Overview of Costa Rica Trademark Laws

This is a list of International conventions and treaties, laws and regulations in effect pertaining to trademark registration in Costa Rica as of 2021. It is outside of the scope of this article to discuss circulars or administrative resolutions pertaining to trademark prosecution, which alters (and sometimes changes) the scope of a particular provision.

Spanish is the official version of the respective legal texts. No official translation into any other language is provided.

Treaties and International Conventions

Under the Constitution of the Republic of Costa Rica, treaties and conventions have a hierarchy above regular law. However, in practice, often laws are not amended to implement the compromises undertaken by the country in the new treaty or convention or take steps to eliminate any discrepancies with internal legislation. In these cases, the administrative authorities often revert to applying the law, despite the contradiction. In such scenario, a party may be forced to seek judicial assistance to enforce the treaty or convention.

  • Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (as of June 10, 1981)
  • The Uruguay Round (GATT, later succeeded by WTO) (as of November 2, 1989)
  • WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (as of January 1, 1995)
  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property(as of October 31, 1995)
  • WIPO Joint Recommendation Concerning Provisions on the Protection of Well-Known Marks (as of March 28, 2008)
  • Trademark Law Treaty (as of October 17, 2008)
  • Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin (as of July 30, 1997)
  • The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille) (as of December 14, 2011)

Costa Rica is also a party to multilateral trade agreements, which define standards for protection of IP beyond other instruments (“TRIP Plus” provision). The two most notable ones are:

  • Costa Rica-México Free Trade Treaty (since 1994)
  • Dominican Republic – Central America – United States of America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) (since November 21, 2007)

The Costa Rica-México Treaty is of particular interest. It contains provisions that may prove especially useful to trademark owners in case of litigation. For instance, the Treaty allows a party that first registered an identical or similar mark, for the identical or similar goods or services, in each of the respective countries to request annulment of the subsequent registration in the other country. In light of the most favored nation treatment principle governing international trade, this provision could have abroad-reaching effect in case of trademark squatting or bad-faith registration of trademarks.

Laws and Regulations

The laws and other legislation included in this section are the mayor and most relevant laws implemented by Costa Rica for the protection of trademarks, trade names and other distinctive signs. There are numerous other laws that include specific provisions that are relevant for certain industries (for instance, laws pertaining to the use of trademark for banks, insurance companies and financial institutions, or for identifying products or sanitary or regulatory interest):

  • Trademarks and Other Distinctive Signs Law (No. 7978 of January 6, 2000)
  • Regulations to the Trademarks and Other Distinctive Signs Law (Executive Decree No. 30233-J of February 20, 2002)
  • Observance Procedures of Intellectual Property Rights Law (No. 8033 of October 12, 2001)
  • Administrative Rules on Prosecution of Appeals before the Administrative Registration Court (of November 28, 2016)
  • Regulations to the Trademarks and Other Distinctive Signs Law Concerning Geographical Indications and Designations of Origin (Executive Decree No. 33743-J of March 14, 2007)
  • Administrative Rules on the Service of the Administrative Registration Court (Executive Decree No. 35456-J of March 30, 2009)
  • Administrative Rule DPI-0003-2019 on Recognition of Fame or Notoriety (of June 28, 2019)
  • Regulations to the Uniform Central American Customs Code (Recauca) (Executive Decree No. 42876 of January 28, 2021)
For an official updated version of the legal text, please visit SINALEVI, the National System for Legislation at http://www.pgrweb.go.cr/scij/

The following authorities also maintain their own databases of laws and regulations:

  • Trademark Office: Industrial Property Registry (Registro de la Propiedad Industrial) – Website: rnpdigital.com
  • Trademark Appeal Board: Tribunal Registral Administrativo – Website: tra.go.cr

Join us for the INTA Annual Meeting 2015 in San Diego, CA


ALPI will be attending the premier academic and networking event for trademark professionals from May 2 to May 6, 2015.

With over 9,000 attendees from more than 140 jurisdictions expected to attend, the INTA Annual Meeting is the largest trademark event in the world.

This year’s event will be held in the beautiful city of San Diego. Visit INTA’s website for more information: http://www.inta.org/2015AM/Pages/Home.aspx

Luis D. Acuña will represent ALPI at the Annual Meeting in San Diego in May and would be delighted to meet colleagues, in-house practitioners and law firms from all over the globe.

If you are also attending, please get in touch and we can arrange a meeting. If interested, please send us an email to info@alpilaw.com

Reforma a Reglamento de Patentes de Invención y Diseños en Costa Rica en Abril de 2014

A partir del 24 de abril de 2014, se implementaron reformas importantes de procedimientos para inscripción de patentes de invención, diseños y modelos ante la Sección de Patentes de Invención del Registro de la Propiedad Industrial de Costa Rica

La reforma es notable por introducir importantes cambios de fondo y forma al pago de anualidades, así como la presentación e inscripción de solicitudes de patentes de invención, diseños industriales y modelos de utilidad. La reforma también consolida práctica adoptadas de facto por para la Oficina de Patentes, pero que carecían de fundamento legal hasta la fecha.

Las reformas fueron emitidas mediante el Decreto Ejecutivo No. 38289-H, publicado en la Gaceta No. 78 del 24 de abril de 2014, la cual reforma el Reglamento a la Ley de Patentes de Invención, Dibujos y Modelos Industriales y Modelos de Utilidad del 12 de diciembre de 1983.

Algunos de los cambios más notables incluyen:

Patentes de Invención y Modelos de Utilidad

  • Dimensiones de los dibujos no pueden exceder 15cm por 15cm (5.90 pulgadas por 5.90 pulgadas) y no pueden contener texto; solo signos de referencia que correspondan a lo indicado en la descripción
  • Los dibujos podrán consistir en fotografías del objeto de la solicitud, siempre que tengan un fondo neutro y sin sombras
  • Las solicitudes manifiestamente improcedentes pueden ser rechazadas de plano, mediante resolución razonada, concediendo la devolución del 50% de la tasa de presentación
  • A petición del solicitante, la publicación de la solicitud puede ser postergada hasta pro doce meses desde la fecha de presentación
  • Es posible solicitar una única prórroga, debidamente justificada, para presentar el poder luego del plazo de 3 meses después de la presentación de la solicitud
  • Ante un examen de fondo adverso, el solicitante tiene 15 días para solicitar una reunión con el examinador para discutir el fondo
  • Las tasas anuales para mantener la vigencia de la patente deberán ser pagadas por años adelantados. La tasa que debe abonarse por la inscripción y expedición del certificado, exonera el pago de la primera anualidad. La segunda anualidad y las siguientes que se adeuden desde la presentación de la solicitud y hasta la fecha de la concesión de la patente, deberán ser canceladas en un plazo máximo de dos meses contados desde la fecha de concesión.

Diseños y Modelos Industriales

  • Se reforma el concepto de originalidad. Un dibujo o modelo industrial es original en tanto su aspecto exterior se derive de un esfuerzo creativo individual del creador y no implique un nuevo cambio de colorido o forma de modelos o dibujos ya conocidos

Consultas: ip@alpilaw.com

Tel. (506) 2221-9058 o 2222-1785
Fax (506) 2222-6054