How to protect your brand in Brazil?

Intellectual-property is a concept that covers the inventions in all fields of human activity, scientific discoveries, industrial designs, industrial, commercial and service marks, as well as commercial firms and trade names, protection against unfair competition. In the whole world, different in each country, we have laws that regulate these creations. The purpose is to encourage the invention of a large variety of intellectual goods. This gives economic incentive for their creation because it allows people to profit from the information and intellectual goods they create.

Inside the intellectual-property we have trademark. It is a unique sign, visually distinct, capable of identifying and distinguishing similar products or services from a different origin. Any name or symbol used to identify a company, product/service or trade. It also used as prevention against competitors trying to use a similar or same insignia or phrasing.

International trademark law ends up being complicated because countries legislate their own procedures. We have different laws in each country. In Brazil, the Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial (INPI) is the organization responsible for dealing with trademark applications and the trademarks protected by INPI registration are only valid in Brazil.

The trademark can be composed of letters, images, symbols, words, names, colors, graphic forms or their combinations and is divided into 4 types. According to its scope of protection we have product and service trademarks and according to its object of protection collective and certification trademark. Non-traditional ones, like, smell, movement, sound, and gestures are not subject to registration in Brazil but they can be defended through Unfair Competition legislation. To register for a Trademark you need to define a class/classes that best represents your type of business.  the same brand can be registered for different classes of activity. This allows, for example, a toy, a computer brand and a decoration business with the same name.

The period that the trademark protection in Brazil lasts is 10 years and it can always be renewed indefinitely for 10-years periods.

The whole process can be divided into 3 steps

  • Comprehensive Study - Ensure that an identical/ similar trademark is not yet registered. Grant that the registration submitted is distinctive enough to obtain a trademark.

  • Registration Request -  Prepare and fill in the trademark application form. Submit The Trademark Registration Request.

  • Certificate Obtaining - Receive the Certificate and acquire the right to use the ® symbol beside the trademark.

The registering time can go from 10 to 36 months (from the Registration Request to the Certificate Obtaining) considering there is no opposition the process usually takes 6 months. In the event of opposition, the process may take several years. When the trademark Registration Certificate is accepted it becomes open to opposition for a period of two months. During this time a third party can challenge your trademark registration, and this process may take several years.