As part of the Berne Convention, Panama 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 Panama are acquired through use. This means that first and continuously use of a trademark within the national territory provides you preferential rights when registering 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, it is possible -under certain conditions- to oppose a registration of a trademark based on an unregistered trademark.
Regarding patents, designs and utility models, Panama’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 Panama. Therefore, to benefit from full legal protection and turn intangible assets into tradable assets, it would be necessary to register your creations.
Nevertheless, in accordance with its the international obligations under the Paris Convention and the TRIPS Agreement, Panama provides a certain degree of protection to unregistered well-known marks. Furthermore, in common with Europe, unregistered designs are protected in Panama for a period of two years.
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.