Official trademark search results to be submitted with all applications

The Venezuelan Trademarks Office has issued an official announcement stating that effective from May 5 2009, applicants must provide the official search results together with their trademark application. Surprisingly, this announcement came after the office suspended its expedited search service - official trademark search results are now delivered within five to nine days.

The office based its decision on Article 71 of the Industrial Property Act, under which trademark applicants must attest that "the mark applied for is not likely to be confused with an earlier registered trademark for identical or similar goods". One interpretation of this provision was that trademark applicants should submit, together with their application, a writ attesting that there is no likelihood of confusion between the mark applied for and any other registered trademark. However, the office considered that in order to comply with Article 71, applicants should provide the official trademark search results. In addition, the office interpreted this provision as meaning that failure to submit the search results at the time of filing will result in the rejection of the application.

This interpretation raised several concerns - for example, whether the new requirement should apply:
However, the office has indicated that the new requirement will apply in both cases.

As a consequence of the new practice, trademark filings are expected to be hit with delays since applicants must have received the official search results before filing their application with the office.

Ricardo Enrique Antequera, Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez, Caracas

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