Term of validity runs from date of registration, not finalization

Colombia

The Superintendent for Commerce and Industry has issued a memorandum stating that the start date for a trademark's term of validity is the date that the Trademark Office (TO) issues an official decree of registration. This is a revision to the previous practice that had established the start date as the date the official decree of registration became final.

Under the TO's previous practice, a trademark's term of validity following registration commenced on the day the TO's official decree or resolution of registration became final. Pursuant to Colombian law, such administrative decisions can only become final when all legal remedies (eg, opposition actions) filed against the decision are resolved, or if no legal remedies are filed, five days after the official announcement of the decision. If no legal remedies are available against the decision, it becomes final the day after the official announcement.

However, Article 152 of the Andean Community Decision 486 on a Common Intellectual Property Regime states that trademark registrations should last ten years from the date of registration. This seems to indicate that a mark's term of validity starts at the date of registration and not the date that the registration is finalized following the determination of any legal action.

In order to rectify this apparent inconsistency, the Superintendent for Commerce and Industry has issued a memorandum indicating that the start date for a trademark's term of validity is the date that the TO issues an official decree of registration. Thus, the term of validity commences in spite of the fact that the mark may not take legal effect until finalization at a later date.

Valerie Fritz, Alvaro Castellanos M & Cia, Colombia

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