Trademark rights in Costa Rica are established through use. Thus the person or company that first and continuously uses a trademark inside Costa Rica is the one who will have preferential rights over it. However, in practice, it is highly recommended trademark owners register their trademarks. The main benefit of registering a trademark is to have presumption of ownership of the mark. Having the trademark registered will prove useful in cases of infringement.
If one does not have their trademark registered in Costa Rica, one may still oppose the application of the trademark presented by another; in this case, prior use will have to be proven.
Trademarks in Costa Rica are registered through the National Register of the Republic of Costa Rica (RNP).
If you register a combined trademark (which includes both word elements and figurative elements) in Costa Rica, the exclusive right to use the trademark is limited to a use of the trademark is limited to a use of the trademark in the exact configuration or way in which it was filed and registered. If you wish to use the word element of your trademark separately from the logo (or vice versa), it is recommended you register for another trademark including only the word or figurative elements you wish to use and protect separately.
Nevertheless, if a third party eventually intends to register or use a trademark for similar goods or services that includes a primary or distinct part or portion of your trademark, you will have the right to oppose the application based on confusing similarity. Probabilities of success for an opposition will vary in each case depending on the circumstances.
Opposition actions against the registration of a trademark in Costa Rica can be presented within two (2) months from the date of first publication of the trademark in the Intellectual Property Gazette of Costa Rica. If one wishes to oppose a trademark application without having previously filed or registered one’s trademarks, filing of the trademark is compulsory and will have to be done within 15 days of having presented the opposition action.
A registered trademark in Costa Rica will last for ten (10) years from the date of registration. Trademarks may be renewed indefinitely for periods of ten (10) years. Trademarks may be renewed up to 12 months before their date of expiration. Once a trademark has lapsed there is a six-month grace period for late renewals upon payment of late fees.
Once a trademark is registered, if it is not used in Costa Rica within five (5) years, third parties may present cancellation actions against the registration on basis of non-use. In order to overcome cancellation actions based on non-use, it is enough to demonstrate minimal use of the trademark.
If you would like for the figurative or design elements of your trademark to be considered when assessing your trademark for registration in Costa Rica (Trademark Search Report), contact us directly in order to determine if we may be able to offer this in this jurisdiction. In such cases, prices for service and estimated delivery times may vary.