With the right momentum and enablers at their disposal, companies can experience consistent growth that support their eventual expansion either regionally or globally. More than ever the Latin American region is grabbing some of the spotlight as the fastest-growing region in the world. Businesses are gaining momentum and expanding into regional and local markets.
El Salvador is one of the contributors to this growth, offering a key strategic location for businesses to appeal to their Northern and Southern partners.
Companies developing their brand and recognition in El Salvador and in an increasingly globalized commercial context need to know their business ideas and creations will remain profitable. In this Central American country, intellectual property (IP) regulations and international cooperation protect a business’ distinctive signs, brand and other markings.
Intellectual property scope
IP frameworks take many forms and definitions in different markets. In El Salvador, protected commercial markings include words, symbols and signs, and advertisements. The Centro Nacional de Registros (National Registry Center) is the responsible government authority for managing IP procedures.
They’re intangible assets that are not easily valued, but their intrinsic value to the company’s brand and image to its consumers needs to be shielded from misuse or imitation by others for commercial gain. It’s important that an expanding business takes care to register their distinctive signs as early as possible to avoid problems with commercial infringements later on down the track.
We offer a general summary regarding IP types in El Salvador to keep your branding exclusive and secure from piracy.
Types of distinctive signs in El Salvador
According to the country’s local IP laws, distinctive signs are defined as:
“any sign that constitutes a trademark, an expression or commercial advertising sign, a commercial name, an emblem, a geographical indication or a designation of origin”.
For your company’s commercial and identity purposes, business owners are usually primarily interested in the country’s protections for brands (as a trademark), commercial names, and expression or commercial advertising signs, each being used for a certain purpose and granting different types of rights.
Under Salvadoran law, a trademark is considered any sign or combination of visually perceptible signs that, by their special characteristics, serve to clearly distinguish the products or services of a natural or legal person, from the products or services of the same class or nature but of different owner.
The ownership of a trademark and the right to its exclusive use is acquired in relation to the products or services for which it has been registered.
A commercial name is a denominative or mixed sign that serves to distinguish a company or establishment. The exclusive right over the commercial name is acquired by its first public use in commerce, and only in relation to the business activity or activity of the company or establishment that it identifies.
If a company has more than one establishment, they can identify each of them by their business name. The exclusive right over the commercial name ends with the termination of the company or the establishment that uses it.
Expression or commercial advertising signs
This category covers any word, legend, advertisement, motto, sentence, combination of words, design, engraving or any other similar means – provided it is original and characteristic – that is used in order to attract the attention of consumers or users about one or more products, services, companies or establishments.
The protection conferred by the registration of an expression or commercial advertising signal covers the expression or signal as a whole and does not extend to its parts or elements considered separately. Trademarks and trade names may be part of an expression or commercial advertising sign, provided they are registered or in the process of being registered in favor of the same owner.
Having now a better idea about the distinctive signs that businesses have at their disposal in el Salvador, entrepreneurs, individuals and business owners can seek the right kind of IP cover that ensures their venture remains profitable.
El Salvador’s improved business environment
Overall, El Salvador is implementing a series of policies and permits to ensure businesses have an easier time complying with local commercial laws. Some examples of this include:
- Online platforms for paying taxes
- Improving access to credit (via the Law on Movable Property)
- Reducing bureaucratic requirements for construction permits
- Greater electricity and logistics facilities.
The country’s recently introduced Inter-Institutional Cooperation Agreement now also makes it easy for Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (MTPS) and the National Center of Records (CNR) to share information between themselves about companies. This makes it easier for institutions to communicate with each other and helps businesses avoid running into administrative obstacles.
Contact us to get started
El Salvador’s business protections and agenda for continuous commercial improvement make it an easy choice in Central America to expand or incorporate a company.
To get started the right way, it is recommended that foreign investors and companies seek out and partner with local experts to help navigate the country’s compliance regulations. Though improving, they can be complex and present new or challenging bureaucratic requirements for those accustomed to other legal frameworks.
In Biz Latin Hub’s El Salvador office, we have a team of professionals who can support you with new business activities or compliance questions. Contact our country coordinator at [email protected] for a quote on our customized business solutions.