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Trademark Costs in MERCOSUR: The Bedrock of Economic Activity in South America


Published on 4 April 2018

In one of our previous articles, The Costs of Patenting in the MERCOSUR Member States: A Tale of Three Countries, we delved into the question of how much it costs to obtain a patent in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, member states of the South American trade bloc "MERCOSUR": In this article, we shall discuss trademark filing and registration costs in the same three jurisdictions.

MERCOSUR

Let us first quickly recap what MERCOSUR is. MERCOSUR, also referred to as "Common Market of the South", was instituted in 1991, under the auspices of the Treaty of Asunción, with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay as its member states. The cornerstone objectives of the organization are: setting up free-trade zones, customs unification, and the creation of a common market for the free movement of manpower and capital. MERCOSUR is the fourth largest trading bloc in the world, and "accounts for almost three-fourths of total economic activity" on the continent of South America. (Hem Basnet and Gyan Pradhan; 2017).

Between 2012 and 2017, the organization had a fifth member state in Venezuela. However, the country's membership was suspended in August 2017 "for violating democratic principles and failing to comply with trade obligations adopted since its incorporation into the bloc" (John Brew and Eduardo Mathison; 2017).

Further, Bolivia's Protocol of Accession, which was signed by the member states in 2015, is currently under the "process of being incorporated by the Congresses of the States Parties" (accessed on March 5, 2018).

Trademark Systems in MERCOSUR

In a bid to achieve harmonization of Intellectual Property legislation across its member states, MERCOSUR has adopted two Industrial Property protocols: one on trademarks and another on industrial models and designs. However, to date, neither protocol has achieved unanimous ratification by the member states, which is a prerequisite for their entry into force (Carlos Adrián Garaventa and Pablo Wegbrait; 2017). Therefore, it is not possible to apply for a regional trademark that covers multiple member states, which, in turn, means that it is mandatory to register a trademark in each member state of interest. On the other hand, in its counterpart, the Andean Community, the Intellectual Property legal framework is harmonized across the member states.

Trademark Activity in MERCOSUR

In the year 2016, the National Intellectual Property Offices in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay collectively received close to 250,000 trademark applications, with the Brazilian Trademark Office receiving two-thirds of the filed applications (World Intellectual Property Indicators 2017).

Trademark Costs in MERCOSUR

Let us now discuss the costs involved in filing trademark applications in the MERCOSUR member states and, subsequently, getting them registered. Typically, there are three categories of costs involved: official fees, attorney charges, and translation costs.

For the purposes of this article, we shall consider trademark applications for a word mark filed electronically for protection under two classes with a priority claim to an application initially filed in the U.S.

The estimated costs of the trademark process under two classes in the MERCOSUR jurisdictions, from filing through registration, add up to approximately $7,756 (Table 1). The costs are inclusive of the fee to translate one page into the official language in each of the three jurisdictions, which is between $45 and $55, in addition to Value Added Tax and the attorney charges for the legalization of relevant documents in Argentina and Uruguay.

The estimated costs in Argentina and Brazil, which are for the filing of two separate applications corresponding to the two classes, are approximately twice those in Uruguay. The figure below depicts the stage-wise split-up of the estimated costs in each jurisdiction.

Official Fees - Filing:

The approximate official fees to be paid at the time of filing (i.e. basic filing fee; fee for claiming priority in Brazil; and fee for filing in an additional class in Uruguay) vary from $176 in Argentina to $264 in Brazil.

Official Fees - Registration:

The approximate official fees to be paid at the time of registration in Brazil are $470, while those for registration and publication in Uruguay are $112. No official fees are payable in Argentina at the time of registration.

International Trademark Cost Calculator

Interested in getting such costs calculated? The Global IP Estimator, a flagship product from the stables of Quantify IP, is an Intellectual Property cost calculator covering more than 150 jurisdictions from across the globe. The Global IP Estimator offers what traditional Intellectual Property docketing software does not - it can instantly and accurately calculate the worldwide costs for a single family of patent, trademark, design, or utility model. The calculations may be fine-tuned to include or exclude specific fees for various stages in the process (such as including only patent maintenance fees, trademark maintenance fees, or trademark search fees).

The Intellectual Property budgeting capabilities of many law firms and Fortune 500 companies have undergone a significant transformation since the addition of the Global IP Estimator to their toolbox. To see what we can do for you, email us at qipcontact@quantifyip.com or call us at +1-808-891-0099.


Venkatesh Viswanath (Senior Analyst, Quantify IP) contributed to this article.
Exchange Rates Used: 1 US Dollar = 19.37 Argentine Pesos, 3.17 Brazilian Real, and 28.39 Uruguayan Pesos

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