INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IN PANAMA
First Renewal Term
Subsequent Renewal Term
Law No. 35 of May 10, 1996, Enacting Provisions on Industrial Property - is the primary law governing the mechanism of trademark registration and protection in Panama.
Panama is a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
The process of registering a trademark is carried out before the General Directorate of Industrial Property of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries.
It follows a 'first-to-use' system, which subjects to presenting evidence of prior use of the mark in the country.
Panama follows the 10th edition of Nice Classification. Multi-class trademark applications are not acceptable.
The procedure takes between six (06) to nine (09) months depending on the contingencies that may arise.
To oppose the registration of a trademark, opposition actions must be presented within two (02) months after the date on which the application to be opposed is published in the Industrial Property Bulletin.
A registered trademark in Panama will have a validity period of ten (10) years from the date of application. Trademarks in Panama may be further renewed indefinitely for successive periods of ten (10) years each.
A trademark in Panama may be renewed up to one (01) year before the date of expiration.
If a trademark is not renewed before its date of expiration, a grace period of six (06) months is granted. In this case, an extra fee is required to be paid.
Proof of use of the trademark is not required to register it in Panama. However, once a trademark is registered, and if it goes unused by the owner for a period of five (05) consecutive years, the third parties may present cancellation actions based on the ground of non-use.
A patent can be registered in Panama pursuant to the Law on Industrial Property (no. 35) of May 1996 and the Executive Decree No. 7 of 1998, which provide for the registration of the local patent applications.
Panama has been a contracting party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property since October 19, 1996. It has also been a contracting party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) since September 7, 2012. Additionally, it is a party to the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure.
In Panama, 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.
It usually takes between eighteen (18) to twenty-four (24) months for the Director General of the Industrial Property Registry at the National Board of Commerce in the Ministry of Commerce and Industries to process an application for registration. Paris Convention priority can be claimed. Once the registration is complete, the Registry will issue a registration certificate.
The publication of the state of art of report will take place eighteen (18) months after the date of filing of the application or the priority date. The report on the state of the art will also be published in the Industrial Property Official Bulletin.
A period of two (02) months is given for third parties to submit observations against this report. Any observations received will be sent to the applicant, who will also have a period of two (02) months to reply. If no objections are submitted, the patent is granted.
A patent registration is valid for twenty (20) years. Once the registration has expired, it cannot be renewed.
Once a patent has been registered in Panama, there is an annuity payable to the Panamanian Government every five (05) years. The first fee for the first five (05) years of protection is due on filing and subsequent payments are due every five years on the fifth anniversary of the application date. Annuities for a PCT issued patent are due on the same date. 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 grace period of six (06) months is allowed for the late payment of an annuity upon payment of a late fee. Upon the expiry of this term, the patent application shall be deemed to have been withdrawn or the patent will lapse.
An industrial design can be registered in Panama pursuant to the Law on Industrial Property (no. 35) of May 1996 and the Executive Decree No. 7 of 1998, which provides for the registration of the local applications.
The application for the registration of an industrial design is required to be filed with DIGERPI.
Once the application has been published in BORPI, any interested party may file opposition to the registration applied for before the competent court within a period of two (02) months counted from the date of publication.
The registration of an industrial design has a term of ten (10) years counted from the date of filing of the application for registration.
The registration of an industrial design may be renewed for an additional period of five (05) years upon payment of the prescribed renewal fee.
The request for renewal needs to be filed within six (06) months before the expiration of the registration. There is a grace period of six (06) months is allowed for payment of the fee, which is subject to the prescribed surcharge - the registration shall remain in full force during this grace period as well.
Panama is a member country of the Berne Convention.
Law on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights and Enacting Other Provisions (Law No. 15 of August 8, 1994) - is the law that regulates the domain of copyright protection.
In Panama, copyright comes into existence as soon as the work is created. No formality is required to be done for obtaining copyright protection.
However, the Registry of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights, under the authority of the Directorate General of Copyright, is responsible for processing applications for the registration of protected works and phonographic productions, performances and broadcasts fixed on a material medium, and also instruments and contracts concerning the rights recognized by this Law.
Economic rights shall subsist for the life of the author plus fifty (50) years following his death.
The length of duration of copyright is fifty (50) years after the author's death or the publication of an anonymous work.
In the case of collective works, computer programs, and audiovisual works, economic rights shall lapse after fifty (50) years following first publication.