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COLOMBIA


TRADEMARK CANCELLATION ACTIONS


Luz Helena Adarve and Juanita Acosta Gómez Cárdenas & Cárdenas Abogados


Now that Colombia has harmonised its IP regulations with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO’s) Trademark Law Treaty and Madrid Protocol—although the harmonisation is yet to be implemented— the trademark offi ce is forced to adopt trends and set guidelines in a diffi cult environment. Many trademarks have to coexist and their holders are trying to register marks when few possibilities for registration exist and, to make matters worse, registrations that were acquired under the prior system were allowed to cover full-class headings.


It is essential that trademark owners refi ne their trademark registration strategies to accommodate these new issues in Colombia. In particular, close attention must be paid to the specifi city of products, mode of use, product relation, notoriety and public order matters. Trademark owners must also bear in mind the trademark examiner’s awareness that trademark protection has to be narrowed with eff ective use and limited to the products and/or services that are eff ectively being used.


Cancellation actions due to non-use are an important purging tool for the trademark offi ce. T e Colombian Trademark Offi ce (CTO) has concluded a number of decisions that have set case law concerning cancellation actions. One leading case outlines how trademark holders can defend themselves when facing cancellation actions due to non-use, while other cases include interesting decisions that relate to cancellation topics.


Current legal framework


Colombian regulations admit, as do most IP laws around the world, the possibility of initiating cancellation actions due to non-use against trademarks that are not eff ectively used within commerce. T e burden of proof lies with the trademark holder, who must demonstrate eff ective use in an uninterrupted period of three years prior to the fi ling date of the cancellation petition. Trademark holders may mitigate their lack of use by proving a justifi cation cause. Such proof includes acts of God or force majeure.


96 World Intellectual Property Review e-Digest 2012 www.worldipreview.com


THE CTO’S ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS SEEM CLEARLY TO ALLOCATE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EFFECTIVE, EVIDENT AND IMMEDIATE USE IN TRADE TO THE TRADEMARK HOLDER THAT RECEIVES A TRADEMARK ASSET UNDER THREAT FROM CANCELLATION.


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