New Rules for the “unofficial agent”
The Official Gazette of the Republic of Costa Rica published guidelines “DRPI-004-2014” from the Industrial Property Registration Office that established new guidelines for the operation of “unofficial agents” in industrial property issues.
For many years the local PTO accepted the legal figure known as “unofficial agent,” as is common in other countries. This gave the possibility to any person to start a judicial or administrative procedure on behalf of another without the need to have a power of attorney to do so. For the past years, this method was accepted by the Industrial Property Office, which then requires a promissory note to ensure the ratification by the beneficiary of the action taken within a period of one month for nationals and three months for foreigners.
Under the new rules, the unofficial agent has now to provide evidence of the existence of the corporation or legal entity that he or she is representing. This evidence can be provided by means of a notarial certification, or an incorporation certificate, that in the case of foreign documents has to be duly legalized by apostille or consular seal.
These new guidelines effectively nullify the effect of the unofficial agent for intellectual property matters, due to the fact that the requirement of an apostilled certificate of existence is more difficult than a simply notary authenticated Power of Attorney. Therefore, in case of the filling of a trademark application on behalf of foreign applicants it is advisable to have the properly certified corresponding power of attorney.
For more information, the guidelines can be found at the following link: http://www.gaceta.go.cr/pub/2014/11/10/COMP_10_11_2014.pdf . Page 6.