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So, you own a business and have already secured the corresponding Intellectual Property rights for the products you make and/or the services you provide. As you continue to think of ways to legally protect your brand you find out you can register not only the products you manufacture and the services you provide, but also protect your company’s commercial name, as it serves to identify the activities it carries out in the commercial market and differentiate it from other companies in the same or different sector.

In Honduras, interested parties can register and protect the commercial names of the businesses they operate and in doing so, prevent other, third-party businesses from using the same or similar commercial names.
The registration process of a Commercial name is pretty much like the registration process of a trademark or service mark, the Honduran IP Law even contains a provision (Article 80) that states the following: “The Commercial Name that is used as a trademark shall enjoy protection as a trademark provided it has been registered in the classes of interest and acquisition of the exclusive right over it shall be governed by the provisions of the present Law .”

With this, one would think that the registration of a Commercial Name would be straightforward, right? Just follow the trademark registration process and voila! It’s registered! However, the Law later states the following: “The registration of the Commercial Name, its modification, opposition, cancellation and its annulment will be made following the procedures established for the registration of trademarks, but the classification of goods and services used for trademarks are not applicable. ”

This is a blatant contradiction to the previously detailed disposition that stated that Commercial Names are like trademarks “provided that they are registered in the classes of interest” …And now we find out that these classes do not apply? This casts doubt as to whether Commercial Names can benefit from the legal dispositions that apply to Trademarks.

As the current IP Law does not contain any other legal provisions that offer deeper insight into nuanced differences between the Commercial Name and a Trademark we are left only with what clearly cannot be registered as a Commercial Name: “may not be constituted by a designation or other sign that, due to its nature or the use that could be made of it, is contrary to morality or public order, or is likely to deceive or create confusion in the media. business or among the public about the identity, nature, field of activities, line of business, and any other aspect related to the


[1] Article 80 – Ley de Propiedad Industrial

[1]Article 120 – Ley de Propiedad Industrial

company, or the establishment identified with that Commercial Name, or related to the products or services it produces or markets.”

Once registered, the Commercial Name is considered protected against any third-party use. But after registration, new questions arise, such as, how long does its protection last? Is it the same as a trademark? Is it subject to renewal? Are annuity payments necessary? (As these all apply to trademarks).

Because of the previously detailed legal provisions, it is not that simple. While the registration of Commercial Names is considered to be indefinite (they do not have an expiration date, unlike trademarks) their effective protection DOES have a set date. Honduran IP law states that the owner of a registered commercial name MUST provide a proof of existence in the form of an “unquestionable document” from the business, every 5 years; this is what maintains the protection of a registered Commercial Name.

This “unquestionable” document is usually any financial record and/or locally obtained government permit related to the business. And it is later submitted to the Honduran Patents & Trademark Office to show that the company is indeed still functioning. By submitting this document every 5-year period, the owner of a registered commercial name extends its protection period by 5 more years.

So, what happens if no unquestionable document is filed on the 5-year mark? The protection of the commercial name essentially stops, and while the commercial name keeps its registration for an “indefinite” period, it is left vulnerable to third-party cancellation actions.

It is important to mention that the above-stated scenarios apply to companies that exist legally in Honduras; I know what you’re thinking… “What about the companies that have registered commercial names in Honduras but do not operate within the country at all?”

Well, it turns out the Honduran IP Law does not provide any distinctive exception for these companies and so these companies have no choice but to let their registered commercial names become vulnerable to cancellation after 5 years. Some companies opt to file a new application and obtain a new registration to maintain effective protection before the registered commercial name reaches the 5-year threshold which is a tedious but valid alternative. Otherwise, they would have to start operating within the country.

Unfortunately, there is no other clear option for these companies to maintain effective protection of their Commercial Names as, unlike trademarks, they are not subject to the payment of “rehabilitation for non-use” fee. While the law does not explicitly prohibit the rehabilitation payment for Commercial Names, it is widely accepted that these simply do not apply. One may try and make a case that in strict accordance to


[1] Article 119 – Ley de Propiedad Industrial

[1] Article 120 – Ley de Propiedad Industrial

the above-stated article 80 of the Honduran IP Law Commercial Names will enjoy protection as trademarks, but there is no known recorded legal precedent for this.

Additionally, in addition to the nonapplication of rehabilitation fee payments, it is worth mentioning that Commercial Names are not subject to the payment of annuity fees nor to renewals due to their “indefinite” nature.

In conclusion, the current IP Law contains a legal void that makes it so that it protects companies that legally exist in Honduras, such that for companies that operate within Honduran territory, registering a Commercial Name is a good deal, as no further expenses are to be incurred in its maintenance, aside from the filing of legal proof of existence every 5 years; but for companies that do not operate inside the country? It’s not as attractive as they would have to either file a new application every 5 years or just let the registration become vulnerable to cancellation and accept the fact that an interested party may end up owning the Commercial Name in the future.

PROTECTION AND MAINTENANCE OF COMMERCIAL NAMES UNDER IP LAW IN HONDURAS

Did you know that in Honduras, you can register and protect your company’s commercial name? Just like trademarks, commercial names serve to identify your business activities and differentiate you from competitors. However, there are important considerations and maintenance requirements to keep in mind.

Under the Honduran IP Law, registering a commercial name follows a process similar to trademark registration. It even states that a commercial name used as a trademark enjoys the same protection as a trademark, as long as it is registered in the relevant classes. But here’s where it gets tricky: the classification of goods and services used for trademarks doesn’t apply to commercial names.

The law also specifies that a commercial name cannot include designations or signs contrary to morality or public order, nor can it cause confusion or deception among the public regarding the company’s identity, nature of activities, or products and services.

Once registered, the commercial name is protected against third-party use. However, its effective protection has a time limit. Unlike trademarks, commercial names have no expiration date, but their protection requires the owner to provide an “unquestionable document” every five years to prove the company’s existence. Failure to provide this document leaves the commercial name vulnerable to cancellation actions.

For companies that have registered commercial names in Honduras but don’t operate within the country, maintaining effective protection becomes challenging. The law doesn’t offer any exceptions, and these companies must either file a new application every five years or risk cancellation of their registration. There is no provision for payment of a “rehabilitation for non-use” fee, as is the case with trademarks.

Furthermore, commercial names are not subject to annuity fees or renewals due to their indefinite nature. This means that once registered, there are no additional expenses, apart from the requirement to provide proof of existence every five years.

In conclusion, the current IP Law in Honduras provides protection for companies operating within the country. Registering a commercial name is beneficial for these companies as it requires minimal maintenance. However, for companies that do not operate in Honduras, maintaining effective protection becomes more challenging and may require filing new applications or accepting potential loss of ownership in the future.

For more information or legal advice on protecting and maintaining your commercial name in Honduras, consult an intellectual property expert familiar with Honduran IP laws.
By Alfredo Vargas.

PROTECTION AND MAINTENANCE OF COMMERCIAL NAMES UNDER IP LAW IN HONDURAS

By Alredo Vargas

Did you know that in Honduras, you can register and protect your company’s commercial name? Just like trademarks, commercial names serve to identify your business activities and differentiate you from competitors. However, there are important considerations and maintenance requirements to keep in mind.

The registration process for a commercial name in Honduras is similar to that of trademarks. The country’s IP Law even states that a commercial name used as a trademark enjoys the same protection as a trademark, provided it is registered in the relevant classes. However, the classification of goods and services used for trademarks does not apply to commercial names.

The law also specifies that a commercial name cannot include designations or signs contrary to morality or public order, nor can it cause confusion or deception among the public regarding the company’s identity, nature of activities, or products and services.

Once a commercial name is registered, it is protected against third-party use. However, its effective protection has a time limit. Unlike trademarks, commercial names do not have an expiration date, but their protection requires the owner to provide an “unquestionable document” every five years to prove the company’s existence. Failure to provide this document leaves the commercial name vulnerable to cancellation actions.

For companies that have registered commercial names in Honduras but do not operate within the country, maintaining effective protection becomes challenging. The law does not offer any exceptions, and these companies must either file a new application every five years or risk cancellation of their registration. There is no provision for payment of a “rehabilitation for non-use” fee, as is the case with trademarks.

Furthermore, commercial names are not subject to annuity fees or renewals due to their indefinite nature. Once registered, there are no additional expenses, apart from the requirement to provide proof of existence every five years.

In conclusion, the current IP Law in Honduras provides protection for companies operating within the country. Registering a commercial name is beneficial for these companies as it requires minimal maintenance. However, for companies that do not operate in Honduras, maintaining effective protection becomes more challenging and may require filing new applications or accepting potential loss of ownership in the future.

Tags: CaribbeanIP, CentralAmericaIP, commercialnames, Eproint, Hondurasip, intellectualproperty, ipmadesimple
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