Nicaragua is one of the countries that provides protection for certification marks, the governing law to register certification marks in Nicaragua is the Law No. 380, Law of Trademarks and Other Distinctive Signs.
A certification mark is a sign applied to products or services whose characteristics or quality have been certified by the trademark holder.
The owner of a certification mark may be a public or private company or national/foreign institution, or a competent state, national, regional or international body who can be competent to provide quality certification activities.
The certification mark will be registered with the corresponding regulations for use of the mark which determines the characteristics guaranteed by the presence of the mark and how quality control will be exercised before and after authorized use of the marks. The regulations for use should be previously approved by the competent authority according with the kind of products or services.
The certification mark should be registered before the Intellectual Property Office, the office in charge of the Ministry of Promotion, Industry and Commerce. The registration period granted by the registration is ten years from the registration ́s date, except for when the Owner of the certification mark is a state agency, in that case it is valid indefinitely, becoming extinct with the dissolution or disappearance of the owner. In other cases registration will be subject to renewal every ten years to be in force.
The owner of the certification mark will authorize the use of the mark to anyone whose products or services comply with the conditions set out in the regulations for use of the mark and these conditions comply with special characteristic and quality of the products or services.
The function of the certification mark is not to determine the commercial origin of the products and services but to highlight the special features of a certain product or service that is related to the quality of those products or services.
The use of the certification mark is made in conjunction with the trademark or service mark that distinguishes the commercial origin of the products or services. The certification mark indicates that the products or services meets certain standards and has been certified by a certification authority.
According to the Law that governs the registration of certification marks, the certification mark will not be subject to any liens or encumbrances, or attachment or judicial enforcement or precau- tionary measure.
A certification mark whose registration expired without being renewed, or it is not valid for any other cause, may not be used or registered as a distinctive sign by a person other than the owner for a period of ten years from the expiration date.