Trade and Service Marks
– Law No. 380 on Trademarks and Other Distinctive Signs, effective from October 10, 2001, amended on March 23, 2006 and April 3, 2020.
Membership in International Conventions
– General Interamerican Convention on Trade Mark and Commercial Protection.
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since May 5, 1985.
– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since July 3, 1996.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since January 1, 2000.
– Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration, Stockholm Act, since June 15, 2006.
– Dominican Republic – the United States of America – Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), since March 31, 2006.
– Trademark Law Treaty (TLT), since September 22, 2009.
– Chile – Central America Free Trade Agreement, since December 16, 2011.
– Mexico – Central America Free Trade Agreement, since March 27, 2012.
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), as of May 14, 2013.
– The Association Agreement between Central America and the European Union, since August 1, 2013.
Applicant: manufacturers, merchants and suppliers of services. Applicant may be an individual or a legal entity (corporations, societies, etc.).
Foreigners and nationals not living in the country: have the same rights as nationals living in Nicaragua.
Distinctiveness and novelty: required for registration.
Not registrable: (1) letters, emblems, words or names and devices used or that may only be used by the State; (2) the form and shape of the products; (3) terms or phrases which are in general use and designations usually employed to indicate the nature of the products; (4) expressions or figures that are contrary to good morals; (5) the coats of arms of foreign countries, unless so authorized by the corresponding government; (6) the portrait of any person, other than the person applying for registration of the mark, unless his consent or that of his heirs is submitted; (7) marks that may be confused with other registered trademarks or with those about to be registered when the corresponding application is filed at the trademark and Patent Office; (8) trademarks that are obvious imitations; (9) trademarks that are identical or obvious imitations of famous marks even though they are not registered in Nicaragua; (10) marks infringing copy rights; (11) marks containing an origin denomination; (12) marks identical or similar to a distinctive sign used in good faith in the national territory; (13) simple colors separately considered; (14) containers that are of public domain or have become of common use; (15) simple indications of source and denominations of origin; (16) signs that suggest a false indication with respect to origin, nature or quality; (17) names of protected plant varieties; (18) marks including false prizes, medals, diplomas or another deceptive elements indicating the products protected by the mark have been awarded.
Obtention of rights: only through registration, save the case mentioned in point (12). Priority originates from the date and hour of filing of application. Use in good faith grants rights (see point (12)).
Compulsory registration: not compulsory, save trademarks for pharmaceutical products, according to the Law of Pharmacy.
Service marks: protection is available.
Commercial names and publicity slogans: registration is available in a similar form to marks and the same documentation is required. Protection is enjoyed not only when they are registered, but also by use.
Classification: International Classification of Goods and Services and the International Classification of Figurative Elements.
Multi-class applications: permitted.
Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney, legalized either by Apostille or up to the Nicaraguan Consulate in the country where issued;
2. Priority document, if priority is claimed (no legalization).
Electronic filing: not available.
Electronic signatures: are not accepted (only wet signatures).
For a change of name or address:
1. Change of name/address document, legalized either by Apostille or up to the Nicaraguan Consulate in the country where issued;
2. Power of attorney reflecting the new name/address, legalized either by Apostille or up to the Nicaraguan Consulate in the country where issued.
Examination: formal and substantive about distinctiveness and availability of mark, carried out after publication of the application. The formal examination is made to see if the application is accompanied by all documents and information required by the law. The substantive examination determines the registrability of the trademark application.
Disclaimers: not available.
Letters of consent: are accepted, must be legalized either by Apostille or up to the Nicaraguan Consulate.
Opposition: to be filed within thirty business days following the only publication of an application for registration. Such term can be extended one time only for an additional fifteen business days by filing an extension request and paying the respective extension official fee. The request of extension must be filed prior to the expiration of the opposition term.
Delivery of document: a certificate of registration is issued after granting in paper format.
Beginning and duration of protection: ten years from registration date.
Renewal: every ten years, to be requested within the year before registration expires. An expired registration may be renewed within a grace period of six months from the deadline, paying the corresponding tax and surcharge.
Character of registration: voluntary.
Marking: not compulsory; however,registered trademarks bear the indication “Registered trademark” or the equivalent registration symbol ®, which must appear clearly on the products, their wrappings or containers.
Modification of Protection after Registration
Rights of prior user: a prior user can file oppositions if he has used the mark for at least six months and has filed an application for registration. Also, an owner of a mark protected in any country member of the Interamerican Convention, but not registered in Nicaragua, can file oppositions to identical or confusingly similar trademarks based on Art. 7 of this Convention, and also apply for annulment of a mark based on Art. 8 of this Convention. A national application should be filed prior or simultaneously with the opposition.
Modification of registration: only possible to reduce the number of goods or services covered by the mark. If the registrant wishes to broaden the protection, a new application must be filed.
Nullification: the administration ex officio or any interested party can request nullification of any registration of a mark (trade or service) before a court of justice if it is proved that said registration was granted contrary to law.
Infringement: a mark or distinctive sign, is being infringed when a third party manufactures or sells products or renders services bearing a mark or a copy thereof without the authorization or corresponding license from the owner.
Penalties: from one to three years imprisonment, or fine of three hundred “days fine”, according to the infraction, and disqualification from practicing his/her specific profession or activity against the infringer. “Days fine” is not a specific fine, but a discretional fine according to the Judge’s criteria, taking into account the financial situation of the infringer. The mark owner is also entitled to claim damages.