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Costa Rica: Intellectual Property Overview

Costa Rica follows standard international practice in terms of the cost, the complexity and the steps entailed in securing protection of your intellectual property rights. The country adheres to the main multilateral conventions and treaties for the protection and enforcement of trademark, patents, copyrights and other forms of IPRs, including:

  • Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
  • Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
  • Patent Cooperation Treaty 1970 (PCT – Link to PCT Applicant’s Guide).
  • Budapest Treaty on Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure.
  • International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).
  • Trademark Law Treaty (TLT).

The country also follows the standard international classifications systems (e.g. International Patent Classification, Nice and Locarno Agreements). However, Costa Rica is not a contracting party to the Madrid Protocol/Agreement.

For a  full list of IP Law and Treaties visit: the WIPO Lex Chapter on Costa Rica

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Some of the rights protected and recognized by Costa Rican Intellectual Property Laws include:

Trade Secrets (or know-how)

Trade secrets are protected against unlawful disclosure or appropriation by the Industrial Property Registry. To obtain protection, trade secrets require the following:

  • The information must be secret (i.e. not easily accessible or or general knowledge)
  • The information must be in control of person that has taken reasonable steps to keep it secret
  • Has commercial value due to its secrecy

Copyrights and Related Rights

Copyrights over original works are recognized to authors in Costa Rica by mere virtue of their creation. They comprise expressions, but not ideas, procedures, methods or mathematical concepts. Registration is granted by the “Registro de Derechos de Autor“. Visit their official web site here.

Copyrights include moral and patrimonial rights. Software and databases  are protected by copyright laws.

Trademarks, Service Marks and other distinctive signs

Registration before the Trademark Office is generally speedy and a cost-effective way to enhance protection. Some of the types of protection available include:

  • Trade and service marks
  • Trade names
  • Publicity slogans
  • Certification and Collective marks

Famous marks are granted a broader protection.

Patents of Invention, Industrial Designs and Models

Costa Rica is a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. In addition to patent protection to inventions, Costa Rica also recognizes utility models and industrial designs, which have a 10-year term of protection.

Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits

Topographies or mask works also benefit from a 10-year protection from the date of filing an application or of the first commercial exploitation in the world.

Competent National Authorities

Costa Rican Trademark & Patent Office (“RPI”)

Registro de la Propiedad Industrial, Registro Nacional
P.O. Box 523-2010, Curridabat, San José
Tel/fax (+506) 2202-0800
E-mail: rpi@rnp.go.cr
Official Web site: www.rnpdigital.com

Costa Rican Copyright Office

Registro de Derechos de Autor, Registro Nacional
P.O. Box 523-2010, Curridabat, San José
Tel/fax (+506) 2225-3460
E-mail: derautores@rnp.go.cr
Official Web site: www.rnpdigital.com

Consular Department

Foreign Affairs Ministry
P.O. Box 10027-1000, San José
Tel (+506) 2233-0522 / 2223-7555
Official Web site: www.rree.go.cr