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Tuesday 7 October 2014

Patricia Covarrubia

Venezuela: encouraging to register trade marks?

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The Venezuelan Intellectual Property Office (SAPI) informs in its webpage the ‘good’ news that it has officially computerized the trade mark search for phonetic and graphic signs. I was excited to read the title and eager to start browsing around as I always do with my students when we cover the topic of trade marks, however…well it is not that simple (time or money wise).

According to the information provided, the computer aspect of it refers to the following: service request and deliver of the information is done via e-mail -- that’s it! Yet, SAPI’s Director said that the “new system via internet searches, is a significant advance in the quality of service that we provided to users, and is due to the instruction of [Venezuelan] President Nicolas Maduro: Efficiency or Nothing."

When looking at the webpage and the process this is also noticed: “This search allows you to request a certain number of searches ...depending on the amount deposited in the bank”. The deposit ought to be done 24 hours before the search is allowed. After you do so, you will be able to use the search ‘computer’ service by submitting all details regarding the deposit (about 6 questions are asked here about the money) and you will then submit the phonetic and/or graphic trade mark you would like to search for. Finally, you will receive an email within 48 hours after application to give you the results of the search.

Money, money, money.
The cost of a search for phonetic marks is 169.00 Bs for each class you want to search. The graphic marks cost of search is 113.00 Bs per class.

How much is this, actually? The new daily minimum wage in Venezuela is 141.71 Bs…so, you do the math…no economical at all. What this really means is that you will have to skip a couple of your daily bread if you want to use this ‘quality service’ provided by the institution.

It is wrong to believe that trade marks are  only for wealthy business/people. Moreover, it is recommended to register a trade mark from day one – so, before you get any return or gain from your business. The price instead of motivating small business to register, it is actually deterring them from doing so. And regarding the President’s slogan ‘efficiency or nothing’, well…it is open to debate.

Source SAPI.

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia