Conducting a trademark search in Central America is the best way to protect your business and distinguish it from other companies. It is a crucial pre-emptive step before applying to register a trademark when expanding your business in the region.
In this article, we will help you understand all aspects you need to consider to conduct a trademark search in Central America appropriately.
Classify your business to conduct an appropriate trademark search in Central America
To start a trademark registration in Central America you need to consider the following elements:
- The name or brand you want to register
- The product/service you’re providing to conduct your business.
The registration of a trademark might not be successful if your company/product name is similar to others. In some countries, just the name similarity prevents the registration of the brand. The conflict between two identical trademarks would be a huge setback in the process, as it will take much more time to be completed.
Before applying for a trademark, you need to know how your business is classified according to the Nice Classification.
Before you begin: understanding the Nice Classification System
Understanding the Nice Classification System is particularly important. It outlines a system of products and services eligible for intellectual property protection, adopted by a significant number of countries worldwide. The Nice Classification System allows users to specify their business activities and therefore, the market that will be covered by their trademark.
There are 45 different categories under this classification system. Classes 1-34 are assigned to goods, services are categorized under classes 35-45. Keep in mind that the cost of registering a trademark in Central America will depend on the number of class categories you’re applying for.
The Nice Classification applies to all those countries which signed the Paris Union/Agreement in 1883. However, it also applies for:
- European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
- International Bureau of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- Trademarks registered under the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI).
- Trademarks registered under the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO).
Conduct a trademark search in Central America
Once you understand how to classify the products or services that your company provides, you’ll be able to verify the availability of your unique signs by conducting an accurate trademark search in the Central American countries of your choice.
Trademark registration in Costa Rica is regulated by the Law on Trademarks and Other Distinctive Signs (Ley de Marcas y Otros Signos Distintivos).
In Costa Rica, the commercial name should not be identical to the name of another registered company. You can check the availability of a commercial name by conducting a search in the National Registry (Registro Nacional) of Costa Rica’s intellectual property.
While a company is operating in Costa Rica, it will have the exclusive right to undertake commercial operations with one specific name/brand. However, if a company has been liquidated, the name can be used by other businesses.
In El Salvador, the National Registry Center (Centro Nacional de Registros), is the public entity in charge of the registering process of registering a trademark in El Salvador.
Business owners can check the availability of their trademark at the Intellectual Property Department (Departamento de Propiedad Intelectual).
In order to conduct a trademark search in El Salvador, we recommend you engage a trademark law specialist who can support you and provide professional advice through the application process.
To conduct a trademark search in Guatemala you must submit an application before the Intellectual Property Registry online platform (Registro de Propiedad Intelectual), or request the trademark search personally at the local institution.
This includes the following aspects:
- Protection of your brand in Guatemalan territory.
- Right to file civil, criminal, and administrative legal actions against those who violate their property rights for their commercial benefit.
- To be able to restrict the import of goods under trademarks that are already in use.
- Right to license third parties and collect royalties.
As with other countries of Central America, registering a trademark in Panama will protect your company name, reputation, and product or service provided under the name of your company. Note that you must also categorize your product or service using the Nice Classification System.
You can conduct the trademark search through the General Directorate of Intellectual Property Registry website (Dirección General de Registro de la Propiedad Intelectual).
In Panama, there are several types of trademarks that businesses can apply for, such as:
- Expressions or propaganda signs
- Commercial names and associations.
Conduct a trademark search in Central America with specialist support
Be secure in your research by engaging with a specialist to conduct a trademark search in Central America. If you are interested in registering a trademark in Central America and need assistance to comply with the processes derived from these activities, we can help. Working with trusted legal providers ensures due diligence in confirming the availability of your trademark, and a speedy application process with minimal delay.
At Biz Latin Hub, our customized market entry and back-office solutions provide expert legal and commercial advice for the registration of trademarks. This includes conducting a thorough trademark search in Central America.
Contact our team of specialists and get key guidance on conducting your trademark search and registration in Central America. We will provide you the support necessary to guarantee the long-term success of your business in Central America.
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