In January this year, the Government of Venezuela published
a revised Exchange Agreement. It sets out the new foreign currency system base
which must be used to calculate and pay official fees at public authorities.
This obviously includes fees paid at the national IP Office.
In light of this situation, SAPI issued a communication on 2
February which informed that in order to preserve rights from third parties in
regards to trade marks or patents subject to payment of official fees due to
deadlines, such as renewals, annuities or granting fees, a brief confirming the
interest in securing/maintaining those rights, will be sufficient until further
notice, since payment of official fees is suspended until SAPI receive new
instructions from the Secretary of Finance concerning the new official fees
system to be implemented.
Brand owners holding trade mark rights in Venezuela should
thus be alert to this new situation.
Not only must brand owners make sure that the mentioned
notices are filed in connection with pending applications and registrations
that might be up for renewal, they may also want to ensure that their
representative is sent the official fees in question notwithstanding the fact
that fees cannot be paid at the Office. The reason for this perhaps unconventional
step is the likelihood that when the Office publishes the new official fees,
the deadline to pay the amounts that suddenly become due is expected to be
It is better to be prepared than to be unable to pay and
lose your rights.