We recently spoke with Patricio Albornoz, senior associate at Bomchil Abogados in Buenos Aires, to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted Argentina trademark opposition and cancellation rules and procedures.

1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your national trademark office’s policies and procedures regarding trademark oppositions, cancellations, and invalidations? 

The National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) issued INPI Resolution No. RESOL-2020-16-APN-INPI # MDP, to suspend all deadlines related to any Argentina trademark opposition, notifications, and Office Actions, then clarifying by Official Note that the suspension included all deadlines running as of March 12, 2020, as well as those initiated after that date. Yesterday, the suspension was extended until April 26, 2020 inclusive. Both suspensions are without prejudice to the acts that the interested parties wish to fulfill and can do so by digital means.  In fact, the Trademark Office is prepared to work remotely and we continue to file applications, oppositions, renewals, etc. Trademark application analysis by the TMO is taking place on a regular basis.

2. Have you seen any changes in trademark enforcement activities in Argentina over the past month due to COVID-19? 

Besides cease and desist letters (postal services are working), enforcement activities that are not performed entirely online are virtually suspended. Our Federal Civil and Commercial Courts also are under special recess until April 26, 2020, except for a few issues related to urgent health matters. Most of our colleagues and us are mainly collecting evidence when possible as well as notarizing it (notarial activities are partially restricted by government COVID rules too), in order to start formal proceedings when possible.

3. When faced with COVID-19 business uncertainties, what can we as members of the international trademark community be doing to keep trademark enforcement efforts top of mind for our clients who wish to do business in Argentina and elsewhere?

In my opinion, our role must be the one of raising awareness regarding these matters (through general newsletters and circulars and also with tailor-made communications addressing our clients with matters of their specific interest), together with an optimistic approach to the “day after”. We need to maintain the idea among our clients and communities that trademark enforcement is also a priority even more in this time of uncertainty and that the companies that sustain proactive policies regarding their IP protection will be rewarded in the near future.

Editor’s Note:  Participating authors of COVID-19 global trademark opposition updates are from a wide variety of firms, many of whom we know and others by reputation.  If you would like to contribute insight on trademark opposition developments in your own country, please contact us.