We have recently learnt that a Circular Letter dated 3 December 2009 was issued by the Costa Rican Patent Office, in which it was stated that a legalised Power with Assignment document is now required with regard to all patent applications filed under the PCT Convention, those filed under the Paris Convention and those filed as national patent applications. However, on checking this requirement, our associate has now indicated that separate Powers (which have only to be notarised) and Assignments (which must be legalised to the level of the Costa Rican Consul) may be filed. 

A member of staff at the Costa Rican Patent Office has unofficially informed our associate that it would not be necessary to file an assignment document whenever a Declaration under Rule 4.17 PCT (i.e. whereby Box No. VIII (ii) of the Form PCT/RO/101 is checked and the signature of the inventor/assignor appears in the document) has been filed. However, we would not recommend that we rely on this unofficial information at this time.

We have also received clarification that it is acceptable to file an existing assignment document (e.g. a US assignment), notarised and then legalized by the Costa Rican Consul.

The deadline for submitting the assignment documentation is two months from the filing date in Costa Rica.

Since the issuance of the Circular Letter DRPI-009-2009, the Patent Office has not established if an extension of time would be possible with regard to the filing of the assignment document in respect of PCT applications. Nevertheless, in the case of patent applications under the Paris Convention, the Patent Office has granted such extensions of time. In our associate's opinion, the same criteria would be followed for PCT patent applications.

To date, the Patent Office has not decided whether or not they are going to request assignment documents for all existing applications. We will let our clients know on a case-by-case basis if such documentation is required for any of their existing applications.