Is there a time frame for the trademark registration approval?
The average time frame for the registration approval is 6 months, if no objections or oppositions arise.
If I register my trademark in Belize, do I have protection in other territories?
No. The protection of a registered mark is limited only within the territories of Belize.
Do I need to sign a Power of Attorney?
Yes. Applicants need to submit a signed Power of Attorney.
Are there any benefits from a pre-filing use of the trademark?
There are minimal benefits from pre-filing use of a mark.
- Notorious trademarks that are not yet registered get protection from infringement.
- Unregistered marks but have been used substantially for a long time may also obtain protection against infringement.
Will there be problems in case I don’t use my trademark after registration?
A trademark that remains unused 5 years after its registration can result to its removal from the registry office.
What are the types of trademark that can be registered in Belize?
The trademark law of Belize accepts the following marks for registration:
- Three-dimensional shapes
- Trade dresses or get ups
- Notorious marks
- Certification marks
- Service marks
- Collective marks
What are the phases of application after a trademark has been filed in Belize?
Trademark application in Belize goes through several phases, in particular order: examination in respect to requirements, publication of application details, and registration. All applications must be the criteria for a registrable trademark in Belize. Before the mark is officially registered, it will go through a publication process for the purpose of allowing third parties to oppose the registration.
What type of trademark is not registerable?
The trademark law of Belize prohibits that following marks:
- Marks that contradict public policy or standards of moral
- Generic words/terms
- Marks that do not show distinctive qualities
- Marks that are mainly used as surnames
- Marks that are mainly used as a geographic name or indication
- National names, flags or symbols (including those of states, regions and international organizations)
Does Belize use the "Nice Classification" system?
Yes. Belize trademark system uses the Nice Classification.
Does the Community Trademark apply for Belize?
No. Since Belize is not a European Union member, the Community Trademark does not take effect in this country.
Is there any possibility to claim priority in Belize?
Applicants may claim priority if the Paris Convention is effective in their home country and if the home application date is at least 6 months earlier than the application date in Belize.
What do I need to do to satisfy the use requirement?
Use the trademark within 5 years from the date of registration. Minimal use is required and must occur in the jurisdiction of Belize.
Once my trademark has been registered, for how many years will be valid?
Registered trademarks in Belize are initially valid for 10 years.
What will be the renewal date of my trademark?
The first renewal date is counted 10 years from date of filing of application.
Is it legal to use my trademark even if it is not yet registered?
Yes. It’s legal to use an unregistered mark for commercial purpose.
Does having a registered trademark in Belize give me any right?
The rule “first to file” is effective in Belize. Hence, registration is necessary in order to obtain legal rights to a trademark.
What is the web address of the trademark national office?
Is there any need to use my trademark before I apply for registration?
Yes. The applicant must already be using the mark or at least have intention to use the mark prior to filing of application.
Can a Trademark Application be opposed?
Yes. Interested parties may oppose the application on the following grounds:
- Proprietary rights
- Personal name rights
- Notorious mark rights
- Protected symbols, emblems, flags and armorial bearings
- Mark does not demonstrate distinctiveness
- Mark is disparaging, deceptive, misleading and descriptive
- Mark is applied for using an agent or representative
- Mark uses a geographic name or indication
- Mark contradicts morality or public order
Who can contest my trademark application?
Aggrieved and interested parties or just anyone can oppose a trademark application.
Is it possible to cancel a registration?
Yes. Registration of trademark is cancellable. Listed below are grounds for cancellation:
- The mark did not meet the Use Requirements under Section VIII.A.
- The mark was not used for 5 consecutive years without valid reasons
- The proprietor’s inactivity resulted to the trademark becoming a generic term for the product or service that it was registered for
- The mark is misleading the public about its quality, nature or origin of place
Are there any rights established by having a registered trademark?
Trademark owners are secured of the following rights:
- Right to use the mark exclusively
- Right to appeal against subsequent confusingly similar applications
- Right to appeal for subsequent confusingly similar registrations to be canceled
- Right to file an infringement case in court against third parties
- Right to receive damages/compensation from infringing parties
- Right to license interested parties to use the mark
- Right to appeal for counterfeit goods bearing the registered mark to be seized by customs officers
- Right to appeal against third parties for creating a transliterated version of the registered mark
How long is the opposition period?
Interested parties may start appealing for the cancellation of a trademark application on the date it was published in the IP Journal. The opposition period will close 90 days after that date.
Is Belize a member of the Madrid System?
No. The Madrid Protocol and/or the Madrid Agreement is not effective in the jurisdiction of Belize.
Do I need to present periodic statement of use?
Any documents stating use of the mark are not mandatory.
When should I renew my trademark?
Renewals are made every 10 years computed from the last date of renewal.
What will be the renewal date of my trademark?
The first renewal date is counted 10 years from the date of filing of the application.
Is there any documentation that should be presented when renewing a trademark?
When renewing a trademark in Belize, the owner is mandated to present two documents namely: declaration of use and power of attorney.
If my trademark expires, do I have a grace period?
Owners are given a 6-month grace period to restore expired trademarks.
What is a trademark?
A trademark identifies a company’s products and services and distinguishes them from those of its competitors in the market. The name (the verbal element) is not the only component of a trademark—figurative elements such as logos, design, images, colors, and sounds also create an identity that can be protected by trademark registration.
With the registration, the owner (person or company) becomes the owner of the trademark. The registration is given for a particular country/territory, for certain products or services, and for a specific term. While the registration is in force, only the owner may use the trademark in the market where the trademark is registered.
Some symbols to consider:
® Means the trademark is registered.
TM Some countries use this trademark symbol to show that the trademark has been filed at the trademark office and is still undergoing the registration process.
SM Some countries use this service mark symbol to show that the service mark has been filed at the trademark office and is still undergoing the registration process.
What is the difference between a trademark, patent and copyright ?
You can lay claim to your work in many ways. Trademarks, patents, and copyrights offer protection to intellectual property owners. A trademark helps people find your goods and services. When recognized as a registered mark, it protects your right to exclusively use the image, logo, phrases, or words to distinguish your goods or services from others in the market.
A patent safeguards ideas and inventions. It gives a creator or inventor exclusive rights that prevent other people from making, using, or profiting in any way from an invention or creative innovation without the consent of the inventor.
You cannot patent an idea alone (otherwise we’d all be doing it). You must materialize your concept into a tangible invention, innovative product, device, or process that offers new solutions to an existing problem.
Copyright protects all types of original published, performed, and printed creative works of art, literature, and music. It prevents people from using, reproducing, or distributing copyrighted works without the permission of the artist, author, composer, etc. Types of work covered by copyright protection include:
- a) artwork (2 or 3 dimensional),
- b) photographs, graphic drawings, and designs as well as other forms of creativity;
- c) songs, music, and sound recordings of all kinds;
- d) books, manuscripts, publications, and another written work; and
- e) plays, movies, shows, and other performance arts.
Trademarks, patents, and copyrights are all examples of ways you can protect your intellectual property. Your rights to control and benefit from your efforts are increasingly important in our global economy. Registering a formal claim to your property is a critical step in protecting what you own.
What is the difference between TM, SM, ® and other symbols?
The symbol of a circled letter R after a trademark name or graphic image means that the preceding trademark has been registered. Various typographic symbols indicate copyrights and patents. The presence or absence of a symbol does not change the validity of the registration, but the best practice is to use circle‑R or circle‑C for copyrights every time you mention your intellectual property in print. These symbols give legal grounds for claiming damages in trademark litigation. The following is a list of some typical marks you can use on a web page, in written content, or even in a marketing letter.
- TM: The TM or trademark symbol indicates an unregistered trademark for one of 34 different classes of products. Owners use this symbol to claim the preceding name or logo as the Trademark of their product.
- SM: The SM or service mark symbol is similar to the TM symbol except it indicates a claim to a mark for a service (one of 11 classes of service) rather than a tangible product.
- ®: Use the ® symbol once you’ve registered your trademark or service mark. It shows that the country authority has approved the registration.
- ©: Use the © symbol to indicate copyrighted material. The copyright notice should appear on the material as Copyright © followed by the date the work was created, the copyright owner’s name, a period, and finally “All Rights Reserved.” Like this: Copyright © 2021, John Smith. All Rights Reserved. Use it whether the copyright has been registered or not.
- Patent Pending: The phrase Patent Pending shows that you filed a patent application but cannot guarantee the application's approval.
What are trademark classes?
Trademark Offices around the world use classes to divide commercial products and services into defined categories. When you apply for your trademark to protect your brand, you must define the class or classes that you believe best describe your business activity.
Countries around the world have standardized 45 classes (34 for products and 11 for services) for international use under the Nice International Classification.
These classes group all known products and services. If applicable, you can register the same trademark in more than one class; for example, you may register the trademark KING for computers in class 23 and register the same trademark in class 24 for cosmetics.
Trademark protection only extends to commercial use within your specified classes. It is, therefore, possible for two entities conducting business in different classes to use identical or similar trademarks and for each entity to enjoy full trademark protection in their respective classes. If you feel that protection should extend to include more than one class, you can choose multiple classes under which to conduct business.
You can search for your trademark class with this Trademark Class Search tool.
Why do I need to perform a trademark search?
Once you have a product or service and think you have a name for it, how do you know you can use it as your own? What happens if you unintentionally use a registered trademark name?
Too many people use a name without knowing whether or not they have the legal right to do so. They organize massive marketing campaigns with names they later find they’re not allowed to use. Performing a comprehensive search before deciding which trademark to register is a wise thing to do, especially when you consider future risks of litigation.
It is a good idea to carry out some research before starting to do business with a trademark. It may not be in your best interest to use a mark if another company is already actively conducting business in the same class. The other company may object to you using the trademark and legally prohibit you from doing so.
Do I need an Attorney to perform a Trademark Search?
No, you don’t, but if you have little or no experience dealing with trademarks, we suggest you seek professional help. Our company offers a Comprehensive Trademark Study service. The Study gives you details of the classes in which you might want to register your trademark; it also lists identical and similar trademarks, and finally, you get an Attorney's recommendation about registration possibilities and use of your trademark.
Where can I perform a trademark search?
If you know a little about trademark registration, you can search using any online trademark search tool. If not, we recommend that you hire a trademark attorney or trademark service like Nominus.com to handle your trademark registration requirements, especially the trademark search because the process is complex and relatively time consuming.
Please note that if you don’t manage to complete the application process correctly, the registration can drag on for several months and end up costing far more than you intended to pay. The trademark search is a critical part of the process.
A broad trademark search is essential in today's marketplace, given the increasing number of unregistered and common law trademarks. Globalization also raises the question of entering international markets and registering trademarks in foreign countries to protect both your brand and your property rights.
Please note that even a completed comprehensive trademark search does not necessarily guarantee your trademark will be accepted and registered. A Comprehensive Trademark Study includes an extended review process and, more significantly, a formal evaluation of the likelihood that your application will be successful.