INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IN NICARAGUA
First Renewal Term
Subsequent Renewal Term
The Trademark Law (Law 380), in force since April 2001, its regulation Decree 83-2001 and Law 580, Amendments to Trademark Law (380) by Law 580, Amendments to Regulation of Trademark Law, since June 28, 2012 by Decree 25-2012 – are the primary laws governing the mechanism of trademark registration and protection in Nicaragua.
To register a trademark in Nicaragua, an application must be filed with the Intellectual Property Registry of Nicaragua (MIFIC), which administers the entire trademark registration process.
Nicaragua follows the 10th edition of Nice Classification. Multi-class trademark applications are not acceptable.
It is not necessary for a trademark to be in use in Nicaragua to be able to register it.
Opposition actions against the registration of a trademark in Nicaragua must be presented within two (02) months from the date on which details of the trademark application are published in the Official Gazette.
As previously stated, use of a trademark is not required to register it. However, once registered, and if a trademark goes unused by its owner for a longer period than three (03) years, third parties may present cancellation actions based on the lack of use. Use of the trademark must be on a commercial scale to satisfy the use requirements in case of a cancellation action.
A registered trademark in Nicaragua will remain valid for a period of ten (10) years from the date of registration. Trademarks may be further renewed indefinitely for additional periods of ten (10) years each. One may renew a trademark in Nicaragua up to one (01) year before its expiration date.
Once a trademark expires, it may still be renewed up to six (06) months, i.e., the grace period, after its expiration date upon payment of extra fees (surcharge for late renewal).
A patent can be registered in Nicaragua pursuant to the Law on Patents, Utility Models, and Industrial Designs, 2001 (Law No. 354) (as amended), the Regulations of the Law on Patents, Utility Models, and Industrial Designs (Decree No. 88-2001) (as amended), and the Amendments and Additions Law (No. 1025) of 3 April, 2020, which provide for the registration of the local patent applications.
In Nicaragua, 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.
Paris Convention priority can be claimed. The types of patent applications that can be filed include Non-Convention Application and Convention Application.
Nicaragua 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 party to the PCT.
At any stage in the proceedings, before the final decision on the application, any comments or documents that may be relevant to the decision on whether or not the patent application is acceptable may be submitted to the Intellectual Property Registry.
A patent registration is valid for twenty (20) years. Once the registration has expired, it cannot be renewed.
It usually takes about twelve (12) months for the Registrar of the Industrial Property Registry at the General Board of Industry in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development to process an application for registration. Once the registration is complete, the Registry will issue the certificate of registration.
Once a patent has been registered in Nicaragua, there is an annuity payable to the Nicaraguan Government every year. The first fee in respect of the third year is due in advance on the second anniversary of the application date and the subsequent fees on the anniversary of the application date. Annuities for a PCT issued patent are due on the same dates. Failure to pay an annuity will result in the rights protected by the registration being placed in abeyance. The same will effectively prevent any enforcement action from being taken.
A utility model shall be patentable when it is industrially applicable and novel. It shall not be considered novel where it does not add any discernible utilitarian characteristic to the state of the art.
An application for a utility model patent may only relate to one object or to a set of two or more parts that constitute a functional unit. Two or more elements or aspects of that object or unit may be claimed in the same application.
The provisions relating to patents shall be applicable to utility models where appropriate.
A utility model patent shall have a non-renewable term of ten (10) years, counted from the filing date of the application.
An industrial design can be registered in Nicaragua pursuant to the Law on Patents, Utility Models, and Industrial Designs, 2001 (Law No. 354) (as amended), and the Regulations of the Law on Patents, Utility Models, and Industrial Designs (Decree No. 88-2001) (as amended).
The types of industrial design applications that can be filed in Nicaragua include Non-Convention Application and Convention Application.
The application for registration of an industrial design needs to be filed with the Intellectual Property Registry, which administers the entire process of registration.
Opposition against an industrial design application can't be raised in Nicaragua.
An unregistered design is protected for a period of three (03) years.
The protection term of a registered industrial design is five (05) years from the filing date of the relevant application, which is further renewable for two (02) additional periods of five (05) years each upon payment of the prescribed fee.
The renewal fee is required to be paid before the date on which it becomes due; it may also be paid within a grace period of six (06) months following the due date, which is also subject to payment of the prescribed surcharge. The industrial design registration shall remain in full force during the grace period as well.
Nicaragua is a signatory to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
Law No. 312 on Copyright and Related Rights (revised text as of February 2001) forms the basic legislation governing copyright protection in Nicaragua.
The enjoyment and exercise of copyright and related rights are not subject to any mandatory formal copyright registration. Non-registered and non-published works are protected from their date of creation. The Intellectual Property Office is responsible for copyright registration.
Moral rights do not have a specific time limit, and the creator has moral rights for his or her entire life. Upon the death of the author, these rights are passed to his or her heirs.
Economic rights last for the lifetime of the author plus seventy (70) years after his or her death (or after a declaration of their death or a respective declaration of absence).
In the case of works which are pseudonymous, anonymous, or collective works, the economic rights last seventy (70) years from their publication, unless the name of the author is identified before the expiration of this period.
In the case of a joint work, the term of the economic rights will be calculated from the death of the last surviving co-author.