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THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA
CONCERNING PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Nicaragua (hereinafter referred to collectively as "Parties" and individually as "Party"), in order to promote close and productive economic and other relations and desiring to facilitate the expansion of trade on a nondiscriminatory basis, have agreed to the measures set forth in this Agreement.
ARTICLE 1: Nature and Scope of Obligations
1. Each Party shall provide in its territory to the nationals of the other Party
adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property
rights, while ensuring that measures to protect and enforce intellectual property
rights do not themselves become barriers to legitimate trade.
2. To provide adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, each Party shall, at a minimum, give effect to this Agreement and the substantive provisions of:
(a) the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms
Against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms, 1971 (Geneva
(b) the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works,1971
(c) the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, 1967 (Paris
(d) the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants,
1978 (UPOV Convention), or the International Convention for the Protection
of New Varieties of Plants, 1991 (UPOV Convention); and
(e) the Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme- Carrying Signals
Transmitted by Satellite (1974).
If a Party has not acceded to the specified text of any such Conventions on or before the date of entry into force of this Agreement, it shall promptly make every effort to accede without delay.
3. A Party may implement in its domestic law more extensive protection and
enforcement of intellectual property rights than is required under this Agreement, provided that such protection and enforcement is not inconsistent with this Agreement.
ARTICLE 2: National Treatment
1. Each Party shall accord to nationals of the other Party treatment no less favorable than it accords to its own nationals with regard to the acquisition, protection, enjoyment and enforcement of all intellectual property rights and any benefits derived therefrom.
2. A Party shall not, as a condition of according national treatment under this Article, require right holders to comply with any formalities or conditions (including fixation, publication or exploitation in the territory of a Party) in order to acquire, enjoy, enforce and exercise rights or benefits in respect of copyright and related rights.
3. A Party may derogate from paragraph 1 in relation to its judicial and administrative procedures for the protection or enforcement of intellectual property rights, including any procedure requiring a national of the other Party to designate for service of process an address in the Party's territory or to appoint an agent or representative in the Party's territory, if the derogation is consistent with the relevant Convention listed in Article 1:2 above, provided that such derogation:
(a) is necessary to secure compliance with measures that are not inconsistent with this Agreement; and
(b) is not applied in a manner that would constitute a restriction on trade.
4. The obligations under this Article do not apply to procedures provided in multilateral agreements concluded under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization relating to the acquisition or maintenance of intellectual property rights.
ARTICLE 3: Copyright
1. Each Party shall protect all works that embody original expression within
the meaning of the Berne Convention. In particular:
(a) all types of computer programs are literary works within the meaning of
the Berne Convention and each Party shall protect them as such; and
(b) compilations of data or other material, whether in machine readable or other form, which by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents constitute intellectual creations, shall be protected as works.
The protection a Party provides under subparagraph (b) shall not extend to the
data or material itself, or prejudice any copyright subsisting in that data or
2. Each Party shall provide to authors and their successors in interest those rights enumerated in the Berne Convention in respect of works covered by paragraph 1 and shall provide the right to authorize or prohibit.
(a) the importation into the Party's territory of copies of the work made without the right holder's authorization,
(b) the first public distribution of the original and each copy of the work by sale, rental or otherwise;
(c) the communication of a work to the public;
(d) the rental of the original or a copy of a computer program for direct or indirect commercial advantage.
(e) the making available to the public the work, by wire or wireless means, in such a way that members of the public may access the work from a
place and at a time individually chosen by them.
Subparagraph (d) shall not apply where the copy of the computer program is not itself an essential object of the rental. Each Party shall provide that putting the original or a copy of a computer program on the market with the right holder's consent shall not exhaust the rental right; and
3. Each Party shall provide that for copyright and related rights:
(a) any person acquiring or holding any economic rights may freely and separately transfer such rights by contract; and
(b) any person acquiring or holding any such economic rights by virtue of a contract, including contracts of employment underlying the creation of works and sound recordings, shall be able to exercise those rights in its own name and enjoy fully the benefits derived from those rights.
4. Each Party shall provide that, where the term of protection of a work is to
be calculated on a basis other than the life of a natural person, the term shall be
not less than 75 years from the end of the calendar year of the first authorized
publication of the work or, failing such authorized publication within 25 years
from the creation of the work, not less than 100 years from the end of the
calendar year of the creation of the work.
5. Neither Party may grant translation or reproduction licenses permitted
under the Appendix to the Berne Convention where legitimate needs in that
Party's territory for copies or translations of the work could be met by the right
holder's voluntary actions but for obstacles created by the Party's measures.
6. Each Party shall provide to the right holder in a sound recording the right
to authorize or prohibit:
(a) the direct or indirect reproduction, in whole or in part, of the sound recording;
(b) the importation into the Party's territory of copies of the sound recording made without the producer's authorization;
(c) the first public distribution of the original and each copy of the sound recording by sale, rental or otherwise; and
(d) the rental, lease or lending of the original or a copy of the sound recording for the purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage; and
(e) the making available to the public the sound recording, by wire or wireless means, in such a way that members of the public may access the sound recording from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.
Each Party shall provide that putting the original or a copy of a sound recording on the market with the right holder's consent shall not exhaust the rental right.
7. Each party shall provide to performers the right to authorize or prohibit:
(a) the fixation of their live Musical performances in a sound recording;
(b) the reproduction of unauthorized fixations of their live musical performances in a sound recording;
(c) the transmission or other communication to the public of sounds in a live
musical performance; and
(d) the distribution, sale, rental, disposal or transfer of the unauthorized fixations of their live performances in a sound recording, regardless of where the fixations were made.
8. Each Party shall, through operation of this Agreement, apply the
provisions of Article 18 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary
and Artistic Works to existing sound recordings.
9. Each Party shall confine limitations or exceptions to the rights provided
for in this Article to certain special cases that do not conflict with a normal
exploitation of the work, and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right holder.
ARTICLE 4: Protection of Encrypted Program-Carrying Satellite Signals
Within one year from the date of entry into force of this Agreement, each Party shall make it:
(a) a criminal offense to manufacture, assemble, modify, import, export, sell, lease or otherwise distribute a tangible or intangible device or system, knowing or having reason to know that the device or system is primarily of assistance in decoding an encrypted program-carrying satellite signal without the authorization of the lawful distributor of such signal;
(b) a criminal offense willfully to receive or further distribute an encrypted program-carrying satellite signal that has been decoded without the authorization of the lawful distributor of the signal; and
(c) a civil offense to engage in any activity prohibited under subparagraph
(a) or (b).
Each Party shall provide that any civil offense established under subparagraph (c) shall be actionable by any person that holds a right in the encrypted programming signal or the content thereof.
ARTICLE 5: Trademarks
1 . For the purposes of this Agreement, a trademark consists of any sign, or any combination of signs, capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of another, including words, personal names, designs, letters, numerals, colors, figurative elements, or the shape of goods or of their packaging. Trademarks shall include service marks, collective marks, and certification marks.
2. Each Party shall provide to the owner of a registered trademark the right to prevent all persons not having the owner's consent from using in commerce identical or similar signs for goods or services that are identical, similar, or related to those goods or services in respect of which the owner's trademark is registered, where such use would result in a likelihood of confusion. In the case of the use of an identical sign for identical goods or services, a likelihood of confusion shall be presumed. The rights described above shall not prejudice any prior rights, nor shall they affect the possibility of making rights available on the basis of use.
3. A Party may make registrability depend on use. However, actual use of
a trademark shall not be a condition for filing an application for registration.
Neither Party may refuse an application solely on the ground that intended use has not taken place before the expiry of a period of three years from the date of application for registration .
4. Each Party shall provide a system for the registration of trademarks,
which shall include:
(a) examination of applications;
(b) notice to be given to an applicant of the reasons for the refusal to register a trademark;
(c) a reasonable opportunity for the applicant to respond to the notice;
(d) publication of each trademark either before or promptly after it is registered;
(e) a reasonable opportunity for interested persons to petition to oppose the registration of a trademark; and
(f) a reasonable opportunity for interested persons to petition to cancel the
registration of a trademark after the registration of the mark.
5. The nature of the goods or services to which a trademark is to be applied
shall in no case form an obstacle to the registration of a trademark.
6. Article 6 bis of the Paris Convention shall apply, with such modifications as may be necessary, to services. In determining whether a trademark is well known account shall be taken of the knowledge of the trademark in the relevant sector of the public, including knowledge in the Party's territory obtained as a result of the promotion of the trademark. Neither Party may require that the reputation of the trademark extend beyond the sector of the public that normally deals with the relevant goods or services or that the trademark be registered.
7. Each Party shall use the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purpose of Registration of Marks (Nice Agreement) for registration. Neither Party shall use such classification as the basis for determining the likelihood of confusion.
8. Each Party shall provide that the initial registration of a trademark be for a term of at least 10 years and the registration be indefinitely renewable for terms of not less than 10 years when conditions for renewal have been met.
9. Each Party shall require the use of a trademark to maintain a registration. The registration may be canceled for the reason of non-use only after an uninterrupted period of at least three years of non-use, unless valid reasons based on the existence of obstacles to such use are shown by the trademark owner. The law shall recognize, as valid reasons for non-use, circumstances arising independently of the will of the trademark owner that constitute an obstacle to the use of the trademark, such as import restrictions on, or other government requirements for, goods or services identified by the trademark.
10. Each Party shall recognize the use of a trademark by a person other
than the trademark owner, where such use is subject to the owner's control, as
use of the trademark for purposes of maintaining the registration.
11. Neither Party may encumber the use of a trademark in commerce by special requirements, such as a use that reduces the trademark's function as an indication of source or a use with another trademark.
12. A Party may determine conditions on the licensing and assignment of trademarks, it being understood that the compulsory licensing of trademarks shall not be permitted. The owner of a registered trademark shall have the right to assign its trademark with or without the transfer of the business to which the trademark belongs. However, a Party may require a transfer of goodwill in a mark as part of a valid transfer of the mark.
13. A Party may provide limited exceptions to the rights conferred by a trademark, such as fair use of descriptive terms, provided that such exceptions take into account the legitimate interests of the trademark owner and of other persons.
14. Each Party shall refuse to register trademarks that consist of or comprise immoral, deceptive or scandalous matter, or matter that may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs or a Party's national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute. Each Party shall prohibit the registration as a trademark of words that generically designate goods or services or types of goods or services to which the trademark applies.
ARTICLE 6: Geographical Indications
1 . Each Party shall provide, in respect of geographical indications, the legal means for interested persons to prevent:
(a) the use of any means in the designation or presentation of a good that indicates or suggests that the good in question originates in a territory, region or locality other than the true place of origin, in a manner that misleads the public as to the geographical origin of the good;
(b) any use that constitutes an act of unfair competition within the meaning of Article 10 bis of the Paris Convention.
2. Each Party shall, on its own initiative if its domestic law so permits or at
the request of an interested person, refuse to register, or invalidate the
registration of, a trademark containing or consisting of a geographical indication
with respect to goods that do not originate in the indicated territory, region or
locality, if use of the indication in the trademark for such goods is of such a
nature as to mislead the public as to the geographical origin of the good.
3. Each Party shall also apply paragraphs I and 2 to a geographical indication that, although correctly indicating the territory, region or locality in which the goods originate, falsely represents to the public that the goods originate in another territory, region or locality.
4. Nothing in this Article shall be construed to require a Party to prevent continued and similar use of a particular geographical indication of another Party in connection with goods or services by any of its nationals or domiciliaries who have used that geographical indication in a continuous manner with regard to the same or related goods or services in that Party's territory, either:
(a) for at least 10 years, or
(b) in good faith, before the date of signature of this Agreement.
5. Where a trademark has been applied for or registered in good faith, or
where rights to a trademark have been acquired through use in good faith,
(a) before the date of application of these provisions in that Party, or
(b) before the geographical indication is protected in its Party of origin,
no Party may adopt any measure to implement this Article that prejudices eligibility for, or the validity of, the registration of a trademark, or the right to use a trademark, on the basis that such a trademark is identical with, or similar to, a geographical indication.
6. No Party shall be required to apply this Article to a geographical
indication if it is identical to the customary term in common language in that
Party's territory for the goods or services to which the indication applies.
7. A Party may provide that any request made under this Article in connection with the use or registration of a trademark must be presented within five years after the adverse use of the protected indication has become generally known in that Party or after the date of registration of the trademark in that Party, provided that the trademark has been published by that date, if such date is earlier than the date on which the adverse use became generally known Party, provided that the geographical indication is not used 'or registered in bad faith.
8. No Party shall adopt any measure implementing this Article that would
prejudice any person's right to use, in the course of trade, its name or the name
of its predecessor in business, except where such name forms all or part of a valid trademark in existence before the geographical indication became protected and with which there is a likelihood of confusion, or such name is used in such a manner as to mislead the public.
9. Nothing the Article shall be construed to require a Party to protect a
geographical indication that is not protected, or has fallen into disuse, in the
Party of origin.
ARTICLE 7: Patents
1. Each Party shall make patents available for any invention, whether a product or a process, in all fields of technology, provided that such invention is new, resulted from an inventive step and is capable of industrial application. For purposes of this Article, a Party may deem the terms "inventive step" and "capable of industrial application" to be synonymous with the terms "non-obvious" and "useful", respectively.
2. A Party made exclude from patentability inventions if preventing in its territory the commercial exploitation of the inventions is necessary to protect ordre public or morality, including to protect human, animal or plant life or health or to avoid serious prejudice to nature or the environment, provided that the exclusion is not based solely on the ground that the Party prohibits commercial exploitation in its territory of the subject matter of the patent. A Party may also exclude from patentability diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods for the treatment of humans or animals.
3. If a Party has not made available patent protection for a product subject to a regulatory review period prior to its commercial marketing or use commensurate with paragraph I as of seventeen years prior to the date of this Agreement, that Party shall provide to the inventor of any such product or its assignee the means to obtain product patent protection or equivalent protection for such product for the unexpired term of the patent for such product granted in .the other Party, as long as the product has not been marketed at the time of this Agreement in the Party providing protection under this paragraph and the person seeking such protection makes a timely request. The transitional protection must, at least, give the patent owner or his assignee the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention during the remaining term of the patent granted by the other Party.
4. Each Party shall provide that:
(a) where the subject matter of a patent is a product, the patent shall confer
on the patent owner the right to prevent other persons from making,
using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the subject matter of the
patent, without the patent owner's consent; and
(b) where the subject matter of a patent is a process, the patent shall confer on the patent owner the right to prevent other persons from using that process and from using, selling, offering for sale, or importing at least the product obtained directly by that process, without the patent owner's consent.
5. A Party may provide limited exceptions to the exclusive rights conferred
by a patent, provided that such exceptions do not conflict with a normal
exploitation of the patent and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate
interests of the patent owner.
6. Patents shall be available and patent rights enjoyable without discrimination as to the field of technology or whether products are imported or locally produced.
7. A Party may revoke a patent only when grounds exist that would have
justified a refusal to grant the patent.
8. Each Party shall permit patent owners to assign and transfer by
succession their patents, and to conclude licensing contracts.
9. A Party may decline to allow use without the authorization of the right
holder of a patent. However, where the law of a Party allows for use of the
subject matter of a patent, other than use allowed under paragraph 4, without
the authorization of the right holder, including use by the government or other
persons authorized by the government, the Party shall respect the following
(a) authorization of such use shall be considered on its individual merits;
(b) such use may be permitted only if, prior to such use; the proposed user
has made efforts to obtain authorization from the right holder on
reasonable commercial terms and conditions and such efforts have not
been successful within a reasonable period of time. The requirement to
make such efforts may be waived by a Party in the case of a national
emergency or other circumstances of extreme urgency or in cases of
public non-commercial Use. In situations of national emergency or other
circumstances of extreme urgency, the right holder shall, nevertheless,
be notified as soon as reasonably practicable. In the case of public non-
commercial use, where the government or contractor, without making a
patent search, knows or has demonstrable grounds to know that a valid
patent is or will be used by or for the government, the right holder shall
be informed promptly;
(c) the scope and duration of such use shall be limited to the purpose for which it
was authorized, and in the case of semiconductor technology shall only be for public noncommercial use or to remedy a practice determined after judicial or administrative process to be anti-competitive.
(d) such use shall be non-exclusive;
(e) such use shall be non-assignable, except with that part of the enterprise or goodwill that enjoys such use;
(f) any such use shall be authorized predominantly for the supply of the Party's domestic market;
(g) authorization for such use shall be liable, subject to adequate protection of the legitimate interests of the persons so authorized, to be terminated if and when the circumstances that led to it cease to exist and are unlikely to recur. The competent authority shall have the authority to review, on petition of an interested party, the continued existence of these circumstances;
(h) the right holder shall be paid adequate remuneration in the circumstances of each case, taking into account the economic value of the authorization;
(i) the legal validity of any decision relating to the authorization shall be
subject to judicial or other independent review by a distinct higher
(j) any decision relating to the remuneration provided in respect of such use shall be subject to judicial or other independent review by a distinct higher authority;
(k) the Party shall not be obliged to apply the conditions set out in subparagraphs (b) and (f) where such use is permitted to remedy a practice determined after judicial or administrative process to be anticompetitive. The need to correct anticompetitive practices may be taken into account in determining the amount of remuneration in such cases. Competent authorities shall have the authority to refuse termination of authorization if and when the conditions that led to such authorization are likely to recur; and
(l) the Party shall not authorize the use of the subject matter of a patent to
permit the exploitation of another patent except as a remedy for an
adjudicated violation of domestic laws regarding anticompetitive
10. Where the subject matter of a patent is a process for obtaining a product, each Party shall, in any infringement proceeding, place on the defendant the burden of establishing that the allegedly infringing product was made by a process other than the patented process in one or more of the following situations:
(a) the product obtained by the patented process is new; or
(b) a substantial likelihood exists that the allegedly infringing product was made by the process and the patent owner has been unable through reasonable efforts to determine the process actually used.
In the gathering and evaluation of evidence, the legitimate interests of the defendant in protecting its trade secrets shall be taken into account.
11. Each Party shall provide a term of protection for patents that shall not end before the expiration of a period of 20 years counted from the date of filing. A Party may extend the term of patent protection, in appropriate cases, to compensate for delays caused by regulatory approval processes.
ARTICLE 8: Semiconductor Layout Designs
1 . Each Party shall protect layout designs (topographies) of integrated circuits ("layout designs") in accordance with Articles 2 through 7, 12 and 16(3), other than Article 6(3), of the Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits as opened for signature on May 26, 1989, and, in addition, shall comply with the provisions contained in this Article.
2. Subject to paragraph 3, each Party shall make it unlawful for any person without the right holder's authorization to reproduce, import or distribute a protected layout design, an integrated circuit in which a protected layout design is incorporated, or an article incorporating, such an integrated circuit only insofar as it continues to contain an unlawfully reproduced layout design.
3. Neither Party may make unlawful any of the acts referred to in paragraph 2 performed in respect of an integrated circuit that incorporates an unlawfully reproduced layout design, or any article that incorporates such an integrated circuit, where the person performing those acts or ordering those acts to be done did not know and had no reasonable ground to know, when it acquired the integrated circuit or article incorporating such an integrated circuit, that it incorporated an unlawfully reproduced layout design.
4. Each Party shall provide that, after the person referred to in paragraph 3 has received sufficient notice that the layout design was unlawfully reproduced, such person may perform any of the acts with respect to the stock on hand or ordered before such notice, but shall be liable to pay the right holder for doing so an amount equivalent to a reasonable royalty such as would be payable under a freely negotiated license in respect of such a layout design.
5. Neither Party may permit the compulsory licensing of layout designs of integrated circuits.
6. Any Party that requires registration as a condition for protection of a layout design shall provide that the term of protection shall not end before the expiration of a period of 10 years counted from the date of filing an application for registration or from the date on which the mask work is first commercially exploited in the world, whichever occurs first.
7. Where a Party does not require registration as a condition for protection of a layout design, the Party shall provide a term of protection of not less than 10 years from the date of the first commercial exploitation of the layout design, wherever in the world it occurs.
8. Notwithstanding paragraphs 6 and 7, a Party may provide that the
protection shall lapse 15 years after the creation of the layout design.
ARTICLE 9: Protection of Confidential Information (Trade Secrets)
1 . In the course of ensuring effective protection against unfair competition as provided in Article 10bis of the Paris Convention (1967), each Party shall protect confidential information in accordance with paragraph 2 below and data submitted to government or governmental agencies, in accordance with paragraphs 5 and 6 below.
2. Each Party shall provide the legal means for any person to prevent confidential information from being disclosed to, acquired by, or used by others without the consent of the person lawfully in control of the information in a manner contrary to honest commercial practices, in so far as, and for so long as:
(a) the information is not gene rally known or readily ascertainable;
(b) the information has actual or potential commercial value because it is secret; and
(c) the person lawfully in control of the information has taken reasonable steps under the circumstances to keep it secret.
3. Neither Party may limit the duration of protection for confidential
information, so long as the conditions in paragraph 2 exist.
4. Neither Party may discourage or impede the voluntary licensing of confidential information by imposing excessive or discriminatory conditions on such licenses or conditions that dilute the value of the confidential information.
5. If a Party requires, as a condition for approving the marketing of pharmaceutical or agrichemical products, the submission of undisclosed test or other data, the origination of which involves a considerable effort, the Party shall protect such data against unfair commercial use. In addition, each Party shall protect such data against disclosure, except where necessary to protect the public.
6. Each Party shall provide that for data of a type referenced in paragraph 5 that are submitted to the Party after the date of entry into force of this Agreement, no person other than the person that submitted them may, without the latter's permission, rely on such data in support of an application for product approval during a reasonable period of time after their submission. For this purpose, a reasonable period shall normally mean not less than five years from the date on which the Party granted approval to the person that produced the data for approval to market its product, taking account of the nature of the data and the person's efforts and expenditures in producing them.
ARTICLE 10: Industrial Designs
1. Each Party shall provide for the protection of independently created
industrial designs that are new or original. A Party may provide that:
(a) designs are not new or original if they do not significantly differ from known designs or combinations of known design features; and
(b) such protection shall not extend to designs dictated essentially by technical or functional considerations.
2. Each Party shall ensure that the requirements for securing protection for
textile designs, in particular in regard to any cost, examination or publication, do
not unreasonably impair a person's opportunity to seek and obtain such
protection. A Party may comply with this obligation through industrial design
law or copyright law.
3. Each Party shall provide the owner of a protected industrial design the right to prevent other persons not having the owner's consent from making, selling, or otherwise distributing articles bearing or embodying a design that is a copy, or substantially a copy, of the protected design, when such acts are undertaken for commercial purposes.
4. A Party may provide limited exceptions to the protection of industrial designs, provided that such exceptions do not conflict with the normal exploitation of protected industrial designs and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the owner of the protected design.
5. Each (party shall provide a term of protection for industrial de signs of at least 10 years.
ARTICLE 11: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights
1. As specified in this Article and Articles 12 through 15 hereof, each Party shall provide procedures in its domestic law that permit effective action against infringement of the intellectual property rights covered by this Agreement. These procedures shall include expeditious remedies to prevent infringement and remedies substantial enough to deter future infringement. Each Party shall apply enforcement procedures in a manner that does not create barriers to legitimate trade and contains effective safeguards against abuse.
2. Each Party shall ensure that its enforcement procedures are fair and equitable, are not unnecessarily complicated or costly, and do not entail unreasonable time limits or unwarranted delays.
3. Each Party shall ensure that decisions on the merits of a case in judicial
and administrative enforcement proceedings are:
(a) in writing and state the reasons on which the decisions are based;
(b) made available without undue delay at least to the parties in a proceeding; and
(c) based only on evidence in respect of which such parties were offered the
opportunity to be heard.
4. Each Party shall ensure that parties in a proceeding have an opportunity
to have final administrative decisions reviewed by a judicial authority of that
Party and, subject to jurisdictional provisions in its domestic laws concerning the
importance of a case, to have reviewed at least the legal aspects of initial
judicial decisions on the merits of a case. Notwithstanding the above, neither
Party shall be required to provide for judicial review of acquittals in criminal
5. Nothing in this Article or Articles 12 through 15 shall be construed to
require either Party to establish a judicial system for the enforcement of
intellectual property rights distinct from that Party's system for the enforcement
of laws in general.
ARTICLE 12: Specific Procedural and Remedial Aspects of Civil. and Administrative Procedures
1. Each Party shall make available to right holders civil judicial procedures for the enforcement of any intellectual property right covered by this Agreement. Each Party shall provide that:
(a) defendants have the right to written notice that is timely and contains sufficient detail, including the basis of the claims;
(b) Parties in a proceeding are allowed to be represented by independent legal counsel;
(c) enforcement procedures do not include imposition of overly burdensome
requirements concerning mandatory personal appearances;
(d) all Parties in a proceeding are duly entitled to substantiate their claims and to present relevant evidence; and
(e) the procedures include a means to identify and protect confidential information.
2. Each Party shall authorize its judicial authorities:
(a) where a Party in a proceeding has presented reasonably available evidence sufficient to support its claims and has specified evidence relevant to the substantiation of its claims that is within the control of the opposing Party, to order the opposing party to produce such evidence, subject in appropriate cases to conditions that ensure the protection of confidential information;
(b) where a Party in a proceeding voluntarily and without good reason refuses access to, or otherwise does not provide relevant evidence under that Party's control within a reasonable period, or significantly impedes a proceeding relating to an enforcement action, to make preliminary or final determinations, affirmative or negative, on the basis of the evidence presented, including the complaint or the allegation presented by the Party adversely affected by the denial of access to evidence, subject to providing the Parties an opportunity to be heard on the allegations or evidence;
(c) to order a Party in a proceeding to desist from an infringement, including measures to prevent the entry of imported goods at the border;
(d) to order the infringer of an intellectual property right to pay the right holder damages adequate to compensate for the injury the right holder has suffered because of the infringement and the profits of the infringer that are attributable to the infringement and are not taken into account in computing the actual damages;
(e) to order an infringer of an intellectual property right to pay the right holder's expenses, which may include appropriate attorney's fees; and
(f) to order a Party in a proceeding at whose request measures were taken and who has abused enforcement procedures to provide adequate compensation to any party wrongfully enjoined or restrained in the proceeding for the injury suffered because of such abuse and to pay that party's expenses, which may include appropriate attorney's fees.
3. With respect to the authority referred to in subparagraph 2(d), a Party shall, at least with respect to works protected by copyright or related rights, authorize the judicial authorities, at their discretion, to order the payment of preestablished damages.
4. Each Party shall, in order to create an effective deterrent to infringement
and counterfeiting, authorize its judicial authorities to order that:
(a) goods that they have found to be infringing be, without compensation of any sort, disposed of outside the channels of commerce in such a manner as to avoid any injury caused to the right holder or, unless this would be contrary to existing constitutional requirements, destroyed; and
(b) materials and implements the predominant use of which has been in the creation of the infringing goods be, without compensation of any sort, disposed of outside the channels of commerce in such a manner as to minimize the risks of further infringements.
In considering whether to issue such an order, judicial authorities shall take into account the need for proportionality between the seriousness of the infringement and the remedies ordered, as well as the interests of other persons. In regard to counterfeit goods, the simple removal of the trademark unlawfully affixed shall not be sufficient, other than in exceptional cases, to permit release of the goods into the channels of commerce.
5. In respect of the administration of any law pertaining to the protection or
enforcement of intellectual property rights, each Party may exempt public
authorities and officials from liability for their infringement of the rights governed
by this Agreement, unless their actions were not taken or intended in good faith
in the course of the administration of such laws.
6. Notwithstanding the other provisions of Articles 10 through 14, where a Party is sued with respect to an infringement or counterfeiting of an intellectual property right as a result of its unauthorized exercise of that right or the unauthorized exercise of that right on its behalf, that Party may limit the remedies available against it to the payment to the right holder of adequate remuneration in the circumstances of each case, taking into account the economic value of the use.
7. Each Party shall provide that, where a civil remedy can be ordered as a result of administrative procedures on the merits of a case, such procedures conform to principles equivalent in substance to those set out in this Article.
ARTICLE 13: Provisional Measures
1. Each Party shall authorize its judicial authorities to order prompt and
effective provisional measures:
(a) to prevent an infringement of any intellectual property right or the
counterfeiting of any product that is the subject of intellectual property
rights, and in particular to prevent the entry into the channels of commerce in their jurisdiction of allegedly infringing goods, including measures to prevent the entry of imported goods at the border; and
(b) to preserve relevant evidence in regard to the alleged infringement or counterfeiting.
2. Each Party shall authorize its judicial authorities to require any applicant
for provisional measures to provide to the judicial authorities any evidence
reasonably available to that applicant that the judicial authorities consider
necessary to enable them to determine with a sufficient degree of certainty
(a) the applicant is the right holder;
(b) the applicant's right is being infringed or such infringement is imminent; and
(c) any delay in the issuance of such measures is likely to cause irreparable
harm to the right holder, or there is a demonstrable risk of evidence
Each Party shall authorize its judicial authorities to require the applicant to provide a security or equivalent assurance sufficient to protect the interests of the defendant and to prevent abuse.
3. Each Party shall authorize its judicial authorities to require an applicant for provisional measures to provide other information necessary for the identification of the relevant goods by the authority that will execute the provisional measures.
4. Each Party shall authorize its judicial authorities to order provisional measures on an ex parte basis, in particular where any delay is likely to cause irreparable harm to the right holder, or where there is a demonstrable risk of evidence being destroyed.
5. Each Party shall authorize that where provisional measures are adopted by the Party's judicial authorities on an ex parte basis:
(a) a person affected shall be given notice of those measures without delay no later than immediately after the execution of the measures;
(b) a defendant shall, on request, have those measures reviewed by that
Party's judicial authorities for the purpose of deciding, within a
reasonable period after notice of those measures is given, whether the
measures shall be modified, revoked or confirmed, and shall be given an
opportunity to be heard in the review proceedings.
6. Without prejudice to paragraph 5, each Party shall provide that, on the
request of the defendant, the Party's judicial authorities shall revoke or
otherwise cease to apply the provisional measures taken on the basis of
paragraphs 1 and 4 if proceedings leading to a decision on the merits are not
(a) within a reasonable period as determined by the judicial authority ordering the measures where the Party's domestic law so permits; or
(b) in the absence of such a determination, within a period of no more than 20 working days or 31 calendar days, whichever is longer.
7. Each Party shall authorize its judicial authorities to order, on request of
the defendant, that the applicant provide compensation for injury caused by
(a) if the provisional measures are revoked or lapse because of any act or
omission of the applicant, or
(b) if the judicial authorities subsequently find there has been no
infringement or threat of infringement of any intellectual property right.
8. Each Party shall provide that, where a provisional measure can be
ordered as a result of administrative procedures, such procedures shall conform
to principles equivalent in substance to those set out in this Article.
ARTICLE 14: Criminal Procedures and Penalties
1 . Each Party shall provide criminal procedures and penalties to be applied at least in cases of willful trademark counterfeiting or infringement of copyrights or related rights on a commercial scale. Each Party shall provide that penalties available include imprisonment or monetary fines, or both, sufficient to provide a deterrent, consistent with the level of penalties applied for crimes of a corresponding gravity.
2. Each Party shall provide that, in appropriate cases, its judicial authorities
may, order the seizure, forfeiture and destruction of infringing goods and of any materials and implements the predominant use of which has been in the commission of the offense.
3. Each Party may provide that, in appropriate cases, its judicial authorities may impose criminal penalties for the infringement of intellectual property rights other than those in paragraph 1, where they are committed willfully and on a commercial scale.
ARTICLE 15: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights at the Border
1 . Each Party shall adopt procedures to enable a right holder, who has valid grounds for suspecting that the importation of counterfeit trademark goods or unauthorized copies of works protected by copyrights or related rights may take place, to lodge an application in writing with its competent authorities, whether administrative or judicial, for the suspension by the customs administration of the release of such goods into free circulation. No Party shall be obligated to apply such procedures to goods in transit. A Party may permit such an application to be made in respect of goods that involve other infringements of intellectual property rights, provided that the requirements of this Article are met. A Party may also provide for corresponding procedures concerning the suspension by the customs administration of the release of infringing goods destined for exportation from its territory .
2. Each Party shall require any applicant who initiates procedures under
paragraph 1 to provide adequate evidence:
(a) to satisfy that Party's competent authorities that, under its domestic laws, there is prima facie an infringement of its intellectual property right; and
(b) to supply a sufficiently detailed description of the goods to make them readily recognizable by the customs administration.
The competent authorities shall inform the applicant within a reasonable period whether they have accepted the application and, if so, the period for which the customs administration will take action.
3. Each Party shall authorize its competent authorities to require an applicant under paragraph 1 to provide a security or equivalent assurance sufficient to protect the defendant and the competent authorities and to prevent abuse. Such security or equivalent assurance shall not unreasonably deter recourse to these procedures.
4. A Party's customs administration, upon receiving an application pursuant to procedures adopted in accordance with this Article, may suspend the release of goods; involving industrial designs, patents, integrated circuits or trade secrets into free circulation on the basis of a decision other than by a judicial or other
independent authority; provided, however, if the period set forth in paragraphs 6 through 8 has expired without the granting of provisional relief by the duly empowered authority, and provided that all other conditions for importation have been complied with, such Party shall permit the owner, importer or consignee of such goods to receive such goods for entry into commerce on the posting of a security in an amount sufficient to protect the right holder against any infringement. Payment of such security shall not prejudice any other remedy available to the right holder, it being understood that the security shall be released if the right holder fails to pursue its right of action within a reasonable period of time.
5. Each Party shall ensure that its customs administration will promptly notify the importer and the applicant when the customs administration suspends the release of goods pursuant to paragraph 1.
6. Each Party shall ensure that its customs administration will release goods from suspension if within a period not exceeding 10 working, days after the applicant under paragraph 1 has been served notice of the suspension the customs administration has not been informed that:
(a) a party other than the defendant has initiated proceedings leading to a decision on the merits of the case, or
(b) a competent authority has taken provisional measures prolonging the suspension,
provided that all other conditions for importation or exportation have been met. Each Party shall provide that, in appropriate cases, the customs administration may extend the suspension by another 10 working days.
7. Each Party shall ensure that proceedings leading to a decision on the merits of the case have been initiated, a review, including a right to be heard, shall take place on request of the defendant with a view to deciding, within a reasonable period, whether the measures shall be modified, revoked or confirmed.
8. Notwithstanding paragraphs 6 and 7, where the suspension of the release of goods is carried out or continued in accordance with a provisional judicial measure, Article 13(6) shall apply.
9. Each Party shall ensure that its competent authorities have the authority to order the applicant under paragraph 1 to pay the importer, the consignee and the owner of the goods appropriate compensation for any injury caused to them through the wrongful detention of goods or through the detention of goods released pursuant to paragraph 6.
10. Without prejudice to the protection of confidential information, each Party shall ensure that its competent authorities have the authority to give the right holder sufficient opportunity to have any goods detained by the customs administration inspected in order to substantiate its claims. Each Party shall also ensure that its competent authorities have the authority to give the importer an equivalent opportunity to have any such goods inspected. Where the competent authorities have made a positive determination on the merits of a case, a Party may provide the competent authorities the authority to inform the right holder of the names and addresses of the consignor, the importer and the consignee, and of the quantity of the goods in question.
11. Where a Party requires its competent authorities to act on their own initiative and to suspend the release of goods in respect of which they have acquired prima facie evidence that an intellectual property right is being infringed:
(a) the competent authorities may at any time seek from the right holder any information that might assist them to exercise these powers;
(b) the importer and the right holder shall be promptly notified of the suspension by the Party's competent authorities, and where the importer lodges an appeal against the suspension with competent authorities; the suspension shall be subject to the conditions, with such modifications as may be necessary, set out in paragraphs 6 through 8; and
(c) the Party may exempt public authorities and officials from liability, except when the offending actions were not taken or intended in good faith.
12. Without prejudice to other rights of action open to the right holder and subject to the defendant's right to seek judicial review, each Party shall provide that its competent authorities shall have the authority to order the destruction or disposal of infringing goods in accordance with the principles set out in Article 12(4). In regard to counterfeit goods, the authorities shall not allow the reexportation of the infringing goods in an unaltered state or subject them to a different customs procedure, other than in exceptional circumstances.
13. A Party may exclude from the application of paragraphs 1 through 12 small quantities of goods of a non-commercial nature contained in travellers' personal luggage or sent in small consignments that are not repetitive.
ARTICLE 16: Existing Subject Matter
To the extent this Agreement requires a Party to increase its level of protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, it gives rise to obligations in respect of all subject matter existing at the date of application of this Agreement for the Party in question, and which is protected in that Party on the date the Agreement enters into force, or which meets or comes subsequently to meet the criteria for protection under the terms of this Agreement. This obligation is in addition to the obligation to implement fully the obligations of Article 18 of the Berne Convention (Paris text) with respect to all works, including sound recording.
ARTICLE 17: Definitions
1. For purposes of this Agreement:
confidential information includes trade secrets, privileged information, and other undisclosed information that has not become subject to an unrestricted public disclosure under the Party's domestic law.
encrypted program-carrying satellite signal means a program-carrying satellite signal that is transmitted in a form whereby the aural or visual characteristics, or both, are modified or altered for the purpose of preventing the unauthorized reception of a program carried in that signal by persons without the authorized equipment that is designed to eliminate the effects of such modification or alteration;
in a manner contrary to honest commercial practices means at least practices such as knowing breach or inducement to breach of contract, of confidence, or of an intellectual property right, and includes the acquisition, disclosure, or use of confidential information by third persons who knew, or were negligent in failing to know, that such practices were involved in the acquisition;
intellectual property rights refers to copyrights and related rights, trademarks, patents, protection of integrated circuit layout designs and encrypted satellite signals, trade secrets, and protection of plant breeders rights;
lawful distributor of an encrypted satellite signal in a Party means the person who originally transmitted the signal, regardless of the location of such person, and any other person or persons designated by the original transmitter as lawful distributors of such signal in such Party.
national of a Party shall, in respect of the relevant intellectual property rights,
be understood as those natural or legal persons that would meet the criteria for
eligibility for protection provided for in the Paris Convention, the Berne
Convention, the Geneva Convention, the International Convention for the
Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting
Organizations (1961), the UPOV Convention (1978), the UPOV Convention
(1991) or the Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits, as
if each Party were a party to those Conventions, and with respect to intellectual
property rights that are not the subject of these Conventions,, "national of a
Party" shall be understood at least to include any person that is a citizen or
permanent resident of that Party.
public includes, with respect to rights of communication and performance of provided for under Articles 11, 11bis(1) and 14 (1) (ii) of the Berne Convention, with respect to dramatic, dramatico-musical, musical and cinematographic works, at least, any aggregation of individuals intended to be the object of, and capable of perceiving, communications or performances of works, regardless of whether they can do so at the same or different times or in the same or different places, provided that such an aggregation of larger than a family and its immediate circle of acquaintances or is not a group composing a limited number of individuals having similarly close ties that has not been formed for the principal purpose of receiving such performances and communications works; and
right holder includes the right holder personally, any other natural or legal person authorized by the right holder who is an exclusive licensee of the right, or other authorized persons, including federations and associations, having legal standing under domestic law to assert such rights;
ARTICLE 18: National Security Exception
Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed:
1. to require either Party to furnish or allow access to any information the
disclosure of which it determines to be contrary to essential security interests;
2. to prevent either Party from taking any actions that it considers
necessary for the protection of its essential security interests:
(a) relating to the traffic in arms, ammunition and implements of war, and to such traffic and transactions in other goods, materials, services and technology undertaken directly or indirectly for the purpose of supplying a military or other security establishment,
(b) taken in time of war or other emergency in international relations, or
(c) relating to the implementation of national policies or international
agreements respecting the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons or other
nuclear explosive devices; or
3. to prevent either Party from taking action in pursuance of its obligations
under the United Nations Charter for the maintenance of international peace
ARTICLE 19: Consultations
Both Parties agree, at the request of either Party, to consult promptly on matters relating for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, in particuIar with respect to implementation of the obligations of this Agreement.
ARTICLE 20: Entry into Force and Final Provisions
1. Effective upon signature, each Party agrees to submit to its legislature any legislation and to issue any regulations necessary to carry out fully the obligations of this Agreement and to enact and implement such legislation and give effect to such regulations within 18 months.
2. This Agreement will enter into force upon the exchange of notes between the Parties in which they indicate that the Agreement has been ratified by the Congress of each of the Parties if their Constitution so requires.
3. This Agreement shall remain in force for an initial period of ten years and shall continue in force thereafter until terminated in accordance with this paragraph. Either Party may, by giving one year's written notice to the other Party, terminate this Agreement at the end of the initial ten-year period or at any time thereafter.
Signed in Managua, Nicaragua this seventh day of January, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight, in two copies in the Spanish and English languages, both texts being equally authentic.
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF
THE UNITED STATES OF THE REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA: