In Venezuela, as a consequence of the
Partial Reform of the Stamp Duties Act (Article 6 of Decree No. 1398) in 2015,
there has been a significant increase in the official fees for procedures for
The Reform has also complicated the handling of
payment of fees for registration, renewal and recordals of changes of
ownership, changes of address and licences in the area of trademarks.
Experience has shown us that in Venezuela steps
must be taken as far in advance of the due date as possible, given that
payments of fees must be transferred to the account of the Autonomous
Intellectual Property Service (SAPI) and once the transfer has been completed,
the transfer receipt must be officially stamped. It is not uncommon to
encounter extraordinary bureaucratic obstacles, which lead to delays.
Furthermore, the U.S. Government recently
imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela, which also have an impact in the field
of trademarks. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is monitoring
transactions made in dollars to accounts in Venezuela, which can lead to
considerable delays in the completion of payments. These obstacles can have
significant consequences for trademark rights. If we consider, for example, the
renewal procedure, in relation to which there are no provisions under
Venezuelan legislation for a grace period beyond the expiry date, the payment
of the official fee (which for one trademark in a single class currently
amounts to 3.000 USD) must be duly confirmed by the SAPI prior to the expiry
date of the trademark, otherwise it will be declared abandoned.
It is therefore advisable to keep in mind that
in Venezuela, with respect to those procedures requiring payment of a fee
affected by Article 6 of Decree No. 1398, it is necessary to act well in
advance of the deadline.