Jonathan Hinkson, Lawyer, within Intellectual Property Department of Augé Grup answers:
“The Principality of Andorra has around 8 million tourists per year (source: ACTUA). With that figure in mind, it is obvious that Andorra has become an interesting market especially for customers from France and Spain; this is even more so since a low VAT rate (4,5%) is applicable in the Principality.
Both multinational companies and inventors need a homogeneous protection of their trademark and patent. Protecting the Andorran territory must be part of a pro-active strategy to fight IP infringement, leaving no “grey area” available for infringers in Europe, in particular in the pharma and new tech industries.
On a practical note, an Andorran trademark can be registered within 4 days, in particular due to the fact that there is no opposition procedure (an opposition procedure allows the holder of a prior right to oppose the registration of a posterior trademark that is identical or similar to its prior right and that covers goods or services that are identical or similar). This is particularly relevant for right holders that are located in countries that grant subventions to companies that register Intellectual property rights abroad.
It is noteworthy to raise the fact that Andorra has not signed the Madrid Arrangement or the Madrid Protocol; this situation requires a local filing at the Andorran trademark office in order to obtain a trademark in force in the Principality.
The Andorran patent is also attractive because the examination is merely formal and a patent can be granted in around 18 months, the maintenance fees are very low which allows protecting a given invention in Andorra at a competitive cost.
Andorra has not signed the PCT treaty or the European Patent Convention so a local filing at the Andorran patent office is necessary to obtain an Andorran patent.
The filing of an Andorran trademark and Andorran patent must be done by an agent that is authorized to act at the Andorran trademark and patent office (OMPA).
Once the trademark or patent rights are secured, Andorra is above all a fantastic platform to optimize these intangible assets (effective taxation of 2% on world wide royalties perceived by an Andorran company)”.