The Costa Rican Patent Law does not have any provisions as to double patenting. For many years, the Costa Rican Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) did not have internal examiners. Applications were examined either by recognized Costa Rican universities as well by experts appointed by professional associations. No common parameters or criteria existed at that moment due to the variety of positions and decentralization of examiners. As a consequence, there was a lack of reviewing and determining if two or more patents were being granted for the same invention to one proprietor. Therefore, double patenting was accepted and users of the system had no major complaints.
The hiring of new internal examiners by the PTO has brought a more careful review of applications. Further, many new policies were brought into effect by the new examiners. One of them seems to be the rejection of double patenting.
New examination reports issued by the internal examiners reflect these new policies. Applications that cover the same subject of claims granted for another application of the same proprietor are being rejected. This situation is the result of an effort to streamline and reduce the backlog of the PTO.
In their examination reports, examiners are not providing any legal reasoning to support this new policy, probably because there are no specific articles or provisions in our law regarding this issue. Therefore, this policy might be subject to change in the future if an applicant decides to challenge it before the Courts or if an amendment of the law is proposed by the PTO. Whichever the case, our office will be closely monitoring the outcome.