Puerto Rico Trade Names

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A trade name is distinguishable from a trademark in that a trade name may identify not only goods and services, but also the business of and/or goodwill of an organization as a whole.

The protection of trade names is governed by state law and is not covered by federal statutes.

Under state law, trade names are sometimes referred to as “DBAs” (doing business as) or “fictitious business names.”  Persons conducting business under a “fictitious business name” must usually make a filing with the state in which they are doing business.  

Puerto Rico Filing Requirements & Fees
In Puerto Rico, a trade name is the sign or name that serves to identify a person exercising entrepreneurial activity and distinguishes such activity from other identical or similar activities.  Trade names are regulated by the Commonwealth Trade Name Act, Act Num. 75 of September 23, 1992, 10 L.P.R.A. §§225 et seq.

Persons may obtain the registration of a trade name in the Department of State by submitting an application that is available on the Department’s webpage:   http://www.estado.gobierno.pr

The application must specify the entrepreneurial activity sought to be designated by the requested trade name and must be accompanied by a sworn statement that, to the best of the applicant's knowledge and belief, no other person is entitled to use the trade name in Puerto Rico, together with facsimiles of the trade name and evidence that the person has applied for or obtained any licenses or permits required by law or regulations to engage in the business for which the registration of the trade name is requested.  There is a one hundred and fifty ($150) fee for the registration of a trade name. 

The registration of a trade name in the Puerto Rico Department of State is optional and confers upon the registered owner the exclusive right to use the name in commerce in Puerto Rico.  The right to use a trade name belongs to the party that first uses it in connection with its business and such party may request the Secretary of State to cancel a trade name that may be confused with its own, provided that such claim is exercised before five (5) years have elapsed since the registration of the challenged trade name. 

There is a central registry of trade names in the Department of State that must be checked before filing, to ensure that the name is not already registered, not pending registration, and not subject to confusion with another registered trade name.   

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