Panama IP Development

  The Republic of Panama is located in the center of the America continent and through the years has been famous for its Canal which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This strategic position makes mandatory the transit of merchandise from Asia, Europe, North and South America and worldwide. This is why trademarks, inventions, utility patents, design patents, advertising slogans and signs from all countries are constantly being registered in Panama.
2014 summary of statistics published by the General Directorate of Industrial Property of Panama
  The total number of patent files under different procedures during the year 2014 is 373. Most applications have come from United States of America applicants, followed by local applications, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland and Japan, while there were applicants from many other countries with less application.
  During 2014, a total of 8875 trademarks applications were in process. Of this total, 5566 were registered; 2222 were published in the Bulletin; 165 were under opposition and the rest were under different procedures like rejected, retained, abandoned, etc.
  3412 applications correspond to local applicants; 1513 are from United States of America, 336 from Colombia, 320 from Mexico, 271 from Switzerland, 255 from Spain, 209 from Guatemala, 198 from France, 174 from Germany, 168 from Costa Rica, 122 from China, 121 from Japan, and the remainder is distributed among other countries.
  A decision from the Supreme Court of Justice issued on May 28, 2014, declared unconstitutional the paragraph 1 of article 960 of the Tax Code. This paragraph required that all applications filed before a public officer must use stamped paper, which meant $8.00 per page. The relevance PANAMA this decision in patents and trademarks practice is that all applications filed before the Trademarks and Patent Office no longer requires to bear 8.00 per page, which naturally means a saving for all clients.
Main Intellectual Property Laws in force in the Republic of Panama
  - Law No. 63 of October 5, 2012, which modifies Law No. 23 of 1997 related to the Protection of Plants Varieties.
  - Law No. 64 of October 10, 2012, on Copyright and Neighboring Rights (2012).
  - Law No. 61 of October 5, 2012, amending Law No. 35 of May 10, 1996, on Industrial Property (2012).
  - Law No. 20 of June 26, 2000 on Special System for the Collective Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples for the Protection and Defense of their Cultural Identity and their Traditional Knowledge (2000).
  - Law No. 23 of July 15, 1997, Title V, Provisions on the Protection of Plant Varieties (1997).
  - Law No. 35 of May 10, 1996 on Industrial Property (1996).
  Panama continues as member of the following international agreements on Intellectual Property:
  - Interamerican General Convention for the Trademark and Commerce Protection. Law 64 of 1934.
  - Universal Convention on Copyrights. Law 35 of 1962. Revised in Paris 1971. Law 8 of 1974.
  - World Intellectual Property Convention. Law 3 of 1982.
  - Inter-American Convention on Copyright in Literary, Scientific and Artistic Works. Law 5 of 1982.
  - Paris Convention for the Protection of the Industrial Property. Law 41 of 1995.
  - Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Law 3 of 1996.
  - Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. (TRIPS-Marraketch). Law 23 of 1997.
  - WIPO Copyright Treaty. Law 92 of 1998.
  - WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. Law 93 of 1998.
  - International Convention for the Protection of Vegetables Varieties. Law 12 of 1999.
  - Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure (WIPO). Law 17 of 2012.
  - Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Law 21 of 2012.
  - Trademark Law Treaty (WIPO). Law 24 of 2012.
  - International Convention for the Protection of Vegetables Varieties (UPOV). Law 25 of 2012.
  Regarding the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purpose of the Registration of Marks (1957), although Panama is not a member of this Agreement, the same classification was adopted by means of a local law. Same is the case of the Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs.
  a. Disclosure within twelve months prior to filing the original application will not affect the novelty of the patent or utility model whenever this had been done by the inventor, his successor, or by betrayal of confidence, breach of contract or illicit act.
  b. If the invention so permits, a patent application may be converted into a Utility Model and vice versa. Only one conversion is permitted per application.
  c. Once the application is filed, the Patent Office proceeds to its examination. If the application complies with the law, and the applicant has already requested the search on the Status of Art, the Registrar then proceeds to order the publication of the application. The results of the search must also be published, which if ready, can be published simultaneously with the publication of the application. The whole procedure may take approximately four years.
  d. The maximum registration period for patents is 20 years non renewable, subject to payment of the corresponding duties; and for a utility model, it is 10 year nonrenewable.
  e. Patents and Utility Models are subject to two publications, one for the application, and a second for the Technical Status Report.
  f. There is no opposition procedure for patents neither for utility models.
  a. Disclosure occurred within 12 months prior to filing the original application will not affect the novelty of the model or design whenever it had been done by the creator, his successor, or by betrayal of confidence, breach of contract or illicit act.
  b. There is no conversion allowed in the law among industrial designs and industrial models, patents and utility models.
  c. Once the application is filed the Registrar proceeds to its examination. If the application complies with the law a search on the Status of the technique is ordered. Once this is done, the results of the search are published only if there is novelty in the new model/design. If no opposition is filed within 2 months following the publication, the registration will then be granted. The whole procedure may take approximately one and a half years.
  d. The maximum registration period is 10 years, which may be renewed for an additional 5 years.
  e. Industrial Models and Designs are subject to one publication.
  f. There is an opposition procedure for Industrial Models and Designs.
  g. The International Classification of Locarno, October 8, 1968 is applicable.
  In accordance to the Convention of Paris, within 6 months after the first application filed in another country, a priority may be claimed in Panama for Industrial Models and Designs. In case of priority claimed, the following information should be provided: a. Name of the country or office where the first application 6 filed, b. Date of filing, and c. Number of the application.
  Within 6 months after the application is filed in Panama, the applicant must file a copy of the priority application, with its description, drawings and claims, certified by the office where it was filed. This certification must contain a statement about the date when it was filed. No apostille or further legalization is required for this priority document.
TRADEMARKS (Including Advertising Slogans and Signs)
  a. A single application can include multiple international classes (Nice) of goods or services.
  b. Smells and sounds may be filed as trademarks.
  c. Geographical, Provenance and Origin Names may be filed by Interested Entities.
  d. Approximate time to obtain a trademark registration is around 6 months.
  e. The registration is valid for 10 years counted from the date of the filing.
  f. When filing the application, the client may claim priority based on the first application filed within 6 months before, in another country.
  g. Opposition proceedings may take up to 2 years, depending on circumstances.
  h. Registration, renewals and other procedures are digitally recorded. Printed certificates are still issued.
Provided by Enrique Cajiga from Cajigas & Co..
Source: International IP Law Firms 2015

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