The Chargé in Chile ( Scotten ) to the Secretary of State

No. 275

Sir: I have the honor to advise the Department of the discrimination existing in Chile against foreigners who apply for patent and trade mark registration. This discrimination takes the form of excessively high registration fees charged foreigners which now amount to four times those charged Chilean nationals.

Decree Law No. 588, of September 29, 1925, known as the Industrial Property Law, created the Chilean Patent Office for the registration of patents and trade marks and established the following tariff of registration fees, applicable to Chilean nationals as well as foreigners:

Patent: Cost of Registration (Fiscal Tax in Chilean pesos)
Patent of Invention, for 5 years 100 pesos
Patent of Invention, for 10 years 200
Patent of Invention, for 15 years 500
Patent of Invention, for 20 years 1000
Renewal of Patent, 5 to 10 years 300 pesos
Renewal of Patent, 5 to 15 years 600
Renewal of Patent, 10 to 20 years 1000
Precautionary Patent, 1 year 30 pesos
Precautionary Patent, Renewal for 2nd year 90
Transferal of Patent 50 pesos
Duplicate of Titled Patent 20 pesos
Trade Marks:
Registration of Trade Mark, 10 years 50 pesos
Renewal of Registration for 2nd period of 10 years 150
Each further 10 year renewal 200
Transferal of Trade Mark 30 pesos
Duplicate of Title at request of interested party 10 pesos

Pursuant to the authority contained in Law No. 5107 of April 19, 1932, the Central Bank of Chile immediately revalued the peso at three pence gold, or 50% of its former value. On June 27, 1932, Decree Law No. 65 (translation enclosed)12 came into force. This law provides that the fees for registering patents and trade-marks petitioned by persons or firms resident outside of Chile, shall be paid in local currency with the corresponding gold surcharge. Since the surcharge was fixed at 100% the effect of the law was to double the fees payable in Chilean pesos when the service was performed for persons or firms resident outside of Chile, while the charges remained the same as previously for those resident within the country.

[Page 424]

On January 2, 1935, the Central Bank again revalued the peso at 1½ gold pence, or one fourth of the original gold value of the peso. Consequently, the gold surcharge was increased to 300%, thus making the fees payable for foreigners four times the original amount authorized in basic Law No. 588 of September 29, 1925, which created that Office. Registration fees for Chileans remained the same. It is understood that certain foreign interests have voiced protests without avail.

In the past the Chilean legislation with perhaps a few minor exceptions, has placed foreigners on an equal footing with Chileans in the exercise of their respective rights, tributary charges in general falling upon all without discrimination. Furthermore, the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs has stated that it is the policy of the Chilean Government, with very few and unimportant exceptions, to accord national treatment to foreigners. It might be added that the Spanish version of a commercial treaty proposed by Chile with the United States, transmitted to the Department with Despatch No. 92 of January 21, 1929,13 contained the following clause:

“The nationals of either High Contracting Party within the territories of the other shall not be subjected to the payment of any internal charges or taxes other or higher than those that are exacted of and paid by its nationals.”

This recent difficulty with respect to extra charges payable by foreigners for patent and trade mark registration in Chile, deviates sharply from the foregoing principle.

In view of the fact that the fees now being charged by the Chilean Patent Office are so high as to be virtually prohibitive for Americans and other foreigners desiring to register patents and trade marks in Chile, the Embassy feels that it might be desirable to discuss the matter informally at the Foreign Office. It is understood that the Minister of Finance is personally opposed to the high schedule of fees and would welcome having the question raised by some government in order to have a reasonable excuse for lowering the tariff. The Embassy has hesitated about discussing the matter at the Foreign Office in view of the fact that the fees are not discriminatory against Americans as opposed to the nationals of other countries. The Department’s instructions in the premises would be appreciated.

Respectfully yours,

Robert M. Scotten
  1. Not Printed.
  2. Not printed; see Foreign Relations, 1931, vol. i, p. 919, footnote 3.