The Panama Trademark Registration Process Explained

Eligibility Criteria for Trademark Registration

Panamanian Law 35 of 1996, amended by Law 61 of 2012, states that any natural or legal person can apply for a Panama trademark, provided they fulfill the requirements set forth by the intellectual property law.

The agency responsible for trademark registration services in Panama is the General Directorate of the Industrial Property Registry (DIGERPI). This agency is part of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries of Panama. DIGERPI manages and protects industrial property rights, including patent registration, trademarks, and industrial designs. It also offers advice and support to Panama Businesses to comply with the country’s intellectual property laws.

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What can be trademarked in Panama

Considering this definition and what is stated in Article 90 of Law 35 of 1996, two major categories can be identified that indicate what can be registered as a trademark within the country:

  • Words or combinations of words, including those used to identify individuals; images, figures, symbols, and graphics; letters, numbers, and their combinations, when composed of distinctive elements; three-dimensional shapes, including packaging, containers, the shape of the product or its presentation, and holograms; colors in various combinations; sounds; scents or flavors; any combination of the elements mentioned above.
  • Geographical indications that consist of any sign or combination of signs that allow a product or service to be identified as originating from the territory of a country or from a region or locality of that territory, when a specific quality, reputation, or other characteristic of the product or service is primarily attributable to its geographical origin, despite the provisions related to geographical indications contained in the Law.

The criteria for Panama Trademark Eligibility

The Ministry of Commerce and Industries specifies 6 requirements for your Panama trademark to be eligible. Below, you will find what to consider when beginning the process.

  1. Applicant Information: Include the name, address, and nationality of the applicant. If it is a legal entity, you must also provide the place of incorporation and the relevant registration details.
  2. Legal Representative: Provide the name and address of the legal representative and, if applicable, the registration reference in the Power of Attorney Registry.
  3. Address in Panama:For foreign applicants, designate an address in Panama for administrative or judicial notifications related to the trademark.
  4. Trademark Description: Specify the name and/or design of the trademark as it will be used in the market.
  5. Products or Services: Indicate the products or services according to the Nice Agreement, mentioning the corresponding class number.
  6. Priority Right: Claim a priority right if applicable, according to the international treaties ratified by Panama.

Step-by-Step Guide for the Registration Process

To successfully complete the trademark process in Panama, follow these steps:

Initial Search and Evaluation

The first step in the Panama trademark registration process is to conduct a thorough investigation to confirm that the trademark does not infringe on existing laws or rights and meets all the necessary requirements. To protect a Panama trademark, it is essential to perform a distinctiveness analysis and verify legal compliance. During this process, one can also initiate patent registration to protect all ideas.

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Filing the Application

After completing the research, the next step is to file the official Panama trademark registration application by following these steps:

  1. Collect all required documents, including:
    • Properly completed application form.
    • Certificate of the company’s existence.
    • Copy of the applicant’s passport or identification.
    • Design of the logo or symbol to be registered.
  2. If the documents are in another language, their translation into Spanish will be mandatory.
  3. Submit the application to DIGERPI.

Examination by the Registry Office

DIGERPI will meticulously evaluate the Panama trademark application file, starting with a formal information review and conflict searches, followed by publication in the Official Industrial Property Gazette. Oppositions, if any, will be addressed before making the final decision. Once approved, the Panama trademark registration certificate will be issued, granting full intellectual property rights to the trademark owner.

Rights and Protections Granted by Registration

Registering a Panama trademark grants important rights and protections to defend the commercial interests and IP rights of the trademark owner.

These rights are outlined in the country’s trademark law and intellectual property legislation. Some of the legal benefits include:

  • It is the only way to obtain legal rights over the trademark.
  • It provides protection within the territory of Panama.
  • It helps prevent others from using the trademark unlawfully.
  • It allows the owner of a Panama trademark to seek compensation for financial losses due to unauthorized use.

Enforcement of Panama Trademark Rights

To maintain legal protection of a Panama trademark, it is necessary to comply with the regulations and standards set by the Panamanian authorities.

Among the most important are monitoring the market to detect possible infringements, renewing the registration before it expires, updating any changes to the ownership of the trademark, and of course, having patent registration, as applicable.

Renewals and Maintenance

When considering trademark registration services, remember that renewal is important to maintain legal protection for your Panama trademark. The initial registration lasts for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely in 10-year increments.

Additionally, when seeking trademark registration services, it is recommended to consider obtaining legal guidance to register a Panama patent, thereby preventing any form of plagiarism.

Timeframes and Procedures for Trademark Renewal

The deadlines for Panama trademark renewal are very clear. The application must be submitted during the six months prior to the expiration date of the registration.

However, there is a six-month grace period after the expiration date during which the application can still be submitted, although additional fees will apply due to the delay.

The renewal procedure consists of three main steps:

  1. Submission of the application
  2. Required documentation
  3. Review and approval
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Requirements for Maintaining Trademark Protection

To maintain the protection granted by law, the following trademark requirements must be met:

  1. The trademark must be used continuously and in regular commerce for the goods or services specified in the registration.
  2. Any change in the ownership of the trademark, such as a transfer or a license, must be properly recorded with DIGERPI so that the registration reflects the current status.
  3. It is important to comply with local regulations and the guidelines established by DIGERPI to avoid any infringement or legal dispute.
  4. All maintenance and renewal fees must be paid on time to avoid the expiration of the trademark protection.

Why You Need Trademark Registration

Brand registration in Panama protects your intellectual property rights and strengthens your market position. It helps prevent unauthorized use, maintains the value of your brand, and provides legal protection. Moreover, Panama trademarks are key for distinguishing your brand from others, contributing to market recognition and reinforcing your brand’s credibility.

Register Your Trademark with Kraemer & Kraemer

At Kraemer & Kraemer, we handle the entire brand registration process in Panama to make sure your business is protected. We also assist with patent registration to ensure your innovations are properly protected. Contact us for more details on how we can help protect your brand name and intellectual property rights.

Published June 14th, 2024, as Commentary on Business by Johana Sum