The increased innovation in intangibles in recent years has let to the demand for protection mechanisms called intellectual property rights.

The brand name of a product, the patent of a drug, or the creation of a film are intangible assets that in many cases represent the most valuable assets of a company; therefore, they require protection.

Costa Rica is the most innovative country in Latin America, according to the Global Innovation Index. In 2015 alone, some 568 applications were recorded for patents and more than 12,000 for brand names in the registration of intellectual property, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Appropriate regulation allows for foreign investment attraction, which aids in the growth of the economy, ensures Giselle Reuben, associate expert in intellectual property of the BLP Abogados firm.

What is “intellectual property” and why is it relevant?

Intellectual property is anything produced using human intellect, which includes, in general terms, creations, inventions, and works.

In the majority of cases, intellectual property rights are the same as property rights, because they allow the intangible asset holder the right to exploit his invention on an exclusive basis, assign or license the right in exchange for compensation, or to forbid third parties from unauthorized use.

Therefore, the intangible is treated in the same way as a good cabinet is treated, implying that a trademark, patent, or copyright can be sold, licensed, transferred, inherited, and even given as a security in a bank transaction.

Why is the fulfillment of intellectual property rights important in trade?

We live in an environment where abundant regulation and effective mechanisms exist to defend intellectual property rights, increase foreign investment, strengthen the company’s competitiveness, and grow the economy. Promoting innovation and the generation of jobs, as well as the emergence of new products or services, improve the quality of life of the people.

Costa Rica ranks third in Latin America in terms of protection in this field, according to the Index of Intellectual Property Rights. How did the country reach this position?

In Costa Rica, intellectual property rights are recognized clearly by our Constitution. Additionally, we have specific and abundant regulation on the subject, both nationally and internationally due to the signing of international treaties. Also, with the implementation of the Central American-United State Free Intellectual Trade Agreement, the protection and defense of property rights have been strengthened.

Our legislation provides different civil and criminal mechanisms so that the holder of intellectual property can prevent third parties from using their rights without corresponding authorization. We also have incentives such as preferential rates for applicants of a patent, which facilitate the protection of inventions.