Guatemala announces new IP laws to protect foreign companies


New IP modifications passed in Guatemala will allow companies from outside the country to protect their products and ensure their authenticity.

The changes, passed by the Guatemalan Congress, will allow international entities to obtain a protection of their Denomination of Origin (DO).

A DO ensures only products genuinely originating from a certain region are allowed to be identified as such in trade.

In the past, only entities within Guatemala could apply for a DO causing problems for foreign companies who had their IP rights infringed by local bodies passing off a DO as their own trademark.

Owners including Italian association covering Prosciutto di Parma had previously requested protection claiming national treatment, but were denied by the IP office.

But the new measures, which came into force on June 26, are set to provide vital protection and improve trade.

“We think this will give international investors in Guatemala more certainty in their IP Rights,” said Hector Palomo, partner at Palomo y Porras, an IP law firm in Guatemala.

“They will be able to obtain protection that was not granted to them in the past, and this will attract, hopefully, more investments in our country.”

He added: “With these modifications Guatemala will respect the important trade principle called national treatment, and will allow international DO owners to obtain protection and guarantee their investment in Guatemala.

"This move is a step forward towards complying with the Free Trade Agreement with European Union, and in the field of DO we think now is the exact moment to file for protection and take advantage of the new rules."

The new laws have been in the pipeline for around two years and are expected to be implemented in the coming weeks.

The modifications also include a new use for the publication of trademarks through an online bulletin issued by the IP Office, effective from January 2014, which will allow owners to view new trademarks.

Guatemala, DO, European Union, IP,