Having a regional practice on Intellectual Property makes our firm specially sensitive to changes and differences on each country’s IP regulation. Little differences in formalities often turn into huge differences in time and expenses. Fortunately, the current regional trend is towards greater simplicity on IP procedures, either through the implementation of the Hague Apostille Convention* or through the complete elimination of requirements for legalization/apostilles. In countries such as Colombia, documents can just be signed and send via email to your attorneys for legal representation. Other countries such as Peru and Mexico have also eliminated legalization/apostille and Chile is underway of eliminating many requirements for their POAs.
The latest country to join this trend is Panama. We previously informed about the ratification of the Trademark Law Treaty, and now, Panama has finally eliminated many of the formalities that made IP matters in the country so much more complicated if compared to other Latin American countries. Unfortunately, many of the changes made affect only Trademark Law. The domestic PTO, the DIGERPI, has stated that POAs and other documents for Patent procedures had no changes on their required formalities.
The most important of these changes are:
-Notarization and legalization/apostille of POAs is no longer required for Trademark matters.
This means that POAs will only required to be signed and sent to IP attorneys in Panama. However, it remains unclear whether if this elimination of formalities apply for all cases. In countries such as Peru and Colombia, legalization/apostille is still required for Trademark Assignments or whenever legal rights are given up. The Panamanian PTO, the DIGERPI, has stated that this matter will be subject of future regulation. In the meantine, whenever assignments or legal rights on trademark are affected, it is advisable to continue to legalize/apostille POAs for Panama.
-The Certificate of Incorporation will no longer be required when the applicant is a corporation
The elimination of this requirement will also apply for patents.
-Multiclass trademark application will be allowed
However, this requires regulation from the PTO, and it’s still not available. As soon as multiclass registration is allowed our portfolio for services in Panama will be duly updated.
-Licenses of use no longer require to be registered before the PTO. Registration of these agreements is voluntary, not mandatory.
-It is still possible to file an application without the POA. However, there’s still an increase in official fees when this is done.
-Affidavits on trademark use are still required when filing an application for trademark registration.
These affidavits will still need to be notarized but not legalized/apostilled.
All of these changes will surely speed up procedures for trademarks in Panama. However, regulation from the PTO is still pending. We will post on this blog as soon as new information on this matter is available.