By: Gilberto Fajardo
Intellectual Property Division Head
The Economic Commission of the Legislative Power issued a favorable decision to amend 20 articles from our Trademark Act which became effective as of July 17, 2002. The articles that were proposed to be amended are intended to regulate the protection, acquisition, registration, use and cancelation of a geographical indication to export goods with national identity. These amendments were proposed due to the fact that El Salvador and other Central American countries are negotiating an Association Agreement with the European Union (EU).
One of the most important topics for the EU is the protection of geographical indications and designations or origin.
After several meetings in order to reach an agreement, sign and ratify the Association Agreement with the EU, the representatives of El Salvador saw the need to change of Trademark Act in order to introduce the protection, registration, acquisition, use and cancellation of geographical indications and designations of origin.
On Friday April 19, 2013, The Legislative Assembly by unanimous consent, the amendments introduced were approved and are to become effective 8 days after they are published in the Official Gazette.
The Trademark Act that became effective on July 2002 did not mentioned in any of its articles or provisions the registration process, requirements, protection, use, prohibitions, cancellations, authorization of use, registration period, amendments to registrations, rules of administration and use, suspension of use, and annulment of the registrations granted of the geographical indications and in some cases of the designations of origin.
Some of the new provisions that our Trademark Act will introduce are:
- Geographical indications and designations of origin may not be used in commerce in regard to a product or service when such indication is false or misleading with respect to its origin or geographical environment or that is may induce the public in confusion in regard to its origin or characteristics;
- Restriction of use of Geographical Indications and designations of origin in advertisements when it may cause confusion or induce in error on the origin of the goods or services;
- Registration Process:
- The parties obtain the protection of geographical indications or designations or origin from its registration;
- The State of El Salvador will own the national geographical indications and designations of origin;
- The ownership of the foreign geographical indications and designations of origin that are registered in El Salvador will be determined by the provisions of the law governing the country of origin;
- Prohibitions for registration purposes;
- The requirements and information needed for filing an application in El Salvador;
- Granting the registration;
- The registration is grand for an indefinite period of time, while the conditions that led to its registration persist;
- Amendment to the registration granted will be acceptable if some conditions established in the law change;
- The use is authorized for a period of ten years and can be renewed for the same period of time;
- The application must be accompanied by the rules for their use and administration;
- Administration entity would be a mixed collegial entity composed or representatives of the producers, manufacturers and craftsmen and the executive body, in the fields of economics, agriculture and The Center of National Registrations;
- Suspension of the Authorization of Use may be done on request of a third party or officially;
- Cancellation of the Authorization of Use may be done after a hearing; and
- Cancellation of the registration may be done on request of third parties interested in cancelling the registration.
For further information please do not hesitate to contact me,