Trademark Office rules on use of ® symbol
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The Colombian Trademark Office has issued a legal opinion on the use of the ® symbol (March 12 2008).
Andean Community Decision 486 on a Common Industrial Property Regime contains no specific rules on the use of the ® symbol, which informs consumers that a mark is registered in Colombia or elsewhere in the world.
The Colombian Constitution establishes that the quality of goods and services, as well as all information provided to consumers with regard to goods and services, must be duly regulated by law. Based on this principle, a national rule on guarantees, trademarks, slogans, advertising, pricing and the responsibilities of manufacturers, distributors and salesmen establishes that any information provided to consumers with regard to the components and properties of goods or services must be true and appropriate. Therefore, the rule prohibits the use of trademarks (among other things) that may mislead consumers.
In compliance with this rule, the Trademark Office has held that all information provided to consumers with regard to goods and services - including the ® symbol - must be true, demonstrable and appropriate, and must not be misleading.
Therefore, although there is no consumer protection regulation on the use of the ® symbol, any party may initiate legal proceedings for unlawful use of the symbol where the corresponding trademark is not duly registered in Colombia or another country.
Margarita Castellanos, Castellanos & Co, Bogota
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