How to Register a Trademark in El Salvador

Register a trademark in El Salvador to protect your brand and company’s profitability in the country. This includes carrying out a comprehensive trademark search in El Salvador.

El Salvador’s economic landscape offers great opportunities for foreign business. As a small country with a small set of staple revenue generators, potential for development lies in almost every sector.

El Salvador’s new President, Nayib Bukele, was dubbed the ‘candidate of change’ for the country, and his intention is to achieve exactly that in the country’s commercial environment.

Businesses looking to take advantage of increasingly attractive business conditions must however understand their rights in terms of intellectual property protections, and how to activate them.

Laptop with the word 'brand' showing on the screen
Businesses looking to take advantage of increasingly attractive business conditions must however understand their rights in terms of intellectual property protections, and how to activate them.

Register a trademark in El Salvador and protect your intellectual property

As 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 and mining, and commerce. Additionally, remittances from Salvadoran workers in the United States makes up a large percentage of the country’s GDP. In 2018, remittances totalled US$5.4 billion (21.3% of GDP).

In recent years the government has worked to improve El Salvador’s ease of doing business – and subsequently, foreign investment levels – by introducing a number of regulation reforms in areas of taxing, importing and exporting, accessing permits, and property.

Doing business in El Salvador means having the opportunity to stake your claim in almost any market with few competition barriers. The country, with its small clutch of economic strengths and government appetite for development, offers potential in many diverse sectors for foreign businesses to make their mark.

It pays to note, before diving in, how to get the right protection for your business’ intellectual property, so that your work remains a profitable venture in the country.  Follow the steps below to register your trademark in El Salvador.

Process to register a trademark in El Salvador

For the process of registering the distinctive signs of your company as a trademark, the dedicated government authority is the National Registry Center, or Centro Nacional de Registros, through its Intellectual Property Registry. There are 6 main steps to register your trademark in El Salvador

1. Conduct a trademark search in El Salvador

Although this first step in the process is not mandatory, it is recommended to perform a trademark search in El Salvador. The purpose of this trademark search is to confirm there are no other signs registered or in process similar with your distinctive signs. An existing design too close to that of your own would hinder the registration of IP protection for your brand.

For this, you may wish to engage a trademark law specialist in El Salvador who can support you to undertake a thorough trademark search in El Salvador, and also prepare your trademark application.

2. Presentation of application

Man writing on whiteboard preparing to register a trademark in El Salvador
It is important in this step that you have well-defined products and services of your distinctive sign.

Once the trademark search for your distinctive sign has been carried out, the next step is the presentation of the application before the Intellectual Property Registry. This application must contain the design and description of the products and services that it protects or identifies.

It is important in this step that you have well-defined products and services of your distinctive signs to register the trademark in El Salvador.

Once the application is submitted and it is accepted by the Registry, you will not be able to modify it during the evaluation process to expand the product range or services that are identified with it as it stands.

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.” These must be published before the National Printing Office of El Salvador (known in Spanish as Imprenta Nacional de El Salvador) and any other newspaper of greater circulation of El Salvador. This publication presents your design to the public, in the event that a business with a similar design may make a formal objection.

For this step, you have a period of 6 months from the delivery of the posters by the Registry of Intellectual Property in which you must make the publications. If you do not do so within that period, your distinctive sign is declared abandoned and closed your process.

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, requesting that you register your distinctive sign and present the posters published as proof of this.

5. Trademark application review

Once your application for registration of a distinctive sign is submitted and the posters published, the Registry of Intellectual Property will conduct a second review. This review focuses primarily on any oppositions made by the public for the registration of your sign.

6. Approval and trademark registration in El Salvador

In the case that there are no oppositions in the second review, the Registry will notify you to proceed with the registration of your distinctive sign. You’ll then have to pay the registration fees. Once the payment is made you will be given the certificate of your distinctive sign.

Light bulb with chalk drawings around it representing intellectual property
The lifespan for the registration for your distinctive sign is 10 years.

Period of validity

The lifespan for the registration for your regsitered trademark is 10 years. You can renew it, but you must do so within this 10-year period (i.e. before the expiry date).

You must be very precise with 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 it. For future-proofing purposes, make sure you understand fully the specifications you want to attach to this design for your business into the foreseeable future.

Register a trademark in El Salvador with trusted experts

As mentioned at the beginning, intellectual property in these times is a very valuable asset for companies, since 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 viaquí en Biz Latin Hub for personalized support. We are ready to help you get started.

Infographic: how to register a trademark in El Salvador

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