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Trademark Protection in Latin America

April 08, 2023

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Trademark Protection in Latin America

In the field of Intellectual Property protection, there isn't any "international trademark" or "worldwide patent" that applies in all Latin American countries. This is a popular belief that is completely wrong; even though the laws related to IP protection are very similar in the region, each country has its own registration process, requirements, and regulations.

Nowadays, it is vital for any business to safeguard their IP, whether using the trademark for brands, the copyright for authorship, or patent for inventions and innovative procedures; these policies ensure the successful performance of the company in a competitive market and stand out from the large list of competitors.

It is also important to consider the international protection as well, in this case a trademark attorney has two (2) options:

  1. Registering the IP before each country.
  2. Using any of the WIPO International Registration Systems, that include:
      1. Madrid System of trademarks.
      2. Patent Cooperation Treaty for patents.
      3. Hague System for designs.

*It is essential to know with states are part of the mentioned systems.

Latin America: A Step Forward Against Piracy

For many years, Latin American manufacturers were considered responsible (unfairly, in many cases) of a great number of name-brand copying in U.S. This was due to the very few regulations about IP protection. However, over the past several years, the region has taken great steps on applying a common law that rules in most of the countries when it comes to IP rights and software piracy.

In that sense, Latin American countries, has joined efforts to lower the rates of piracy actions. These countries include Colombia and Brazil, who have developed strong standard against technology companies that seek the enrichment through IP rights violations (software piracy).

Mexico has also joined forces in the anti-piracy cause, through the involvement of local tax authorities who check that the use of a software is declared as a tangible asset. Small countries of the regions such as Costa Rica and Chile have also recently improved their IP protection laws as a contribution to the big anti-piracy offender.

Despite the increasing piracy issues due to today's market size, Latin America is working together as a region to enforce their technology development bases, holding the hope that in a few years this terrible issue will be significantly better.

The Owner Receives Nationwide Rights with Trademark Protection in Latin America

Benefits of Having a Trademark Protection in Latin America

  • Your brand will be protected from others to use same or similar marks by making an availability search in order to prevent plagiarism issues.
  • The owner receives exclusive nationwide rights on the mark.
  • The owner has the license rights to initiate a legal procedure in the event of infringement.
  • Once the trademark is registered, the owner has the right to use the symbol ® "R" or the word "Registered" on the goods or services included in the registration.
  • A registered mark can be used to request registration in foreign countries, this will facilitate the process while the business expands.
  • Adopting the Madrid System in Latin America

    According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO):

    "The Madrid System is the one-stop solution for trademark holders to obtain and maintain protection in multiple markets. Whether you are a small start-up or a large multinational exporter, the Madrid System can help you manage your brand efficiently".

    Through the Madrid System, companies or businessmen can make a single registration and the payment of one set of fees to apply for protection in up to 130 countries around the world. Nowadays, the Madrid System has several countries from Latin America and the Caribbean as members, they include:

  • Colombia
  • Chile
  • Mexico
  • Cuba
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • It is expected that more countries will become members in the near future.

    International Intellectual Property organizations around the world have been developing a campaign to encourage Latin America countries to join the Madrid Protocol. The organizations that are part of this initiative are the International Trademark Association (INTA), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), among others.

    Some of the main advantages of the Madrid System are:

    The Madrid System Registration Offers an Alternative for Trademark Protection in Latin America
  • The registration can be made in a single language (English, French or Spanish), with no need of translations.
  • Increase of the potential protection range with every additional members that joins the Madrid System.
  • Applicants only make one application proceeding, instead of filling different applications for each country. This also includes a single renewal date and fee.
  • With a Single payment in a single currency, you can pay several application fees.
  • If any modification, renewal or transfer need to be done, the applicant can do it directly before WIPO with effects in all Designated Parties. There is no need to do it in every country, causing the that post-registration procedures are simplified and cost-efficient.
  • For better results, it is necessary to have a representative on each Designated Party.
  • It's a time-and-cost-effective registration system.
  • The Madrid System coexists with national trademark systems and offers an alternative route for registering marks.
  • In conclusion, trademarks are considered a marketing strategy for any business. They grant companies goods or services identification, promotion, and license to be distinguished from those of their competitors, thus achieving customers loyalty.

    In today's increasingly electronic marketplace, it is getting harder for customers to identify genuine products or services. However, trademark protection offers the promise of authentic companies in which people can rely on, having the support of international association like the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks.

    Whether you are a creative inventor or a business owner, who wants to safeguard their intellectual property in Latin American countries and needs the advice of a trademark attorney, AGT Attorneys is the place where you will find it.

    At our firm, we provide you with a well-trained staff of trademark attorneys that will give you the counseling you need on intellectual property protection in Latin America.

    Write to us on our Contact Form, schedule your legal appointment with our lawyers through the following link or contact us at +57 310 5706331. We will be happy to assist you!

    If you found this article helpful then let us know in the comments section below. Likewise, feel free to share it using the share options below. Want us to cover another topic of your interest pertaining to legal affairs? If so, then like us and follow us on social media, and post to any of our social media profiles the topic you'd like us to discuss: Facebook AGT Attorneys and Twitter @AttorneysAGT

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