On March 24th, 2020 the Nicaraguan Congress approved the Law to reform Law 380, Law of Trademarks and other distinctive signs, effective since April 3 2020 day of the publication in The Official Diary, The Gazette.
The reform will update the Law of 2001 and will create new administrative provisions to regulate one of the most dynamic Intellectual Property areas in our country. Here are the most relevant changes:
- Reduction to the terms: terms related to the applicants have been changed dramatically, reducing the opposition term, defense against oppositions and objections and late filing of documents to 30 business days, when the previous law granted a period of 2 calendar months. On the other hand, procedures related to formal notices for errors and omissions have a new term of 15 business days, compared to the previous 2 calendar months stablished by the Law.
- The creation of a new figure called Registrar’s Assistant: the previous law granted the Registrar 2 Alternate Registrars; that could only act in absence or due to temporary inability to act of the Registrar; the now approved Bill grants the Registrar the ability to have “Assistants”, that can act together with the Registrar and not only in his absence. This speeds up procedures such as the issuance of legal ads, inscriptions, certificates, notices, resolutions and documents; giving them also the possibility to act on any other matter designated by the Registrar, as long as it follows the attributions stablished by the Law.
- Electronic Notifications: the possibility to be notified through an electronic media, is one of the most significant examples of the intent of Nicaragua to update and speed up administrative procedures. The applicant or legal representative will now be able to designate an e-mail to receive formal notices issued by the Registry Office.
- Increase in the governmental fees: governmental fees have an increase of 30% approximately, modifying fees related to inscriptions, renewals, changes, certificates and searches; thus creating new fees related to forms, opposition, late filing of Power of Attorney, extensions of terms and photocopies.
The previously mentioned changes are the most relevant, and though they have the purpose of speeding up administrative procedures, it is now more important than ever for owners and agents to grant special attention to the Surveillance of Trademarks. Due to the reduction of the action term for opposition to 30 business days, the surveillance of trademarks to have a proper defense is now an overriding matter.
NOTE: The Law is not in effect because it needs to be published in the Gaceta. Once published we will let you know if there are any changes.
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Central Law – Nicaragua