The importance of registering your trade names and trademarks in Costa Rica

If you have your trademarks registered in other countries and consider that such registration(s) will protect your trademark as well as your business and operation in Costa Rica, you better reconsider your position since that is not correct. The registration of your industrial property before having an operation in Costa Rica is crucial, in order to correctly protect your trademark and/or commercial name. This will consequently provide protection for your company’s operation in the country and the use or commercialization of your IP rights in Costa Rica.

There have been multiple cases of companies having to change their trademarks and logos because a third party already registered or requested them, or there is a previously registered or requested trademark having a similar denomination or logo . This situation may represent a challenging, expensive and time demanding process against such trademark owner or applicant. Additionally, this will  probably jeopardize the company’s operation in Costa Rica. The recommendation will be to file the trademark application before initiating operations in the country, especially taking into account that it is not an expensive procedure.  

In order to proceed with the filing of a trademark application in Costa Rica, and to determine the possibilities of success when registering it, it is highly recommended to previously do an availability search at the Costa Rican Industrial Property Register’s database. Once you review and evaluate the results obtained from the availability search, and if you still want to proceed with your trademark application, you will need to follow some steps and requirements for the correct filing and registration of your trademark.

For filing a petition for the registration of a trademark at the Costa Rican Industrial Property Register, you will need to grant a special power of attorney, which requires specific content and information. Such document must be signed by the applicant or its legal representative, and notarized by a Public Notary (it is not required the legalization of the special power of attorney at the Costa Rican Consulate). You will also need a clear final copy of the trademark’s logo or design (if any) in full color, especially if the colors are to be protected.

Once the application is completed and filed, it will be reviewed by an official from the Costa Rican Industrial Property Register, and if there are no objections or requests for changes by such official, a legal notice will be issued and published in the official government newspaper “La Gaceta”. From such publication, there is a 2 month term for any third party to file oppositions against the Costa Rican trademark application. If there are no oppositions filed within such term, then the trademark will be registered. This means that if there are no oppositions against the trademark application.  If there were no oppositions filed, the applicant must request the Costa Rican Industrial Property Register to issue the corresponding trademark certificate. According to the above indicated, if there are no oppositions filed against the trademark application the registration procedure normally takes approximately 3 to 4 months from the official filing date before the Costa Rican Industrial Property Register. The trademark registration has a validity term of 10 years, after which renewals may be filed.