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Trademark Registration in Brazil

Trademark Registration in Brazil

Trademark registration in Brazil is of interest to all company owners who start their business in the country and wish to protect a unique sign that is not only distinctive but also important for the overall business image.

Our team specializing in company registration can help you not only open a business, irrespective of the chosen field, but we can also help you with subsequent steps, such as trademark registration in Brazil, or the registration of designs or patents.

A trademark has certain characteristics that need to be observed and, in general, those who register such a mark observe the rules set forth in the Brazil Intellectual Property Law.

If you are interested in company formation in Brazil, registering a trademark can be an important step. Read below to find out the answers to some of the most common questions about this process.

How is a trademark defined?

A trademark is a symbol, or a sign, a design, a work, or a combination of words, as well as a combination of several elements (such as words and signs/symbols) used to identify the products and services offered by a company by those offered by other businesses.

Trademark registration in Brazil is available for individuals as well as legal entities, meaning that the final owner of the registered mark can be an individual or a company.

The marks can also contain colors or images. Those interested in this process should know that non-traditional trademarks such as sounds or gestures, among others, are not available for registration in Brazil.

Our team of agents specializing in company formation in Brazil can give you more details about the types of trademarks that are available for registration in the country and those which are not.

We can also answer questions concerning trademark protection for foreign companies interested in opening a branch in Brazil. Two situations should be taken into account in this case: one in which the company is incorporated in Brazil, and opens another branch in the country, as well as when an overseas company with known trademark protection establishes a local branch.

Where do you register trademarks in Brazil?

Trademark registration in Brazil is performed with the National Intellectual Property Institute (INPI – Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial) based on Rio de Janeiro. All applications are submitted to this organization.

When deciding to protect the mark of their business in Brazil, entrepreneurs should know that a registration made with the INPI will only grant protection for that mark in Brazil. This means that their trademark is not protected outside the country.

The trademark protection starts once the application is accepted, i.e., on the date on which the trademark is granted.

The Certificate of Registration is the document issued by the authorities to prove that trademark registration in Brazil has been officially recognized.

It is issued after the payment of the fee (please see below) and after the application has had its concession published in the Industrial Property Journal (Revista de Propriedade Industrial).

The Certificate includes the representation of the mark, the number and date of registration, the name, nationality and domicile of the holder, the products or services for which the mark is used, and the characteristics of any foreign priorities, if applicable.

A Trademark Registration Certificate (and its duplicate) is issued exclusively in electronic format and bears the electronic signature of the Certifying Authority.

Only the trademark owner is allowed to view the Certificate through the portal (or his attorney), by means of a password.

If you have an international business, and want to open a company in Brazil, our team can give you more details on how to register and protect a mark that is already registered in another country, if applicable.

If you have a trademark registered in the EU and wish to also protect it in Brazil, our team can answer your questions.

How long is the trademark protected?

Trademark registration in Brazil grants protection for a period of 10 years after the date of registration. Subsequent 10-year registration period renewals are possible indefinitely.

Investors can also register the same trademark for different types of products or services, however, they must do so by submitting different applications.

Some of the costs associated with trademark registration are listed below:

  • 355 R$: for a trademark registration with a pre-approved specification (fee per class); a discount can also apply;
  • 415 R$: in case of trademark registrations with no pre-defined specifications (also the amount per each class of goods or services);
  • 140 R$: for the submission of amendments required by formal examination and/or for the submission of amendments from a petition for conformity examination;
  • 754 R$: the fee for the renewal of the trademark, when this is done within the regular term for renewal, and per each class;
  • 475 R$: for an appeal for a trademark; the opposition of a trademark (per class) is subject to a 355 R$ fee.

Applicants should expect a period of 24 months for the processing of the registration, although in some cases this can be longer. This is the estimated period between the date on which the application is filed and the date on which the final decision is communicated by the INPI.

Some categories of applicants can benefit from reduced fees for trademark registration in Brazil. Examples include: individuals, micro-companies, individual micro-entrepreneurs, small companies, cooperatives, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, public agencies.

Please keep in mind that these fees can be subject to change and we advise those interested to reach out to one of our company formation agents for more information and updated fees, if applicable.

The rights and duties of the trademark holder

When properly registered, a registered trademark grants its proprietor the sole use of the registered sign throughout the national territory of Brazil.

Likewise, the trademark owner has the right of precedence to registration. This can only be assigned when the company, or part thereof, is transferred, and the said part that is being transferred has a direct relationship to the use of the mark.

Under the law, the protected mark can be used on papers, printed documents, advertising documents, and other documents relating to the lawful activity of the proprietor.

The holder of the trademark cannot, by law, prevent its representatives or distributors from using the mark for the promotion or commercialization of the products, not can it be used as an impediment to the free movement of products placed on the domestic market.

The trademark owner cannot stop the brand from being cited in speech, literary or scientific work, or other publications, provided that these have no commercial connotation and do not bring prejudice to the mark’s distinctive character.

The duties of the trademark holder include the following:

  • to extend the registration of the mark every 10 years;
  • to use the trademark for the products or services it was intended for within 5 years, or risk having it expire;
  • in the case of foreign trademark owners, conclude a power of attorney with an attorney in Brazil who will represent the interests of the proprietor in all administrative and judicial matters.

The extension of the registration is subject to the following conditions:

  • it can be extended for successive periods of 10 years at a time;
  • it must be submitted during the last year of registration validity or no later than 6 months following the date of the expiry of the registration (subject to an additional fee);
  • the extension request needs to be submitted by the rightful trademark owner (or his appointed lawyer in Brazil, as seen above in some cases);
  • a statement if required, proving that the trademark holder continues to be involved with providing the same type of products or services for which the mark was registered;
  • the extended trademark registration certificate is issued in electronic form.

Trademark owners should also keep in mind that an unused mark will expire.

The registration of the mark expires at the request of a person with legitimate interest if, within 5 years of the mark having been granted, the following takes place:

  • the use of the registered mark has not started in Brazil; or
  • the use of the mark has been interrupted for more than 5 consecutive years or within the same time, the mark was used with a modification that changed its original, distinctive character.

The mark is not subject to expiry if the owner can provide legitimate reasons for not using it.

The holder of the mark is asked to provide the said legitimate reasons for not using the mark within 60 days after the notification of expiry.

Many investors who open a company in Brazil should also take into account trademark registration as a step once they finish the incorporation stages. Protecting the company’s logos is a recommended step as it will grant exclusive use. You can reach out to our team for more information about the costs and the process before you decide to register a trademark.

Contact us if you need more information about trademark registration in Brazil, as well as if you require assistance during this procedure.