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Costa Rica gears up for more GI, appellation of origin protection

The 15 April issue of the International Trademark Association's INTA Bulletin (Vol. 68 No. 8) reports on changes to the legal framework for protecting geographical indications (GIs) and appellations of origin in Costa Rica. Following the conclusion of negotiations of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Agreement with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica's trade mark office implemented new guidelines (No. DRPI-11-2012) that clarify several aspects related to the registration of GIs and appellations of origin. In particular, to gain registration in Costa Rica, all GIs and appellations of origin must comply with the following formalities:
* at the point at which an enrollment application is filed, the members of the Regulatory Board (this being the governing body that oversees protected geographical indications and appellations) must already have been designated, as it is they who will be responsible for the use of the sign. 
* so that the trade mark office can validate the actions of the representative of the Regulatory Board, the Board must be legally constituted under current Costa Rican law, which empowers the representative with the necessary locus standi.
* anyone who appears in person before the office as the representative of the Regulatory Board must demonstrate his or her legal standing with a suitable document and must be duly empowered for this act.
Even though the EFTA Agreement is still pending ratification in Costa Rica, the trade mark office is said to be making these changes in the expectation of an increase in the registrations of geographical indications and appellations of origin.

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