Intellectual Property Rights

Uruguay respects international intellectual property standards,  copyrights, trademarks and patents are expressly protected by  law.

Author rights

Under the Law of Literary and Artistic Property, protection of  copyright in Uruguay includes literary, scientific and artistic  works for a certain period. Within this period, the author or the  acquirer of the copyright has certain exclusive rights to the  copyrighted work, which is protected against unauthorized use  or violation of these rights.

The protection of copyright is in effect during the life of the  author of the works and for an additional term of fifty years  after his death. If the work is not published, performed or displayed within ten years from the date of death of the author,  the work becomes domain public and may be freely used. 

Foreign works are also included in the legal protection, but in  these cases the fulfillment of the legislation in the country of  origin must be demonstrated.

The works protected by copyright are recorded in the register  kept by the Copyright Office of the National Library. This  registration is optional and failure to register does not affect in 
any way the rights recognized by the Law of Literary and Artistic  Property.

Uruguay has ratified the Berne Convention for the Protection  of Literary and Artistic Works, under which the authors from a  signatory country, who publish their works in Uruguay, have the  same rights granted to national authors.

The rules described above also apply to the software and  creative work in the areas of electronics and information  technology from foreign countries.

Trademarks

Trademark means any sign capable of distinguishing the  goods or services of a natural or legal person from those of  another. These signs can be both seen and unseen, including  also advertising slogans. Trademarks need to be registered in  the National Directorate of Industrial Property (DNPI) in order  for the registrant to acquire the exclusive right for their use, as 
well as the protection granted to him for a period of ten years,  renewable for successive periods of ten years indefinitely.

Exclusive ownership of a trademark is only acquired in relation to  the products for which the application was requested. Therefore, a trademark can be used by others if it is related to other  products. 

The ownership of the trademark may be transferred to third  parties by private agreements or deeds, but it is always  advisable to register the transfer in the DNPI in order to obtain 
protection against the violation of rights.

The use of trademarks can also be transferred by a license  agreement, which is inscribed with the Register of Trademark  Licenses -controlled by the DNPI. Unless it is expressly agreed  otherwise, it is presumed that the transfer or sale of a business  establishment includes its trademarks.

Patents

Industrial patents are all the statutes that protect the rights  arising from inventions, utility modeling and creation of industrial  designs.

Patents obtained in Uruguay grant their holders the exclusive  right for a period of twenty years, which is not renewable, so  after this period, the invention becomes public domain. New  inventions of products or processes involving an inventive step  and which are capable of industrial appraisal are patents. If the  holder does not use the patent within three years from the date  of registration, he may be required to assign the rights, either exclusively or in favor of a third party. The three-year term  can be extended to five if the non-use of the patent is due to  circumstances beyond the will of the owner.

Utility models (all obtained new provision of tools, implements,  utensils, appliances, equipment or other known objects which  provide a better use or result in their intended function) and  models or industrial designs (visibly incorporated into a product  that gives it a different utility or look) once patented, grant  their holders the exclusive right of use for a period of ten years  renewable only once for five years.

For the purpose of enforcing rights of exclusive use against  third parties mentioned before, inventions, utility and industrial  models or designs must be registered with the DNPI.

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property  ratified by Uruguay gives people from the signatories to the  Convention a priority right to an invention, utility model or an 
industrial design registered in one of these countries in respect  of applications presented by other people for the use of the  invention, utility model or industrial design in Uruguay. 

For the purpose of enforcing the previous right, its registration  before the DNPI must be within the appropriate time depending  on the case (12 months for patents and utility models and six  months for industrial designs and factory or trade marks). It is  computed from the registration in the country of origin. 

Outside of these special provisions, the owners or beneficiaries  of foreign patents can obtain their renewal in Uruguay on  application to the DNPI within the three years guaranteed in the  country of origin. Revalidated patents are protected for a period  of fifteen years, minus the time limit of protection which they  have already been given in the country. The invalidity of the  foreign patent implies the invalidity of the patent renewal, but  not so with the terms of expiration of each patent, which are  independent. 

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