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How to Register a Trademark in El Salvador

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.

6 main steps to register a trademark in El Salvador.
6 key steps to register a trademark in El Salvador

How to 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 continue to make up a large percentage of the country’s GDP. In 2023, remittances totaled US$8.18 billion. This was a 4.63% increase compared to the previous year. The United States remains the main country of origin, accounting for 93% of the remittances sent.

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.

6 Steps 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.

  • Step 1 – Conduct a Trademark Search in El Salvador
  • Step 2 – Presentation of the Application.
  • Step 3 – Publishing Your Trademark Application.
  • Step 4 – Presentation of Publications.
  • Step 5 – Trademark Application Review
  • Step 6 – Approval and Trademark Registration in El Salvador.
How to register a company in El Salvador, infographic by Biz latin hub
How to register a company in El Salvador. You also may need 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.

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.

Our recommendation: Working with an experienced trademark attorney is crucial to successfully secure the registration process and increase the chances of a favorable outcome. At the same time, it is recommended to monitor the trademark once registered to detect any unauthorized use or infringement, which will allow you to act quickly to safeguard your trademark rights.

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.

Types of distinctive signs for trademark registration.
Types of distinctive signs for trademark registration. Although similar, the process to register a trademark in Central America differs by country.

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:

1. What are the requirements to register 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.

2. How long does it take to register a trademark in El Salvador?

The timeframe to register a trademark is 6 months, provided there is no opposition from third parties.

3. Do I need a local representative to register a trademark in El Salvador?

While it is not mandatory to have a local representative, hiring an attorney or entity familiar with the laws and procedures of El Salvador can expedite the registration process and mitigate potential problems by making the process easier.

4. Can I register a trademark that is already in use but not yet registered in El Salvador?

Yes, as long as the mark meets the eligibility criteria and is not already registered or pending registration in El Salvador, you may apply for registration based on prior use.

5. What are the consequences of not registering a trademark in El Salvador?

Failure to register your trademark in El Salvador leaves your mark vulnerable to infringement and unauthorized use by third parties. Without legal protection, enforcing your rights becomes a challenge and can result in loss of market share and brand reputation.

6. Can I register one trademark for multiple goods or services?

Yes, as long as they belong to the same class of goods or services.

7. What is a trademark search in El Salvador?

A trademark search in El Salvador is undertaken to confirm within the chosen jurisdiction the commercial existence of the name in use.

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 Biz Latin Hub for personalized support. We are ready to help you get started.

A BLH infogrpahic showing key services offered by the company
Key services offered by Biz Latin Hub. Register a trademark in El Salvador

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Legal Team El Salvador
Legal Team El Salvador

Legal Team El Salvador is the Biz Latin Hub leading experts on doing business in Salvador The Team writes on the news, doing business, law, and changing regulations. The team are experts in corporate law, Administrative law, Employment law, Immigration law and legal advisory services. Read more about them here. You can contact Legal Team El Salvador via our "contact us page".

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