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Enforcement of IPRs in Panama


Enforcement of IPRs
The online presence of fake goods and counterfeits is the major reason for the outspread of pirated goods in the country. Moreover, the access to these goods is obtained by the misuse of small parcels for trade, which are particularly exempted from customs surveillance and control.
Alcoholic beverages, medicines, and medical products most often face counterfeiting and piracy in Panama.
Title VII of Law 35 of May 10, 1996 establishes the intellectual property rights protected in the Republic of Panama. Law No. 15 of 1994 regulates copyrights and Law No. 35 of 1996 regulates industrial property. The IP Customs Regulations (Executive Decree 123/1996, modified by Executive Order 466/2015) – deals with the border control measures.
The different types of IPRs protected by IPR enforcement in Panama are as follows:
1. Inventions (Patents)
2. Utility models
3. Patterns and industrial drawings
4. Industrial and commercial secrets
5. Trademarks for products and services
6. Indications of origin
7. Denominations of origin
8. Commercial names
9. Signs and advertisement expressions
Yes - The statute of limitations to file this action is 06 years, counted from the last time the unlawful use of an IP right was undertaken, and allows the plaintiff to seek indemnity for damages and losses as well as the suspension of the acts that infringe his rights.
A) Government Authorities - Yes
B) Police Officials - Yes
C) Judiciary - Yes
D) Customs - Yes
A) Injunctions - Yes
B) Monetary Compensation - Yes
C) Raids - Yes
D) Seizures - Yes
E) Destruction - Yes
A) Responsible Authority –Supreme Court
B) Imprisonment Term - Trademarks: 04 to 06 years; and Copyright: 03 months to 06 years
C) Monetary Fine - US$10,000 up to US$200,000.00. For companies established in the Colon Free Zone and other Free Zones or Export Processing Zones operating in the Republic of Panama, the applicable fine will be equivalent to 25% of the company’s monthly commercial turnover, but in no case will it be less than US$75,000.00.
In the case of recurrence, the sanctions described in sections 2 and 3 above will be applied for a period of 01 year, and the penalty described in section 1 could be up to 04 times the maximum penalty, of US$200,000.00 that is, up to US$800,000.00.
Other criminal remedies available in Panama are as follows:
  • Suspension of the rights to commercialize or engage in business for a period of 03 months; and
  • Suspension or cancellation of the operation license granted by the Colon Free Zone or other existing Free Zones or Export Processing Zone in the Republic of Panama.
In case of a suspension, the same will be applied for a minimum period of 03 months.
The option of ADR is not popularly utilized in Panama.
After assessing the merits of the case presented by the Intellectual Property District Attorney’s Office (IPDA), the criminal court will order the forfeiture and destruction of the seized goods.
It is the applicant who must bear the costs of customs intervention during enforcement.
If an IP rights holder abuses the enforcement measures in custom recordal of intellectual property rights, the customs shall not be liable to entertain the request made by the IP rights holder at the first instance to treat the goods as counterfeit. Therefore, the goods may be commercialized.
Court Practices