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Monday 24 June 2013

Patricia Covarrubia

Speedy services for trade mark applicants

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The Colombian Superintendent of Industry and Commerce (SIC), Pablo Felipe Robledo Del Castillo, together with its delegate for Industrial Property, José Luis Londoño, presented trade mark titles for twenty business located in the area known as ‘Eje Cafetero’. This area comprises the departments of Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío, the northeast of Valle del Cauca and the south of Antioquía and the name ‘Eje Cafetero’ was given due to their great coffee production.

On the day, Mr Londoño noted the importance of registering a mark, mentioning that the owner of the mark will have all the “benefits that the legal system grants". He added that the registration of the trade mark entitles its holder to oppose the registration or use of other similar marks used after, and thus giving value to the company.

The news is advertised as part of the ‘Mobile SIC innovative program’ which allows direct contact and service to consumers. However, what really got my attention from the news was the following: Mr Robledo said that SIC used to have delays: a time-limit issue regarding the processing of a trade mark application, and that nowadays from 24months they have reduced it to 5.6 months.
I do have some queries regarding this issue:
 1. - Does this data i.e. 5.6 month reflect just these cases? Or is this the overall processing time outside the Mobile SIC innovative programme?
 2. – In Covarrubia: 'The Madrid Protocol in Latin America: Is Colombia changing business strategies or acting as a guinea pig?' (EIPR, 2013 (35(1))) the research in this matter reveals that it may take approximately eight months to register a trade mark IF NO OPPOSITION IS FILED – but if so, the period may increase to up to two years. Thus, when Mr Robledo noted that the time has been reduced from 2 years to 5.6 months, I wonder if those two years are counting a possible opposition and the 5.6 months are normal proceeding with no opposition. If so, then the information should read from 8 months to 5.6 months, don’t you think?

Anyway apart from these enquiry I must say that there has been an improvement in the examination procedure making a speedy examination trade mark system(regardless of the answer to 1 & 2). This progress may have something to do with Colombia been a party to the Madrid Protocol. Colombia was in need to accommodate its trade mark system as to reflect an 18-month period. The Protocol has a strict policy regarding time and establishes that if the national trade mark office does not notify a decision to the applicant in that period of time the application is considered granted, following the principle of “no news is good news”.

Source SIC.

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia