by Luis Acuna, Asesores Legales en Propiedad Industrial (ALPI), Costa Rica

The merits of granting a request to suspend prosecution of a pending trademark, service mark or trade name application before the Costa Rican Industrial Property Registry has traditionally been evaluated in a case-by-case basis. No clear statutory, administrative regulations or judicial decisions have ever been defined, thus making it unclear under which circumstances applicants may file for such a request to fulfill time critical deadlines, allow for ownership changes to be recorded or hindrances to registration to be lifted while maintaining a filing date.

On January 6, 2012, the Director for the Industrial Property Registry issued a Circular DRPI-01-2012 (published in the Official Gazette of February 8, 2012), which states that based on the examination of any related documents filed before Registry, an application may only be suspended if its immediate examination could cause discrepancy with a later final decision.

Regrettably, the circular is not clear and does not go into any detail to explain what is meant by this new guideline, in which cases it applies or how it is supposed to alter existing practice.