Two Cents on the new Industrial Property Law

Maximiliano Santa Cruz Scantlebury
National Director of the National Institute of Industrial Property – INAPI

The National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI) is promoting the substitution of the current Industrial Property number 19.039 by a modern regulation which allows simple, faster and lower cost procedures on trademarks, patents and industrial designs.

The bill seeks to encourage innovation, knowledge transfer and allow consumers to discriminate products and services on a better way. I want to provide two cases, one related to trademarks and another to industrial design. The bill has contemplated the trademark expiration arguing the lack of real and effective use by the owner right or a third party with his consent in the national territory; this rectification pretends to guarantee the indissolubility link between the trademark, the object to be distinguished and the purpose in the market.

With such proposal, INAPI seeks to prevent the blocking on the trademark protection system due to the registry of simple formal rights producing saturation as well; in this way, we avoid the registration of trademarks with no intention to be used in the market and generating blocking for new entrants. The bill forces the registrant to properly use the trademark, with the aim to assure that every register counts with a product or service effectively traded in the market, notwithstanding that might be valid reasons to justify not using it.

In this manner, the owner right will fall into an expiration causal whether has been passed five years from the date of concession and the trademark has not been used in a real and effective way within national territory to distinguish the products or services for which has been granted; or in the case if such using has been uninterruptedly suspended during the same span.

The requirement of using is a demand that almost all countries consider in their trademark legislation. Chile is lagging on this issue and the bill goal is to prevent not using trademarks to impede the introduction of firms willing to use new denomination, either similar or identical, creating a barrier for competitors. In other words, the trademark registration must effectively reflect the reality on the market, because favors free competition and the creation of new businesses.

In the case of industrial design, the current legislation does not favor the national inventors and designers. The industrial design protects the appearances of functional objects, by its form, geometric configuration, and ornamentation or by their combination. Currently the legal proceeding for obtaining the industrial design is performed according to the applicable rules of invention patent; by other meaning, it uses time limit and formalities which are not fitting with his nature. As consequent it has a larger cost and longer processing time, which in many cases exceeds two years, making them a useless tool to foster those kinds of creations in our country. The industrial design is an intangible asset with a short useful life which is easy to copy; therefore a granting procedure as the present does not fit with its nature.

Hence the bill establishes a new procedure with the goal to stimulate the effectiveness on the legal proceeding and by this way adjusts to the needs of national inventors and designers. Having an expedited system for such rights is remarkably important if the aim is supporting entrepreneurs and innovators to protect their creations; therefore these modifications on the new bill are essential to benefit the applicants.

Registering your trademark in Latin America through Madrid System

When an SME wants to register an IPR in different countries there are two alternatives, to apply for the IPR before each national office or to use one of the WIPO international registration systems, namely Madrid System (trademarks), Patent Cooperation Treaty (patents) and Hague System (Designs).

In this post we are going to explain how Madrid System can be a useful tool for EU SMEs that aim to protect their trademarks abroad, benefiting from simpler and cost-effective proceedings.

The Madrid System is not implemented in most Latin American countries. Nevertheless, this situation is expected to change in the near future, therefore EU companies that want to internationalise to Latin America may be interested in registering its trademark through Madrid System on the current members (Colombia, Cuba and Mexico) and hopefully, extend the protection to further members once them enter into the system. madrid-system

What is Madrid System?

Madrid System is the WIPO International Trademark Registration system governed by the Madrid Protocol and Agreement. It allows trademark applicants to apply for registration in various countries simultaneously with a single application.

Who can benefit from the system?

Any national or company from a Member State of the Protocol or the Agreement. All EU Member States have ratified the Protocol.

In which Latin American countries could I apply from protection through Madrid System?

Only a few Latin American countries (Colombia, Cuba and Mexico) are members of the Madrid System.

How does it work?

EU applicants can request an International Trademark Registration before their own national IP office or the EUIPO (Office of Origin). The International application must be based on a prior trademark application or registration (both EU and national trademarks are accepted).

Thereafter the Office of Origin submits the application to WIPO, that performs the formal examination, publishes it on the WIPO Gazette of International Marks, and send it to each national IP office where the applicant want to protect the trademark (Designated Party).

IMPORTANT! Each national office is entitled to perform the substantive examination according to its internal regulation and to reject or register the trademark within 12 months (Cuba) or 18 months (Colombia and Mexico). In case of third parties oppositions, the term in Colombia to reject the trademark might be extended.

Once the trademark is registered in all or some of the countries the renewal and modifications are centralised by WIPO and you can manage it as a single registration.

How much does it cost?la-logo

It strongly depends on the number of countries, the type of trademark and the number of classes for which protection is sough.

We strongly recommend you to check the useful International Application Simulator and Fee calculator offered by WIPO on its website.

What are the main advantages?

Madrid applicants may benefit from certain advantages over those that prefer to register on a country-by-country basis:

  • The trademark is applied for in a single language: English, Spanish or French, without the need of further translations.
  • Applicants benefit from a simplified application proceeding instead filing a bundle of applications before each national office.
  • Each due fee is paid in a single currency (Swiss francs) and a single payment.
  • Any modification, renewal or transfer can be done directly before WIPO with effects in all Designated Parties.
  • As a general rule, it is not mandatory to appoint and pay a representative on each Designated Party except in certain cases (e.g. the trademark is opposed)
  • Once registered, it is possible to extend the International Trademark protection to other countries by means of subsequent designations. This is very useful if the company wants to enter into new markets or if a new Latin American country in which the SME operates enters Madrid System.

Want to know more?

Contact our Helpline!