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How is Intellectual Property Protected in Colombia

What protection is given to the rights attributed to creations that result from the intellect, or to any human work that is subject to use for commercial purposes?

Juanita Pérez, senior partner at Gómez Pinzón lawyers firm, presents the “Intellectual Property” chapter from 2019 Bogota’s Foreing Investment Guide.

Intellectual property protects any creation that results from human intellect and is divided into industrial property and copyright. 

The industrial property protects intellectual creations such as inventions, utility models, industrial designs and distinctive signs, among others. These rights are recognized based on their registration in the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC), which is the official authority for these matters in Colombia. 

In turn, copyright protects work that is a product of human intellect, according to the personal interests of the author with regard to said work. Copyright is divided into moral copyright and economic copyright. The former refers to the right that protects the author’s work from being modified, while the latter refers to exclusion or authorization rights for the work to be used, and its reproduction, public broadcast, distribution, and alteration is protected.

Take into account:

  • Trademark protection is granted for 10 years and can be extended every 10 years for an indefinite period of time. Registration allows for exclusive use of the trademark, as well as its commercial use with regard to the products and/or services for which it was granted. 
  • To keep a patent for an invention or a utility model in force during its term of duration (10 or 20 years, respectively), annual maintenance fees must be paid following the granting of the patent.

The individual system regulates contract types, salaries, working hours, mandatory breaks and employer contributions, among other aspects. One of its main elements is the regulation of employment contracts, through which relationships are created between employees and employers, involving 3 elements: the personal provision of a service, a salary, and a hierarchical relationship. 

The collective system regulates trade unions, collective labor disputes, agreements, collective pacts and union contracts. Associations of this type must meet requirements in order to be formed and operate.

Take into account: 

  • Normal working hours cannot exceed 8 hours per day, or 48 hours per week. 
  • Employee trial periods cannot last longer than two months. 
  • Paid vacations amount to a rest period of 3 working weeks for each year of service.

Keep in mind

  • In Colombia, trade and business secrets are protected through clauses that prohibit the dissemination of the information that is subject to secrecy. Due to its secret status, this information must have commercial value. 
  • As a member of the Andean Community, Colombia can request the records of various member countries, and other countries with which it has an existing agreement. 
  • Industrial property rights are negotiable, and as such can be transferred to third parties.

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A legal firm that provides a range of consulting services in the different areas of law, in a way that reassures clients that they are making the best decisions in their business dealings.

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