Technology, in the last quarter of a century, has developed in such a way that it is completely necessary nowadays for the total functioning of society. In the medical, corporate, labor and even social fields, technology has come to simplify, perfect and even replace our human actions.
During the Industrial Revolution, the so-called “Chain production method” was created; this method combined the worker´s skills with machinery. Nowadays, in many companies, human labor has been replaced by machines and/or robots which preform the same activities, but with more precision and speed, thus contributing to a greater production. The previous example is evidence that the picture of our history has been changing radically very fast in recent years, all thanks to technological development.
Every day, through articles, news, social networks and others, we observe new advances and discoveries made through technology which make us dispense of our old customs and invites us to perform our daily activities in another way, gradually shaping us to understand these innovations and accept them as part of a normality and changing our way of life.
The acceptance of these advances as part of our daily life have more influence on our way of thinking, acting and living. A clear example is how today everything is related to the world wide web or as it is commonly known it, the internet. The way of working, the way of connecting with the outside world, the way of entering into social relationships, the way of traveling and planning the annual vacations and even the way of eating in the present has been modified with the creation of the internet; for anyone with a mobile device, called laptop, tablet, smartphone with access to the network has everything within reach of a click.
Likewise, technology has tear down borders, globalizing our society almost uniformly. Communications and news nowadays travel at an extraordinary speed thanks to the network and technological advances. Humanity is more aware of what is happening worldwide and in a faster way.
According to the previous by reflecting in the present article the evident importance of the technology in the present, in these new forms of technology mentioned in previous paragraphs, we have the mobile applications or the APPS.
The APPS have been defined as a program made for a specific use, such as payroll, word processing, etc. Mobile applications are designed to provide customers with a product or services all from the comfort of their mobile device.
The APPS have been very successful and used within the consumer public and today most of the national and international companies have their mobile application to facilitate access to their services or products.
The mobile applications begin as ideas in the mind of its creator(s), then, they become a reality and a tool used to make easier the access to services and products, so, these creations, derive intellectual and industrial property rights for the creator(s) or owner(s).
These rights must be soon protected, granting the owner the exclusive right to prevent third parties to commercialize identical or similar applications which can generate confusion to the average consumer, causing a profit decrease to the company, confusion among its customers as well as possible damage to the image and reputation of the APP, especially if its competitor is a of a lower quality.
In countries such as the United States, Spain and even in the Andean Community, the APPS creators or owners have closely linked the concept of creation with the protection, so, normally after the creation is finished (or in the process), the immediate protection of it is made before it goes on to the market and avoid intellectual and industrial property rights be threatened by third parties.
In Costa Rica, large companies, as well as small entrepreneurs, have gradually come to understand that, as well as they protect their business strategies, with meticulousness and commitment, Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights (such as trademarks, patents, utility models, industrial designs, authors rights, software etc.) should be equally protected and that it is necessary to reinforce the nexus between creation and protection understanding that without this protection, the ownership of the right is easily threatened.
Our legislation provides several options to protect the Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights of the APPS´ creators or owners, among which are:
- Trademark protection (Law No. 7978)
- Industrial design, which will protect aspects such as wallpapers and the esthetic part of the mobile application (Law No. 6867)
- As a copyright for the creative aspects and software development. (Law 6683).
These three types of protection need relatively simple applications and few requirements which must be filed before the Industrial and Intellectual Property Registry of Costa Rica. In the case of trademarks protection, the approximate period of time to get this protection is between 4 and 12 months; between 1 and 4 months in the case of Copyright and in the case of Industrial design protection, a process that is more extensive, an approximate of between 18 and 36 months.
Each case must be evaluated individually since there are elements which can affect in different ways in each application.
Protect Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights to avoid damage to the reputation not only of the mobile application, but of the company to which it belongs or is linked.