nice. Based on such classification, each trademark must be filed indicating the specific class for its registration, according to the products and services to be protected. Property of a trademark is acquired for ten years, renewable for identical terms at the owner’s request.
- Commercial name: The above-indicated Law defines the “commercial name” as: “the denominative or a mixed sign that identifies and distinguishes a company or a specific commercial establishment”. The commercial name is a distinctive sign created exclusively for the identification of a business or commercial establishment, and the difference between it and a trademark is that the commercial name does not protect the services or products that the business or commercial establishment manufactures, sales or provides.
Additionally, commercial names are not classified according to the international trademarks classifications (as trademarks are) indicated above, instead, they are required to indicate the type of business for which they will be registered. The registration of a commercial name is for an indefinite term and it is terminated with the extinction of the business that owns it.
- Advertising slogans: The “advertising slogan” or “commercial advertising slogan” is a distinction sign defined as a: “slogan, advertisement, motto, phrase, combination of words, design, engraving, or any other similar, as long as it is original, characteristic and it is used to catch the attention of consumers and users on a specific product, service, business, establishment or commercial establishment”.
The application for an advertising slogan requires referring to the full file or registration number of the specific trademark or commercial name that the advertising slogan will promote.
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