On August 5, 1995, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay signed the Protocol of the Harmonization of Rules Regarding Intellectual Property within the Mercosur ("Protocol"). The Protocol must be approved by the National Congress before entering into force in each country.
Who May Apply?
Anyone having a legitimate interest may apply to register a trademark or service mark. The first applicant is entitled to the registration.
What Can Be Registered?
Word(s) with or without meaning; drawings, emblems; monograms; engravings; stampings; seals; images; bands; combinations of colors applied to a particular place on the products or containers; wrappers; containers; combinations of letters and/or numbers; letters and numbers of a special design; advertising phrases; distinctive reliefs. and all other signs having such capacity.
What Cannot Be Registered?
Names, words, and signs constituting the necessary or usual designation of the product or service, or which are descriptive of its nature, function, qualities, or other characteristics. Names, words, or advertising slogans that have passed into general use prior to the application for registration. The shape of the products. The natural or intrinsic color of the products or a single color applied thereto. Marks identical with or similar to those previously registered or applied for with respect to the same products or services. Foreign or domestic denominations of origin, that is, the name of a country, region, place or geographical area and serving to designate a product emanating therefrom, the qualities and characteristics of which are derived from the geographical medium. Marks liable to lead to error with respect to the nature, properties, merit, quality, manufacturing methods, purpose, origin, price or other characteristics of the products or services they are intended to distinguish. Marks contrary to morals and custom. Marks required to be used by the state, provinces, municipalities, religious, and health organizations. The name, pseudonym, or portrait of a person without his consent or that of his heirs up to the fourth degree inclusive. Names of activities, including names and company names which describe an activity, to distinguish products (but abbreviations in initials, words, and other signs having distinctive capacity and forming part of such names, may be registered to distinguish products or services). Advertising phrases (or slogans) lacking originality.
Trade names are protected without the necessity of being registered by their users. Anyone with a legitimate interest may bring an action opposing use of a trade name within one year of its public and widespread use, or within one year of plaintiff's becoming aware of the use. The right to use a trade name ceases with the activity the name distinguishes.
Power of attorney, notarized, with apostille of the Hague Convention. Description of the mark and the product or service it is intended to distinguish, in duplicate, with prints attached if not an ordinary word mark. Two electrotypes not exceeding 8X10 cm (not required for ordinary word marks). Ten black and white prints of the mark (not required for ordinary word marks). Convention: if priority claimed, a certified copy of the first filed foreign application, with verified translation into Spanish, must be filed within three months of filing Argentine application.
Evaluation & Review
Applications are filed with the National Board of Industrial Property, a division of the Secretariat of State for Industrial Development of the Ministry of Economy. Applications that meet the formal requirements are published; within 30 days following publication, a novelty search is conducted by the Board. If no oppositions are filed nor anticipations uncovered, registration is granted.
Registration is granted for 10 years from the date of registration and is renewable for like periods indefinitely, provided registrant files at renewal a declaration of its use within the five years preceding each expiration date in at least one of the classes for which reigstered, or its use as a trade name (indicating the relevant product, service, or activity).
On petition, a trademark is declared to have lapsed if it has not been used in Argentina (absent force majeure) within the five years preceding the date on which the action is instituted. The mark must have been used in at least one of the classes for which registered, or used as a trade name. Use consists of commercial transactions of the trademark as registered, with documented evidence. Use in the original language of the mark does not support the "use" requirement. The registration must agree with the form as it is commercially used.
When the registrant of a trademark is aware that goods bearing the mark are on the way to Argentina, he or she can have them seized in the Custom House and then prosecute the action in the ordinary way before the Federal Court. However, in the case of seizure in the Custom House, i.e., before the goods enter Aegentina, no damages or punishment can be imposed, because, according to court precedents, such an action constitutes an attempt to commit fraud but not an actual fraud.