INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IN HONDURAS
First Renewal Term
Subsequent Renewal Term
The Industrial Property Law (Decree No. 12-99-E dated 30th December 1999, in force since 28th February 2000) is the primary law governing the mechanism of trademark registration and protection in Honduras.
The general provision states that the right to the exclusive use of a trademark is acquired through its registration at the Honduran Trademarks Office (TM office).
For getting a trademark registered in Honduras, an application has to be filed at Directorate General of Intellectual Property, which administers the entire trademark registration process.
The Nice Classification of Goods and Services (eleventh edition) is used. Multi-class applications are not allowed in Honduras; however, significant discounts on professional fees can be awarded for large filing projects.
An interested party may file an opposition against a trademark application within the period of publication and up to thirty (30) working days counted from the last publication of the application in the Official Gazette.
A trademark is registered in Honduras for ten (10) years from the registration date, which can be further renewed indefinitely for successive periods of ten (10) years each.
There is a grace period of six (06) months counted from the initial expiry date for the renewal of a registered trademark. Proof of use is not required at any moment during the maintenance of a mark or at the renewal date, unless a third party attacks a registration on the grounds of non-use.
If a trademark is not in use for three (03) years, it can be cancelled; however, the owner may pay the rehabilitation taxes, which prevent the trademark from becoming vulnerable to cancellation.
A patent can be registered in Honduras pursuant to the Law of Industrial Property (Decree No. 12-99-E), which provides for the registration of the local patent applications.
In Honduras, an invention that satisfies the conditions of originality, novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability, subjects to patentability. Process patent and product patent are the two types of patents that can be protected.
The types of patent applications that can be filed include Non-Convention Application and Convention Application.
It usually takes about eighteen (18) months for the Director General of Intellectual Property at the Secretariat of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism to process an application for registration. Paris Convention priority can be claimed. Once the registration is complete, the Director General will issue a registration certificate.
Honduras is signatory to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), and accordingly, national phase filing of a PCT patent is possible. The same is encouraged if the applicant is seeking coverage in another domicile. A PCT application can simplify the process of seeking a patent in countries that are parties to the PCT.
The opposition should be presented within the term established by the Honduran Industrial Property Law, which is during the term of the publication or up to thirty (30) working days, counted from the last publication date.
Honduran patents (in all fields) are granted for twenty (20) years starting from the effective filing date of the patent application.
Once a patent has been registered in Honduras, there is an annual fee payable to the Honduran Government every year. The first fee is due before the end of the third year of filing and subsequent fees are due on the anniversary of the application date. Annual fees for a PCT issued patent are due on the same dates. Failure to pay an annual fee will result in the rights protected by the registration being placed in abeyance. The same will effectively prevent any enforcement action from being taken.
There is a grace period of six (06) months for the late payment of an annual fee upon payment of a late fee. After this period, the patent application shall be deemed to have been withdrawn or the patent would lapse. It is possible to pay all the annual fees due in advance up to the expiry date of the patent.
Decree Number 12-99 governs and deals with the mechanism of registration of industrial designs in Honduras.
The types of industrial design applications that can be filed in Honduras include Non-Convention Application and Convention Application.
Opposition against an industrial design application can be raised within a reasonable time in Honduras.
Utility models have a protection term of fifteen (15) years from the effective filing date.
The maximum term of protection in Honduras is fifteen (15) years, provided the registration is renewed two (02) times for periods of five (05) years each.
The first term of design protection in Honduras will be five (05) years calculated from the date of filing. In certain cases, the date of filing starts six (06) months before the actual application date, namely if an application for an industrial design was filed before in a foreign country, but not longer than six (06) months before the application in Honduras only if the priority of this foreign application date for the new application in Honduras was claimed.
There is a grace period of six (06) months for the late renewal of a registered industrial design upon payment of an additional fee. During the grace period, the registration will keep its full effect.
The registered design in Honduras is an unexamined industrial property right. Only a procedural examination is made.
Honduras is a signatory to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
The Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Law (approved by Decree No. 4-99-E) is the primary legislation that deals copyright protection in Honduras.
In Honduras, copyright comes into existence as soon as the work is created. No formality is required to be done for obtaining copyright protection. However, one can avail some facilities for having the work registered in the Register of Copyright. A certificate is issued by the Registrar of Copyright that makes prima-facie evidence of ownership of copyright.
The standard copyright protection term lasts for the lifetime of the author plus seventy (70) years following his death. However, the duration of copyright protection varies depending on the type of work.
Copyright in a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work published within the lifetime of the author subsists until seventy (70) years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies.
The term of copyright protection for works, which are unpublished, shall expire within fifty (50) years of their inception.
Copyright in a cinematographic film, a sound recording, a photograph, a computer program, or a work of the government, a local authority, or an international organization, subsists until seventy (70) years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the publication of the work.
The copyright protection term of collaborative works lasts during the lifetime of the last surviving author plus seventy-five (75) years after his death.