Register a trademark in El Salvador to protect your brand and company’s profitability in the country. The process includes carrying out a comprehensive trademark search in El Salvador.
El Salvador’s economic landscape offers great opportunities for foreign business. El Salvador is a small country with a set of stable revenue generators and the potential for development lies in almost every sector.
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El Salvador’s new President, Nayib Bukele, has been dubbed the ‘candidate of change’, and his intention is to achieve exactly that, especially regarding the country’s commercial environment.
Businesses looking to take advantage of El Salvador’s increasingly attractive business conditions should research their rights regarding intellectual property protections, and learn how to mobilize them.
Register a Trademark in El Salvador and Protect Your Intellectual Property
Being the smallest country by population in Central America, El Salvador is looking to diversify its economy and reliance on traditional sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and commerce. Remittances from Salvadoran workers in the United States make up a large percentage of the country’s GDP. In 2018, remittances totaled US$5.4 billion (21.3% of GDP).
In recent years, the government has tried to improve ease of doing business in El Salvador, and increase levels of foreign investment, by introducing a number of regulation reforms in areas such as taxation, importing and exporting, accessing permits, and property.
Doing business in El Salvador gives investors the opportunity to stake their claim in almost any market sector and encounter few barriers from competition. The country’s small clutch of economic strengths and its government’s appetite for development, has created opportunities in many sectors for foreign businesses to make their mark.
Before diving in, it is worth learning how to get the right protection for your business’ intellectual property, so your work remains profitable in the country. When you are ready to register a trademark in El Salvador, follow the steps below.
Process to Register a Trademark in El Salvador
The National Registry Center, or Centro Nacional de Registros, with its Intellectual Property Registry, is the national authority in charge of the trademark registration process. There are 6 main steps that must be followed to register a trademark in El Salvador.
1. Conduct a Trademark Search in El Salvador
It is recommended to perform a trademark search in El Salvador, but this first step in the process is not mandatory. The purpose of the trademark search is to confirm there are no other signs registered that are similar to your distinctive signs. An existing design too close to that of your own could hinder the registration of IP protection for your brand.
To complete the trademark search, you may wish to engage a trademark law specialist in El Salvador who can support you. They may also assist you in preparing your trademark application.
2. Presentation of the Application
Once the trademark search for your distinctive sign has been completed, the next step is to present the trademark application before the Intellectual Property Registry. A completed application must contain the design you wish to protect and a description of the products it identifies.
At this step in the process, it is important that you can characterize your company’s products and distinctive signs.
Once the application for registering a trademark in El Salvador is submitted and has been downloaded by the Registry, you will not be able to modify it. During the evaluation process you cannot expand the range of products or services that are identified with your trademark.
3. Publishing Your Trademark Application
If your application for registration of a distinctive sign is accepted by the Registry of Intellectual Property, you will be given what is known as a set of “posters.” The posters must be published in the National Printing Office of El Salvador (known in Spanish as Imprenta Nacional de El Salvador) and any other newspaper of greater circulation in El Salvador. In the publication you present your design to the public, so that any business with a similar design has the opportunity make a formal objection.
You have a period of 6 months from the delivery of the posters by the Registry of Intellectual Property to publish them. If you do not do so within that period, your distinctive sign is declared abandoned, and the trademark registration process is considered closed.
4. Presentation of Publications
2 months after the publication of the posters in the National Printing Office of El Salvador, you must return to the Intellectual Property Registry with the published posters as proof, and request the registration of your distinctive sign.
5. Trademark Application Review
After your trademark registration application is submitted and the posters are published, the Registry of Intellectual Property will conduct a second review. This review focuses primarily on any opposition made by the public to the registration of your sign.
6. Approval and Trademark Registration in El Salvador
In the case that there is no third-party opposition, the Registry will notify you to proceed with the registration of your distinctive sign. You will then have to pay the registration fees. Once the payment is made you will be given a trademark certificate for your distinctive sign.
Period of Validity
The lifespan for your registered trademark is 10 years. You can renew the registration, but you must do so within this 10-year period (i.e. before the expiry date).
You must be very precise when describing the scope of the services and products that your sign protects or identifies, as once it is registered you will not be able to modify this. For future-proofing purposes, make sure you fully understand the specifications you want to attach to this design.
You can renew your trademark up to 12 months before the expiration date. Additionally, there is a grace period of six (6) months after the expiration date for late renewals, but a surcharge will apply. It is important to note that although a trademark doesn’t necessarily have to be in use for registration, if it remains unused for five (5) consecutive years, third parties may initiate trademark cancellation based on non-use.
Commonly Asked Questions on Trademark Registration in El Salvador
Based on our extensive experience these are some common questions from clients registering a trademark in El Salvador:
– The Applicant`s Contact Information (Business name, business ID number, country of incorporation, phone number, office address, email address, etc.).
– Determine the class of your products/services to be registered in the International (Nice) Classification of Goods and Services.
– A detailed description of the brand, origin, design, general description, and business activity.
– The date at which you commenced using your brand commercially.
– If you wish to register your logo along with your brand, we request that you provide the logo in JPG format.
The timeframe to register a trademark is 6 months, provided there is no opposition from third parties.
Register a Trademark in El Salvador with Trusted Experts
Intellectual property is a very valuable asset for companies, because it serves their image and market positioning. Protecting your brand ensures you stay competitive in your chosen market.
At Biz Latin Hub, we have a team of professionals who can provide you with advice and assistance regarding the complexities of registering your trademark in El Salvador and managing your exclusive intellectual property rights.
If you want to know more about the subject, contact our friendly El Salvador team via en Biz Latin Hub for personalized support. We are ready to help you get started.