New notarial law favourably impacts costs and timeframes for foreign mark owners


On February 26 2015, following a few legal challenges, Law 483 and Bylaw 2189 have finally come into force. This new notarial law supersedes the former law, which had been in force since March 5 1858. 

Getting rid of a 150-year-old law was favourably received amongst notaries, legal practitioners and the public in general. The Bolivian system, which is overburdened by its tendency for excessive and inefficient legal formalities and its love of bureaucracy, is seeking to become somewhat more bearable.  

In essence, the new law removes the notarial functions from the judiciary and passes them on to the executive branch. This essentially means that the requirements imposed about 150 years ago by a now collapsed judiciary system will no longer be in effect.

For trademark owners, this means faster local procedures and somewhat lower out-of-pocket expenses. Before the new law came into force, legalising a document, such as a power of attorney, required not only the consular legalisation of the document, which in and of itself is quite burdensome, but also a local legalisation procedure, which necessitated an equally large number of steps. Previously, when a document arrived in Bolivia, it had to be legalised before the Foreign Affairs Ministry and then submitted to the judiciary to obtain a notarisation order; only then could it be filed before the Patent and Trademark Office. A litigant - or, say, a trademark applicant - had to allow for at least a week for the completion of the notarisation order, which all too often meant missing deadlines as trademark agents were at the mercy of bureaucracy.

While today most of the legalisation steps still exist and have to be contended with, removing the requirements to obtain a judicial order to legalise foreign documents cuts the whole legalisation procedure by three fourths. In effect, trademark agents no longer need to submit a writ requesting, firstly, that a competent court be appointed and, secondly, that the appointed court issue the notarisation order, thereby improving the reaction capacity of foreign trademark owners.

Juan Ignacio Zapata, Bolet & Terrero, La Paz 

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