When initiating commercial or business activities anywhere in the world, one of the issues that should not escape the attention of entrepreneurs is the legalization of their intellectual property assets. This includes elements of their brand and products, such as distinctive signs – commercial slogans, slogans, trade names – or invention patents, software, and other key revenue generators.
For entrepreneurs in Ecuador, local legislation offers a way to protect your commercial ideas and inventions, and ensure you profit from your innovations.
Intellectual property rights in Ecuador
In Ecuadorian legislation, a brand corresponds to a sign that distinguishes a service or product from others of the same class or branch. It can be represented by custom characteristics such as a word, numbers, a symbol, a logo, a design, a sound, a smell, texture, or a combination of these. For the purposes of trademark registration, your application must distinguish the types and classes of marks you want to protect.
If you’re about to begin corporate activities in Ecuador, or if you have already established a company, it’s important you understand the process you must follow to register, and therefore protect, the property rights of your brand(s).
Likewise, it is important to identify and be clear that the only authorized public institution charged with managing this registration process in Ecuador is the National Intellectual Rights Services (SENADI).
Trademark preliminary search
As part of the evolution of the electronic government of Ecuador, in recent years the trademark registration process has undergone an interesting process of evolution. In this sense, since 2018, much of the process for registering a brand is executed online on the SENADI platform.
Prior to the submission of a trademark application, SENADI will work to verify that there are no similar trademarks or other protections in the market to yours. The agency will initiate a ‘búsqueda fonética’, or phonetic search.
The cost for this inquiry is US$16. Once you’ve obtained a positive result in the phonetic search, you can proceed with your trademark application.
The core steps of the trademark registration are helpfully centralized on the SENADI website. To use this online service, you must create a username and password and complete your application through the platform.
The main steps to register your trademark in Ecuador include:
- Creating a ‘virtual locker’ where you’ll receive all notifications regarding your application and following procedures. This is done online in the account connected with your username.
- Once your virtual locker is up and running, you have to fill out the ‘Online Registration Request’ – fill out all necessary fields in the online form and provide any supplementary documentation requested.
- Pay the fees: additional to the phonetic search, the application process comes with a cost of US$208. You must pay this registration fee at the Bank of the Pacific.
Once the application is submitted, it will be reviewed by expert analysts.
SENADI goes through a routine examination of your application form, checking that it meets all the requirements.
Once screened, your trademark is published in the country’s ‘Gaceta de Propiedad Intelectual’ or Intellectual Property Gazette. This publication communicates all new trademark registrations for public knowledge. The Gaceta gives people or businesses the opportunity to object to any applications before they’re approved.
If there is no opposition to this registration request, the procedure concludes with the issuance of the trademark, granted by SENADI.
The process takes approximately 6 months for the registered trademark from the time of application.
What benefits does a trademark registration generate?
Consider how the trademark could protect your intellectual property assets. With a trademark, you get exclusive rights to the item or brand characteristic registered, and you mitigate piracy risks. This includes:
- Protection of your trademarked item in Ecuadorian territory
- The right of registration priority in the countries of the Andean Community of Nations (Colombia, Peru and Bolivia), within the first six months of filing the application in Ecuador
- Right to file civil, criminal and administrative legal actions against those who violate your ownership rights for their commercial gain
- Power to restrict the importation of goods that use trademarks that infringe your own
- Right to grant licenses to third parties and collect royalties
- Right to franchise your product or service
- Transfer rights of your brand to third parties
- Possibility to guarantee a credit with your brand
By registering your brand it becomes an intangible asset, which in many cases becomes the most valuable asset of your company.
Contact us for help
If you are interested in registering a brand or a trade name in Latin America and need assistance to comply with the processes derived from these activities, we can help. Our tailored market entry and back-office solutions include expert legal and commercial advice and reputation from our local teams.
Contact one of our country managers in Ecuador or another of our Latin American jurisdictions at [email protected]. We will provide the support you need to ensure the long-term success of your business in Latin America.