As part of the Berne Convention, Costa Rica does not require any formal registration to provide protection to Copyright works; the work will be automatically protected from the moment of its creation. However, registration may very useful in enforcement actions as a proof of ownership, and of the date of creation or the content of the work itself.
Trademarks rights in Costa Rica are acquired through use. This means that first and continuously use of a trademark within the national territory provides you preferential rights over it. Nonetheless, it is advisable to register the trademark as to have proof of ownership -which would be useful in cases of infringement-, and to fully enjoy the exclusive rights established by the National Law. Moreover, even though is possible -under certain conditions- to oppose a registration of a trademark based on an unregistered trademark, it is required to file a trademark application from 15 days of filing the opposition.
Regarding patents, designs and utility models, Costa Rica’s Law adopts the first to file principle, what means that exclusive rights are granted to the party that firstly register the relevant IP right in Costa Rica. Therefore, to benefit from full legal protection and turn intangible assets into tradable assets, it would be necessary to register your creations. Nevertheless, be aware that in contrast with Europe, unregistered designs are not protected in Costa Rica.
If you want to know more about how to protect your creations, and get tailored advice to your specific case, contact our Helpline. It is free, fast and confidential.