Arguelles & Company has consistently ranked as the firm with the most successful number of trademark registrations in Belize for the past five years.
A system of "Cautionary Notices" was the prior practice with trademarks being required to be registered in the UK before recognition in Belize. With the passing of the new Acts, the antiquated United Kingdom Trademarks Act and the Merchandise Marks Act were repealed.
A critical part of the classification system is the International Classification of the Nice Agreement which is incorporated into local legislation. In accordance with Intellectual Property Journal Vol. 6 – No. 4, Direction under Rule 59 of the Trademark Rules, the Nice Classification, Ninth Edition, is now being used for the classification of goods and services. The direction further states the class headings only indicate in a general manner the field to which the goods and services in principle belong and that the Alphabetical List of Goods and Services of the Nice Classification should be consulted when classifying each individual product or service.
A collective mark is used to distinguish the goods or services of members of an association from the goods or services of non-members.
Certification Marks: A certification mark is used to distinguish goods or services certified by the proprietor in respect of quality or some other characteristic.
Multi-class applications are limited to five (5) classes per application. There is no bar however, for the filing of multiple applications for the same mark (subject to additional official fees) for a mark to be registered under more than five (5) classes.
Term & Renewals:
ion of protection of a registered mark is 10 years from date of filing with further terms of renewal (of 10 years) subject to continued use and a statement of specific use to be submitted upon filing of the renewal application. A renewal grace period of 6 months after the expiration date is possible and a further 6 months is allowed for re-registration (restoration).
Prior use in Belize is not mandatory but the application must state that the trade mark is being used, by the applicant or with his consent, in relation to those goods or services, or that he has a bona fide intention that it should be so used. Within the period of five years following the date of completion of the registration procedure, the mark must be put to genuine use in Belize by the proprietor or with his consent, in relation to the goods or services for which it is registered. Failing to do so will constitute grounds for revocation by any interested party should there be no adequate reasons for non-use.
Paris Convention Priority (and other features e.g. Recognition of "Well Known Marks") is common. Priority can be claimed from an earlier application filed in a PCT country and within 6 months of that earlier application and the Belize date shall then be the date of the first application. A certified copy of the earlier application must be submitted to BELIPO within 90 days of the date of filing.
Requirements to Register a Trademark in Belize
In order for us to register a trademark in Belize on your behalf Power of Attorney must be completed and signed by the Applicant. There is no need for notarization or legalization and a signed copy can be used for filing purposes provided we receive the original within 30 days of such filing. The entire process normally takes about 13 to 16 weeks.
Requirements to Renew a Trademark in Belize
In order for us to renew a trademark in Belize on your behalf a Power of Attorney must be completed and signed by the Applicant. There is no need for notarization or legalization and a signed copy can be used for filing purposes provided we receive the original within 30 days of such filing.
In addition to the above, client would need to inform us which of the following applies to the mark:
- The Mark covered by the registration has been used in Belize by the registered proprietor or a registered licensee during the last year in respect of all of the goods or services covered by the registration.
- The Mark covered by the registration has been used in Belize by the registered proprietor or a registered licensee during the last year in respect of the following goods or services covered by the registration.
- The Mark covered by the registration has not been used in Belize by the registered proprietor or a registered licensee during the last year in respect of the following goods or services covered by the registration for the following reasons: (State reasons).
- The Mark covered by the registration has not been used in Belize by the registered proprietor or a licensee under a licence-contract during the last year in respect of any of the goods or services covered by the registration for the following reasons: (State reasons).
OPPOSITION: Any person may, within the prescribed time (about 12 weeks) from the date of the publication of the application, give notice to the Registrar of opposition to the registration.
Kindly contact us for opinion as to likelihood of success and/or procedure.
Requirement for Other Recordals
Apart from the aforementioned Authorization of Agent (Form no. 2) the following is required for each of the below-listed recordals:
- Transfer or Assignment of a Trademark: Original Deed of Assignment or a notarized copy thereof. (Kindly note that the required Form no. 2 must be signed by the Assignee)
- Recordal of a Change of Name: Evidence of such name change in the form of an extract from the companies register, etc
- Recordal of a Change of Address: No formal evidentiary proof required, just the submission of the new address
- Recordal of a Licence-Contract: Original Licence Agreement or a notarized copy thereof. (Kindly note that the required Form no. 2 must be signed by the Licencee)
- Recordal of a Change of Agent: Instructions from client.
Importation/Customs Entry of Infringing Articles
Provisions are in place for a Customs Notice to restrict, or commence forfeiture or confiscation of counterfeit and infringing goods. The police may also search for and destroy these articles after importation in all means of transport but domestic premises require a warrant. Brands such as Viagra, FootLocker, Marlboro, Tommy Hilfiger and Levis have all been successfully protected (or counterfeits prevented from entry) through Customs and Police work in Belize.
Portfolio Negotiation & Infringement Enforcement
The Belize Trademark attorneys for Arguelles and Company have a history of successful negotiation when dealing with local and international portfolio licensing, franchising, sales, distributorships and negotiation of local marks. They have also enforced numerous foreign well known marks against local counterfeiters and instances of "passing off". Many marks have been returned to its rightful owners coupled with cease and desist actions and injunctions and undertakings to prevent and terminate unauthorized usage. Please contact us for specific examples.