Deadlines in the Opposition Processes in Central America

By Nadya León

What is a distinctive commercial sign?

A distinctive commercial sign may consist of a trademark, commercial name or expression or emblem and serves to protect that name or design with which companies or individuals wish to identify their products, services and their establishments. These distinctive signs must be registered with the respective Intellectual Property Offices of each country.

What obstacles might affect the normal registration process for a trademark?

During the normal registration process there are stages within which the publication phase is found. The trademark offices once they have examined the application that meets the requirements of the law, issue a notice or edict for publication in the official newspapers or bulletins of each country, so that any interested party can file an opposition because they consider that a trademark, commercial name, emblem or expression of commercial advertising requested is similar or identical to a commercial sign already registered or filed previously. It is possible for a holder to receive one or more oppositions within this phase.

The oppositions have a process and deadlines that must be met which could lengthen the registration process. In this sense, it is important to take into account the deadlines to file and answer oppositions in the different countries of Central America.

What happens if I see in a national newspaper or in the official newspaper that a brand has been published which is similar to mine?

The trademark would be in the publication phase so that any interested party can file an opposition to avoid registering a brand similar or identical to a commercial sign already registered or requested previously. It is possible for a holder to receive one or more oppositions within this phase

The oppositions have a process and deadlines that must be met in order to avoid registering trademarks that affect previously acquired intellectual property rights. In this sense, it is important to take into account the deadlines to present and answer oppositions in the different countries of Central America.

Deadline to file oppositions:

  • Guatemala, El Salvador , Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama:  2 months after the 1st publication in the official gazette or national newsletters of each country.
  • Honduras:  During its publication period (three publications with intervals of 10 days), and up to 30 working days counted from the date of the last publication in The Official Journal La Gaceta.

Deadline to file evidence in oppositions:

  • Guatemala: 2 months from the notification of the opening of the test hearing.
  • El Salvador: 2 months from the presentation of the opposition.
  • Honduras: 30-45 business days after the opposition is filed. Once notified of the probationary period, the Trademark Office grants a period between 10 business days (minimum) to 20 business days (maximum).
  • Nicaragua: 30 business days following the date of submission of the opposition or opposition response.
  • Costa Rica: 30 days following the date of submission of the opposition.
  • Panama: With the answer to the complaint or during the hearing, which is usually done at least 2 or 3 months after the claim has been duly answered.

Deadline to answer oppositions:

We remind you that we can assist you in your opposition proceedings both in El Salvador and in the rest of Central American countries.

 

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us at the following email Nadya Leon  nadya@romeropineda.com.

 

 

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