During 2016 the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce as the entity administering the Colombian IP regime, promoted significant changes and dispositions which modified the filing, prosecution and consultation of IP applications in our country.
First, a new technology platform was implemented for filing and consultation of patent, industrial designs and distinctive signs applications. The aim of this new management system was, among others, reducing the filing of briefs physically by using modern software with the purpose of expediting the prosecution of the applications at the Office. In order to encourage the use of the system, the official fees have been dropped in price for electronic filing, whereas the physical filing is still available but at higher prices.
A relevant change in the platform was the possibility of conducting multi-effects in the name of a same holder; that is, any change concerning name, address or domicile in the name of an owner will be evident in all their cases. In addition, regarding distinctive signs, a new background search option is highlighted, including the ability to carry out an official search from an image for word + logo and figurative marks.
Regarding the guidelines for patent applications, it was also important the dispositions disclosed in Resolution No. 3719 of 2016, which modified some procedures in relation to the conversion, division and merger of patent applications and the requirements for substantive examination. The most relevant change was the possibility of issuance of up to three patentability examinations during prosecution of an application, which provides the opportunity to applicant to consider different strategies and file further arguments before the issuance of a final decision.
Moreover, the entry in force in 2016 of new PPH agreements with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Patent Offices from the member states of the Pacific Alliance (INAPI in Chile, IMPI in Mexico and INDECOPI in Peru), in addition to the previous agreements with the United States Patent Office (USPTO), the Spanish Patent Office (SPTO) and the Japanese Patent Office (JPO), represents for the applicants the possibility of recognition of granting decisions and positive patentability opinions issued by these Patent Offices and expediting prosecution of the respective Colombian application.
As for distinctive signs, it was announced the entry into force since January 1, 2017 of the Eleventh Edition of the Nice Classification for applications in Colombia, within which as main changes some reclassifications of products such as Disinfectant soaps among others can be found.
Another remarkable event was the linking of the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce to the prestigious TM CLASS database, through which it is possible to search and classify products and services needed to carry out distinctive signs applications.