Priority of EU applications can be claimed in Colombia


In an official opinion issued on March 30 2012, the Colombian National Patent and Trademark Office has clarified that priority under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property can be claimed in Colombia not only with regard to member countries of the Paris Convention, but also with regard to all member states of the World Trade Organisation.

This clarification was made in application of the principle of 'national treatment', which is established in Article 1 of the Andean Community Decision 486 on a Common Industrial Property Regime. Article 1 reads as follows:

"With regard to the protection of industrial property, each member country shall accord the nationals of other members of the Andean Community, the World Trade Organisation and the Paris Convention a treatment no less favourable than it accords to its own nationals."

Since the European Community is a member of the World Trade Organisation, an application for a Colombian industrial property right (trademark, patent, model patent and design) can claim priority based on the corresponding Community trademark application under the principle of national treatment, even though the European Community is not a member of the Paris Convention.  

Following this official opinion, the National Patent and Trademark Office is opening the door for a broader application of the principle of national treatment. Therefore, other industrial property rights (ie, not only the right of priority), such as designations of origin, could be protected in Colombia, even where there is no international treaty between the countries involved.

Margarita Castellanos, Castellanos & Co, Bogota

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