Venezuela is an interesting market, especially since they became a member of the Mercosur system. This South American trading bloc is rather new. It got founded in 1991, in comparison with other South American trade communities, for example the Andean community formed in 1969. The system got established through an economic and political agreement among countries in the South American region. Aiming to promote free trade and free movement of goods, people and currencies in the membership countries which are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
However Mercosur, the Venezuelan nation’s law has not seen any positive reform towards IP rights. Since they left the Andean Community in 2006, the IP has been regulated by a national law dating from 1955. Which can’t be the right solution in an emerging and always developing world of Intellectual property. The law neglects a lot of recent developments. IP these days has been seen as an economical asset, and major advantage can be taken out of it. Although the lack of proper regulation, the trademark registration hasn’t suffered too much because of this unlike the patent market.
Though the trademark filing in Venezuela can be tricky at times. For example, registering your mark in the commercial register doesn’t automatically register you mark in the Venezuelan Patent and trademark office, also known as SAPI (Servicio Automno de Propiedad Intellectual). With the simple request of a trademark filing your trademark is not protected, only when it gets published in the IP reports, you obtain the rights of your trademark. Which are private rights.
When filing a trademark in Venezuela:
When filing for a trademark you need to do a background check, a graphic one and a phonetic one, this search is done by the office after you pay the fee. The result of the search will be available after three days. The registration process of a trademark takes around 8 months to a year. Once a trademark is registered, the right of your trademark is valid for 15 years. In case of infringement or other violations in regard of your trademark, which is a violation of private rights, it is not the Patent and Trademark office who settles this disagreements. These kind of violations are settle before court through a judicial way, through a prosecutor or before a court to settle administrative disputes. Violation or infringement of IP rights is seen as a criminal fact and thus sanctioned this way.
Venezuela stays an attractive market for investment, although in current political unstable times, we advise to take up on some legal representations to secure your trademarks. Read more about the Venezuelan Trademark filing here.