Based on the need to encourage the implementation of national policies for promoting the identity and image of the countries, on April 23, 2021, the Andean Community Commission published the Decision 876, by means of which a common Andean regime is established for the protection of Country Trademarks.
Pursuant Article Three of the mentioned Decision, “a country trademark is any sign designated or used by a Member Country to promote its image within and outside the country, as well as its tourism, culture, gastronomy, national production, exports or investments, among others.”
To obtain the registration of a Country Trademark, the Competent National Authority of the interested country must send a letter to the Competent National Authority of the member country where the protection is intended. Within the next three months, counted as of the receipt of the letter, the recipient Country may issue reasoned objections to the protection of the Country Trademark. There will be no official fees for the communication, publication, and protection of these kind of trademarks.
Provided that no objections have been raised, the protection of the Country trademarks will begin on the date the corresponding communication is received by the Competent National Authority of the recipient country. The protection will be indefinite and will not prescribe or be subject of seizure. Moreover, Country Trademarks will not be subject to any requirement of use, for maintaining its protection.
The protected Country Trademarks may be used as grounds of oppositions and/or ex officio citations, in trademark prosecution cases. Likewise, Nullity Claims may be filed against signs which, despite of being identical or similar to a Country Trademark, were registered.
Moreover, the Trademark Office of each country may order immediate preliminary injunction and initiate, ex-officio, a special administrative proceeding, to prevent or request the suspension of the unauthorized use, or imminence of use, of a trademark that is identical or confusingly similar to a protected Country Trademark. Decision 876 is a very useful tool in today’s world, which is expected to encourage the protection of Country Trademarks by member countries of the Andean Community, as well as other countries, for the promotion of the identity and image of the countries, worldwide.
Author: Natalia Franco I [email protected] I Intellectual Property – Trademarks