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What you need to know about trademarks when doing business in Colombia

Colombia is becoming an important market for business, a market that is growing every day, and with the promise to improve even more now, after the peace treaty signed between the democratic government and the leftist guerrilla.

Trademark registration has become a must do for both local and foreign companies that are investing in Colombia, and now, the new laws are giving trademark owners more, clear rights, and are making easier the trademark enforcement. Brand owners can choose between civil cases, criminal cases, or both at the same time.

In Colombia, the owner of the trademark is the one who gets its registry and, the smart thing to do, is, of course, be the first one to register it.

Important facts

- The Trademark process can take between 6 to 12 months; sometimes even more if too many oppositions are presented.
- The trademark office in Colombia is Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio.
- You can make all the process online. Colombia is very advanced in the field of digitalized government, yet international owners shall hire a Colombian attorney.

The registration process

1. Trademark registration study: This can be done by an Intelectual Property Law attorney. He/she will give you a legal concept about the trademark registration success possibilities.

2. Trademark application: Your attorney will submit all the necessary paperwork thru the website.

3. Form study: The trademark office will objections all the paperwork. If something's missing or does not comply with the law, then, they will ask you to meet.

4. Trademark publication: In the Official Gazette

5. Oppositions: During the publication time (30 business days), third people can file oppositions against the trademark. Your lawyer should answer those objections in time.

6. Final Resolution. The trademark office will grant or deny your trademark.

As you can see, the trademark registration process is very standard. Simple steps that you'll need to follow closely. Beware: if you fail to comply within a given time, you will lose your money AND the priority.

We can help with your trademark registration. Speak with a Colombian Intelectual Property Attorney about the process. We do not charge for this initial appointment.

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How to answer trademark oppositions in Colombia

The Madrid Protocol has offered an easy way to file
"foreign" trademark applications in Colombia, without, in principle, the need of hiring a Colombian attorney.

The trademark office will receive your application, and then, they will publish it on the official gazette. Third parties will have the chance to present oppositions, and you must answer them within the next 30 after the publication.

There is no sanction for not answering oppositions, but the TM Office will not hear your part of the story, something you do not want.

Keep in mind that you have to respond to the opposition in Spanish language and that you will need an Intelectual Property Attorney in Colombia.

We suggest:

1. With your trademark application number, contact an IP attorney in Colombia.
2. Ask the attorney if you are still on time to answer the opposition. If the attorney is not sure about the date or how to check the number you gave him/her, please consider a change. A good IP lawyer must know this.
3. Follow your attorney indications.

Keep in mind: Time is important here.

We can help you

We can answer your opposition. For that, we will need:

  1. Speak with you. Before you start, you may want to speak with a Colombian attorney. You can have a 30 minutes call or video conference free of charge. No obligation.
  2. We will need the file number OR the trademark name.
  3. Our fee: US$ 450

How to know if a trademark is registered in Colombia – Updated for 2017 database

The Colombian trademark office offers a free trademark search website that can be used by anyone, free of charge.

Watch the step by step video

Step 1: The website

Go to: sipi.sic.gov.co

Paso 2: Click "buscar".

We are searching for a trademark, so you have to click over "BUSCAR" in the "Signos distintivos" column. Look the yellow mark on the image.

Step 3: Write your trademark

Do it in the designated field

Please be advised that this is just an identical trademark search. DO NOT make any desition about register a trademark or not based on these results. You must conduct a phonetic study.

Let us help you!

Schedule a phone call or a video conference with a Colombian Intelectual Property Attorney, and see if we are the right fit for your needs. You do not pay for this call.