Registering a trademark in Belize brings many advantages to a business, as it protects the distinctive signs their consumers recognize them by. Belize has established as one of the largest economies in Central America with a stable currency and pro-investment governmental policies. For companies that expand their business operations to Belize, registering a trademark is essential in order to remain competitive and build a unique brand in Belize’s market.
A registered trademark in Belize grants you full protection, control and exclusive rights to your intellectual property.
The article outlines significant steps to register a trademark in Belize.
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Where to register a trademark in Belize
The Belize Intellectual Property Office (BELIPO) is the National Intellectual Property Registry for Belize. This office is in charge of the intellectual property legislation and the promotion of such in Belize.
Through the BELIPO, the applicant can submit the application to register a trademark in Belize and hence, obtain a trademark registration certificate.
Trademarks in Belize
According to the Trade Marks Act (Cap. 257), a trademark is a unique graphic sign distinguishing a company’s goods and services. This signs may consist of words, personal names, designs, images, numbers or the shape of the goods and/or their packaging.
This definition of a trademark also includes following:
- Collective mark: Is used to distinguish the goods or services of members of an association from the goods or services of non-members
- Certification marks: Is used to distinguish goods or services certified by a competent authority regarding the quality or some other characteristic of the goods or services.
Steps to register a trademark in Belize
There are 3 main steps to register a trademark in Belize. For this process, you may need to engage a trademark law specialist in the country to ensure you carry out the procedures in full compliance with the law.
1. Trademark search in Belize
Before submitting a trademark application in Belize, individuals must first conduct a trademark search. They can do this by making a request through the BELIPO website.
This is an important step for trademark applicants. BELIPO can check on the availability of unique signs before registering a trademark in Belize. This ensures the company does not run into legal issues with other trademark owners.
2. Apply to register a trademark in Belize
After completing the trademark search in Belize, and confirming the trademark is available and unique, the next step is to apply to register the trademark. This can be done online or in person
To register online: You can register your trademark in Belize via the BELIPO website
To register in person: To register your trademark in Belize in person, it is necessary to submit the application at the BELIPO office. This office is located at:
Habet Building (3rd Floor)
P.O. Box 592
1902 Constitution Drive
The applicant needs to fill in and present the following documents according to the Trade Marks Act (Cap. 257 Subsidiary):
- FORM No. 03 “Application for registration of a mark”
- FORM No. 02 “Authorization of Agent”; the office requires this form if acting through a representative.
- FORM No. 01 “Application for an address for service”; this form is only required if your main place of business is outside Belize.
- FORM No. 09 “Fee for registration of a mark”; BELIPO requires this form when they accept the application
Once the applicant has submitted all required documents, the BELIPO will evaluate these. Finally, the office decides if they accept or reject the application. Furthermore, BELIPO can require more evidence of use, distinctiveness or of any other matter.
If BELIPO accepted the application, the next step is to obtain a trademark registration certificate from the BELIPO.
This entire process takes around 6 to 8 months from the filing date. The term of protection of a trademark is 10 years from the date of registration. However, the office can extend for further periods of ten years.
For the registration of a trademark in Belize, the BELIPO charges a range of fees. These fees cover the trademark search in Belize, application processing, and final registration. Bear in mind that service fees from your trademark law specialist will vary depending on the provider.
These fees may be paid in cash at the BELIPO office. Payments shall be made in Belizean currency (the Belizean Dollar, denominated as BZD), but the equivalent amount in a foreign currency that can be converted in Belize may be accepted.
Trademarks protect your business
There are plenty of advantages of registering a trademark in Belize. In fact, anyone who relies on a unique brand or set of signs to distinguish their product or service should register a trademark.
After all, it is the trademark registration that represents the safest way to obtain a trademark right and thereby enable the respective owner to have legal rights and protection to use the trademark exclusively.
This, in turn, means that third parties are prohibited from using in business transactions a sign that is identical or can be confused with the protected trademark for goods or services for which your registered trademark is protected.
Once your trademark is registered, you have exclusive rights to the use of those signs. But trademark owners must be vigilant and ensure regular management of those rights.
After trademark registration, owners must regularly check the BELIPO database to ensure no new or pending trademarks are the same or similar to their own. If a new trademark application is approved and the design is similar to your own, you may need to make a formal objection to BELIPO. It can be more difficult and costly to protect your trademark in Court after the fact.
Additionally, your trademark in Belize expires after 10 years, at which point you may want to renew the trademark. For companies that hold multiple trademarks in a number of countries, this can be challenging to keep track of. It is highly recommended to engage with a trademark law specialist to ensure proper registration and management of your trademark in Belize.
Register your trademark in Belize with specialist support
When expanding business operations to Belize, it’s important to protect your business ideas and inventions. This ensures uniqueness and profitability. To do this, you can register a trademark in Belize with the assistance of a professional lawyer.
At Biz Latin Hub, we have experienced local lawyers with vast experience helping businesses with company formation, legal representation, hiring services and more. We have vast experience in supporting new and established businesses apply for and obtain the trademarks they need to secure their brand and revenue.
Contact us here for tailor-made assistance on your business adventure.
Learn more about our team and expert authors.