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Puerto Rico (PR)

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Mai 26, 2010 (Newsletter Issue 11/10)
Trademark Law Amended
By enacting Act 169 of December 16th, 2009, the government has adopted a more organized and comprehensive trademark regime. For example a more flexible registration process is available. New elements can be registered like sounds and smells. There has been also some changes for the opposition of trademarks.

For more information please click here to read the article of Moeller IP Advisors


Legal basis is the Puerto Rico Trademark Act, in force since February 14th, 1992 last amended by Act 169 of December 16th, 2009 and further amended by Act 124-2011. Although Puerto Rico is part of the USA with special status, it has a trademark law independent of the USA. The former alternative of obtaining a Puerto Rico Trademark based on an US registration is no longer available.

Trademark protection is obtained by registration in the case of marks that are not in use (intent-to-use applications) and by prior use in the case of marks that are in use in Puerto Rico. Secondary meaning can be obtained by proving use of the trademark in commerce for the last five years.

Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States. It is unique in the sense that it is neither a state nor an independent country, and it has a significant amount of self-government. However, for many purposes Puerto Rico is treated as if it were a state.

The Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act provides that the statutory laws of the United States shall have full effect in Puerto Rico, unless locally inapplicable. Therefore, rights acquired under the Lanham Act are valid and enforceable in Puerto Rico.

In addition to the applicability of the Lanham Act, Puerto Rico has its own trademark registration system and its own trademark statute, the Puerto Rico Trademark Act, which coexists with the Lanham Act. A partial pre-emption will take place when a provision of Puerto Rico Trademark Law runs in conflict with a provision of federal trademark law.
Nice classification, 10th edition
Registrable as a trademark are all distinctive and graphically representable signs, such as words, names, acronyms, letters, numbers, devices, emblems, combinations or shades of colors, three-dimensional forms, sound marks, smell marks and any combination of the mentioned signs are all registrable as trademarks..
The following trademark types are registrable: trade marks, service marks, collective marks, certification marks.
The application is filed at the Trademark Registry, which is kept by the government.
A single application cannot cover multiple classes. Each class of the same trademark would be considered a separate and independent application, resulting in a separate and independent registration.
If the applicant is not domiciled in this jurisdiction, it is not necessary to provide a local address for service. A home trademark representative/attorney/agent domiciled in the applicant’s home country or a representative /attorney/agent domiciled in the trademark jurisdiction of interest may file directly in this jurisdiction. Please bear in mind that only attorneys admitted to practice in Puerto Rico can file applications.
A power of attorney is not needed. The Rules and Regulations of the Trademark Office provide that when an attorney files an application for registration as well as other transactions that relate to registered marks or pending applications, it is presumed that he or she is authorized by the mark owner to so proceed. A power of attorney may only be required during prosecution if a response to an official request must be filed.
All applications based on the use of the mark in Commerce and all Declarations of Use must include a specimen.
There is no priority available in Puerto Rico currently.
The application process includes a formal examination, an examination of distinctiveness, descriptiveness, deceptiveness, and a search for prior trademarks registered in Puerto Rico.
The processing time from first filing to registration or first office action is approx. 2 years if no office actions are issued.
The opposition period is 30 days from the publication date of the application. The 2009 Act provides, for an extension of time of 20 days (with just cause) to file an opposition to the registration of a mark after the 30 opposition period has lapsed. The extension has to be requested prior to the expiration of the original 30 day term.

Details regarding the Opposition Period against designation of IR Mark are available in our publication on this topic here
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from the date of registration, which dates back to the filing date and can be renewed for equal periods.
The grace period for renewals is 6 months from the expiration date of the trademark.

Further practical details are available in our publication on this topic here
A trademark is considered to have been abandoned after 3 years of non-use.
Attack on the grounds of non-use is available. To avoid attack on the grounds of non-use, a trademark must be used for three consecutive years in local commerce.
For registrations based on Intent to Use, a Declaration of Use must be filed within three years from the date of filing the application, stating under the penalties of perjury, that use commenced within three years from the filing date of the application. The Declaration must be submitted with one label or specimens of the mark as used in commerce and the date of first use of the trademark in Puerto Rico.
All registrants must file a statement of continued use by and during the 5th/6th and 9th/10th year of registration. The Registrant can request an extension of 1 year for filing said statement which can be granted or not by the TM Office depending on the justifications given by the Registrant.
Resumption of use after non-use for the prescribed period may cure non-use provided that no third party has filed an action for cancellation on the grounds of non-use.

Further practical details are available in our publication on this topic here
The official fee for filing a trademark application is USD 150 per class. Additional fees associated with mark applications include publication costs of USD 60 and notarization costs of USD 25.

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Puerto Rico Trademark Office now offers online services and information:
The Puerto Rico Trademark Office (PRTO) now offers many online services for trademark transactions. The PRTO offers a new online search trademark database for all marks filed and registered with the Department of State. Logged in users are able to submit trademark applications, validation minimum requirements for an application prior to payment, select and search for Nice Classification of goods and services, upload mark images and specimens, and make credit card payments all online.

Practical details on licensing procedures, requirements and effectiveness are available in our publication on this topic here.
Country Index is a free service of SMD Group. We thank the following law firms for their assistance in updating the information provided.

Jul 08, 2019
Ferraiuoli LLC, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Jul 20, 2017
Ferraiuoli LLC, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Sep 11, 2013
Wolf Greenfield & Sacks P.C., Boston, MA, USA

Jul 18, 2011
Wolf Greenfield & Sacks P.C., Boston, MA, USA

Dez 14, 2010
Moeller IP Advisors, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Puerto Rico Trademark Office (PRTO)
P.O. Box 9023271
San Juan, PR 00902-3271

Tel +1 787 722 2121 ext. 4402