Trademark Registration in Belize

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Overview of Trademark Registration in Belize

The journey of trademark registration in Belize started with the publication of a Cautionary Notice for protecting the marks and permitting only the marks registered with UKIPO to be further permitted to be registered in Belize. Subsequently, in 2000, Belize enforced its own trademark legislation repealing the UK Trademark legislation.

Belize has now become a part of the Madrid System, a convenient and cost-effective solution for the registration and management of trademarks w.e.f 24 February 2023, thereby inviting its national applicants to get their trademarks registered globally along with managing the same with the help of a single application and a single set of fees.

Legislation and Authority Governing the Trademark Registration in Belize

The legislation which governs trademark registration in Belize is the Trade Marks Act 2000, and the authority responsible for the same is the Belize Intellectual Property Office (BELIPO),

Benefits of Trademark Registration in Belize 

  • A trademark gives protection to the owner by instilling him with the right to use the mark for the identification of goods or services and give authorization to another person for using it in return for payment.
  • Trade mark protection is enforced by Belize's Supreme Court
  • Trademark registration promotes the enterprise by preventing unfair competitors, such as counterfeiters, who use similar distinctive signs for marketing inferior or different products or services.

Belize has become a part of the Madrid system; therefore, trademark registration in Belize can benefit the entrepreneur in the following ways -

  • Entrepreneurs who have addresses in Belize can seek the protection of their trademarks in any of the 128 countries that are a part of the Madrid System;
  • New Applicants under the Madrid System would be able to designate Belize at the time of filing their new international applications; and
  • Existing Applicants of International Registrations can expand the geographical protection of their existing registration by subsequently designating their applications in Belize and obtaining protection of their marks.

Eligible Marks for Trademark Registration in Belize 

  • Any mark capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings
  • Any mark capable of being represented graphically.
  • Words (including personal names), designs, letters, numerals or the shape of goods or their packaging. The definition of a trade mark also includes a collective mark or a certification mark

Ineligible Marks for Trademark Registration in Belize 

Any mark which - 

  1. Doesn’t comply with the requirements of the definition of a trade mark;
  2. Have no distinctive character;
  3. consists exclusively of signs or indications designating the characteristics of goods or services;
  4. consists exclusively of signs or indications that are customary in the current language or established practices of the trade;
  5. consists exclusively of the natural or technical shape of the goods or the shape that gives substantial value to the goods;
  6. is contrary to public policy or morality;
  7. is capable of deceiving the public;
  8. is prohibited by law;
  9. is a specially protected emblem; or
  10. It is applied in bad faith.

 Relative Grounds

Any mark falling under the below-mentioned categories shall be considered ineligible for trademark registration in Belize

  1. Identical in a confusing manner with an earlier mark, and the goods or services are identical with those for which the earlier mark is registered
  2. is identical with or similar to a famous and earlier mark, and the goods or
  3. is similar in a confusing manner with an earlier mark and the goods or services are identical with or similar to those for which the earlier mark is protected;
  4. is identical with or similar to a famous and earlier mark, and the goods or services are not similar to those for which the earlier mark is protected;
  5. services are not similar to those for which the earlier mark is protected;
  6. Conflicts with any rule of law (in particular, the law of passing off) protecting an unregistered mark or other sign used in the course of trade;
  7. Or conflicts with an earlier right (in particular, the law of copyright, design right or registered designs).

necessary papers Required for Trademark Registration in Belize 

The necessary papers required for trademark registration in Belize are -

  • General Application Form (FORM NO. 3
  • Name and address of the applicant,
  • A statement of the goods or services featured in the application and a representation of the trademark.
  • Application for an Address for Service (FORM NO 1.)
  • Form of Authorization of Agent (FORM NO. 2)
  • A Power of Attorney signed and completed by the Applicant.
  • Details of the Trademark
  • Copy of the Image that is being registered
  • Intended Classes of registration for the trademark

Procedure for Trademark Registration in Belize 

The applicant must follow the below-mentioned procedure for Trademark Registration in Belize.

Identification of a class of goods/services

 The first step is the identification of the class of goods/services. It must be noted that the goods and services in Belize are classified as per the Harmonized Database (HDB), Belize Intellectual Property Office (BELIPO) in TM Class, and can also be found at “CarIPI”(Caribbean TM Class)

Trademark Search

It is important for the entrepreneur to conduct the trademark search to check if an identical or similar trademark for the same or similar goods/services has already been registered as a trademark, as this shall be the basis for the registration of the Trademark in Belize.

Application filing

After conducting the trademark search, the applicant must file the application by fling out the application forms and submitting them along with the requisite necessary papers to the competent authority.

Examination and Public Advertisement

 Upon the submission of the application, the application shall be reviewed by the competent authority to check for compliance with the minimum requirements post which the notice of application for registration of a mark will be published in three consecutive fortnightly issues of the Intellectual Property Journal in Belize.

Objection

Once the notice of registration of the application shall be published, any party can file an objection if there exists any similarity in the trademark with that of theirs in the prescribed timeframe.

Registration of Trademark

If no one files an opposition with regard to the trademark or the opposition proceedings are in favour of the applicant, the competent authority shall proceed with registering the trademark, followed by the issuance of the registration certificate.

Use of a Trademark in Belize

 The prior use of a Trademark in Belize for registration isn’t mandatory. However, if the Trademark isn’t being used prior to the filing of the application for trademark registration in Belize, the application must state conclusively that the applicant has a bonafide intention for this  Thereafter, the applicant must ensure that the mark is put to genuine use in Belize within the period of five years following the date of completion of the registration process.

Priority

An applicant can claim priority for the registration of a trademark in Belize from an earlier application filed in a country which is part of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.

The priority claim must be made within six months of the earlier application. The date of filing of such an application for the purposes of priority shall be the date of filing of the first Paris Convention application.

 The applicant should submit a certified copy of the earlier application to BELIPO within 90 days of the date of filing.

Term & Renewal of Registration in Belize

 The validity of the trademark registration in Belize would be for a period of 10  years from the date of registration.

 The consecutive renewals after every ten years must be made after the payment of renewal fees.  The acceptance of the renewal applications shall be based on the mark being used by the applicant and its use being specifically stated on the renewal application.

 Requests for renewal must be made before the expiry of the registration, by the entrepreneur or his agent and for any failure in compliance with the same within 6 months, the entrepreneur shall be required to request for the restoration of the registration.

If the application is made within six months after the expiration date, the Applicant would be required to make the payment of the renewal fees and additional late registration fees.

Renewal shall be effective from the expiration of the previous registration. Failure to renew a trade mark after the six months grace period results in the striking-off of the mark from the Register.

A trade mark which is struck off the Register for non-renewal may only be restored upon re-registration, for which the applicant would be required to follow the same procedures as a registration commenced as a new application for registration.

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Belize became a part of the Madrid System on 24th February 2023.

Entrepreneurs who have addresses in Belize can seek the protection of their trademarks in any of the 128 countries that are a part of the Madrid System.

The validity of the Trademark registration in Belize is 10 years.

There are 3 forms which must be filled out for trademark registration in Belize that are - General Application Form (FORM NO. 3 Application for an Address for Service (FORM NO 1.) and Form of Authorization of Agent (FORM NO. 2).

Yes, the applicant claim priority for the registration of a trademark in Belize from an earlier application filed in a country which is part of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.

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