The legal regime that regulates the issuance of legal title to each type of technology is provided under Law No. 20-00 on Industrial Property, as amended, enacted on 8 May 2000, and the Dominican Copyright Law No. 65-00, enacted on 26 July 2000.
In the Dominican Republic, industrial property rights are protected by Law 20-00, dated 8 May 2000, on Industrial Property, which modernises the rules applicable to patents and trademarks by adapting them to the agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and creating ONAPI.
It must also be taken into consideration that our registration system for industrial property (trademarks, trade names and patents) are constitutive of rights, meaning that rights are acquired at the moment of registration. However, our legislation provides some exceptions. In light of the above, it is advisable to register any IP rights before using them locally. Our legislation is based on the territorial principle, which is not applied in cases of highly notorious brands.
A patent or patent application may be transferred by a legal act between living persons or by succession. All transfers relating to a patent or a patent application must be confirmed in writing and recorded in ONAPI. The transfer has legal effect for third parties only after being recorded, upon payment of the established fee for recording. Also, an issued patent may be given as a guaranty for an obligation assumed by its holder. For such purposes, ONAPI shall carry out the recording of the privilege in favour of the creditor, issuing the corresponding certification. Likewise, ONAPI, upon receiving formal evidence of the termination of the obligations originating said guaranty, shall cancel the record of the privilege. In the case of a transfer of the patent in foreclosure of the guaranty, the unpaid creditor shall file the documentation corresponding to said foreclosure and shall proceed according to the terms of this law.
In addition, the rights relating to a trademark that is either registered or in process of registration can be transferred by an act between living persons or through succession. Transfer may be made independently of the company or on behalf of the company of the holder of the right, and with respect to all or some of the products or services that the trademark distinguishes. When the transfer is limited to one or some of the products or services, the registration shall be divided by opening a new one in the name of the acquirer. A transfer relating to a trademark that is registered or in process of registration shall have legal force for third parties only after being recorded in ONAPI. The established fee shall be paid for the recording. A commercial slogan must be transferred together with the trademark symbol with which it is associated, and its period of effectiveness shall be subject to that of the symbol.
Finally, the transfer of a company or establishment implies the transfer of the commercial name that identifies it, unless there is agreement to the contrary. The transfer of a registered commercial name may be recorded in ONAPI by virtue of any public document proving the transfer. The recording of the transfer shall be carried out according to the procedure applicable to the transfer of trademarks.
Copyrights are regulated by Law 65-00 on Copyrights of 21 August 2000, which aims to provide a legal and institutional framework in accordance with the provisions of the TRIPS agreement related to commerce, which allows for the protection of copyrights in the Dominican Republic, taking into account the national interest. ONDA, under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, is the national authority in charge of the registration and organisation of copyright applications.
Dominican law regulates the transfer and dissemination of technology for the benefit of producers and users of technical expertise, in accordance with the provisions of the TRIPS of the WTO, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Cooperation Treaty in Patents, Chapter 15 of DR-CAFTA and other international agreements, which gives the Dominican Republic one of the highest levels of protection for intellectual property in the region.
It is important to point out that copyright registration is optional in view that rights are acquired at the moment the work is created, it is nonetheless recommended in order to grant the work a set day of creation.
According to this law, the copyright of each work created in the Dominican Republic consists of moral rights and economic rights. Only an individual may be an author (moral rights). However, an entity may exercise the copyrights and related rights (such as economic rights) as derivative holder (titular derivado), in accordance with the rules of such law. In this particular case, it is important to mention that for works created in employment relations, ownership of the economic rights shall be governed by agreement between the parties. In the absence of express contractual provision, it is presumed that economic rights are owned by the author.
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