Prosecution of IP crimes


María del Pilar López and Esteban Monge

After Costa Rica joined the World Trade Organization in 1995, several obligations were placed on the country relating to IP.

In particular, the Trade-Related Aspects of IP Rights (TRIPS) Agreement set out minimum standards for the protection, enforcement and dispute settlement of IP rights, modifying the country’s domestic procedures and remedies to comply with international standards.

Later, as a consequence of the enforcement of the Dominican Republic—Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), Costa Rica agreed to a number of obligations that resulted in the modification of its IP laws and, therefore, its legal system was strengthened and modified even further to comply with international standards. Now there is a well-defined and harmonised legal scenario, with a broad understanding of right owners’ needs.

However, the infringement of IP rights has not had any particular significance for the Costa Rican authorities over the last few decades. Maybe that’s an economic or cultural issue, but primarily it is related to a lack of political will. In this regard, although there have been efforts to encourage the protection of IP rights, the truth is that neither administrative nor civil or criminal mechanisms have succeeded in building an efficient and well organised system to provide practical tools to promote the enforcement of IP rights.

TRIPS; USTR; WTO; IP prosecution;