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Amendment to Patent & Design Regulations in Costa Rica as of April, 2014

As of April 24, 2014, several new important changes practice before the Costa Rican Patent Office regarding Patents of Invention, Designs and Industrial Models & Utility Models came into effect.

The amendment is notable for introducing new  formal and substantive changes to payment of annuities, prosecution and filing of applications for registration of patents of invention, designs and industrial models and utility models. The amendment also consolidates de facto practices adopted by the Patent Office that did not have prior legal basis.

The Regulations were issued via Executive Decree No. 38289-H, published in official Gazette No. 78 of April 24, 2014, which amends and expands the existing Regulations to the Patents Law.

Some of the most notable changes include:

Patents of Intention and Utility Models

  • Dimensions of drawings may not exceed 15cm by 15 cm (5.90 inches by 5.90 inches) and shall not contain any text; only reference numbers to the corresponding text in the specification.
  • Drawings may consist of photographs of the subject matter of the invention, as long as they have a neutral background and no shadows.
  • Applications that are notoriously deficient may be automatically refused. 50% of the filing fee will be returned to the applicant.
  • One single extension of time to submit the Power of Attorney may be requested, as long as sufficient justification is provided.
  • At the request of the applicant, publication can be delayed for up to 12 months after the filing date.
  • Applicant facing an adverse examination report have 1 month to file a formal response. Within the first 15 days of said deadline, the applicant may choose to meet with the examiner to discuss the issue.
  • Payment of the grant fee for patents and utility models is assimilated to payment of the first patent annuity. However, at the same time, the applicant must pay second and subsequent annuities as of the date of presentation of the application. Failure to pay will cause the Patent Office to initiate legal action for collecting the amounts owed by the applicant.

Designs and industrial models:

  • The concept of novelty was changed substantially. A design or industrial model is deemed to be original as long as the exterior appearance is due to the creative effort of an individual creator and does not imply a change in color or shape of known designs and industrial models.

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