Press Releases

New Report Reveals Importance of Trademarks to Costa Rican Economic Activity, Employment, and International Trade

Published: October 28, 2019

* Released today, a study by two major organizations of 10 Latin America and Caribbean countries finds trademark-intensive sectors contribute US $24.5 billion to Costa Rica’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

* Trademark-intensive sectors in Costa Rica contribute 36 percent to employment and pay their employees 57 percent more in wages—higher than countries in the European Union and United States 
* The largest of its kind in the region, the report also finds Costa Rica rises above the average on all five economic indicators

San Jose, Costa Rica—October 28, 2019—Fifty-seven percent higher wages is just one of the substantial benefits of trademark-intensive sectors to the Costa Rican economy, a new report released to-day by the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property (ASIPI) reveals.

The report, entitled Trademarks in Latin America: Economic Impact in 10 Latin America and Caribbean Countries, looks at 10 countries in the region and studies how trademark-intensive sectors contribute to the economies of each. The research was conducted by Fundación de Investigaciones Económicas Latinoamericanas (FIEL) in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Peru.

The 10 countries were selected because they account for nearly 90 percent of the region’s combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the levels of trademark activity differs from country to country.

Of these countries, Costa Rica stands out above the average on all five economic indicators.

The study found each country has between 13 and 21 trademark-intensive sectors from a total of 45. Costa Rica has the most, while Guatemala has the least. Pharmaceutical products and cosmetics and cleaning products are part of trademark-intensive sectors across all of the countries, while clothing and footwear, food products, and communications and entertainment also feature prominently.

In Costa Rica, trademark-intensive sectors contribute 42 percent to the country’s GDP, which equates to US $24.5 billion, according to the report. That percentage of contribution is the highest of all the countries studied, and is well above the 22 percent average in the region.

Industrial sectors in Latin America with a higher focus on protecting trademarks pay higher wages than the lesser-focused sectors. The report found companies pay their employees an average of 19 percent more, yet the wages in Costa Rica triple this figure; its 57 percent premium marks the highest salary differential across the 10 countries, and is higher than the European Union (48%) and the United States (38%).

The report also reveals a 36 percent contribution to employment in Costa Rica, meaning that for every three jobs, one is in a trademark-intensive sector. The average contribution to employment across the 10 Latin American countries is half that figure at 18 percent — or 35 million jobs, seven times Costa Rica’s population.
The study is the largest of its kind that focuses on Latin America and the Caribbean, building on a 2016 study released by INTA and ASIPI that analyzed the economic impact of trademark-intensive sectors across five countries: Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Peru.

“The new report highlights the important role trademarks play in Latin America and the positive impact of trademark-intensive sectors on people’s lives,” Etienne Sanz de Acedo, Chief Executive Officer of INTA, said on the sidelines of a general session at ASIPI’s Annual Meeting in Lima, Peru.

“The findings are very encouraging, and it’s now up to policy makers to help accelerate the growth of trademark-intensive sectors by implementing stronger and more efficient trademark protection and enforcement systems,” Mr. Sanz de Acedo noted. “This can invigorate local businesses to develop goods and services that will enable them to explore cross-border business opportunities, and can attract more direct investment internationally, technological know-how, and talent, which in turn will assist the movement up the value chain. These efforts will bode well for brands, consumers, the economy, and society at large.”

Sectors with a strong focus on trademarks are responsible for 49 percent of Costa Rica’s exports and 50 percent of the country’s imports. Across all 10 countries studied, trademark-intensive sectors contributed an average of US $17.80 to every US $100 exported, while trademark-intensive sectors were responsible for US $28.70 of every US $100 imported.

“Intellectual property as a whole, and trademarks in particular, have proven to be an ally for development in the Latin American countries,” said Elisabeth Siemsen, President of ASIPI. “Trademark systems favor economic growth and foster job opportunities; they are a relevant element to inform consumers and support consumers’ choice and, being not only a source identifier but also an information condenser, trademarks assist greater transparency in market economies.”

Ms. Siemsen added: “To support this positive role of trademarks, governments need to continue to strengthen the existing legal frame and the institutions with competence in the granting of rights and its enforcement. ASIPI is satisfied in joining efforts with INTA in the development of the impact study, which ASIPI foresees as a solid and illustrative reference in support to local—among other—economic, investment, and trade policies.”

Finally, the study finds the extent and reach of the contribution of trademark-intensive
sectors to the economies in the selected Latin American countries aligns with the documented impact of trademark-intensive sectors in the United States and European Union, taking into account the differences in development between the areas.

To develop the study, FIEL reviewed available specialized literature, collected all relevant data on trademarks and economic data from the respective intellectual property offices of the 10 countries under analysis and of the World Intellectual Property Organization, and elaborated the corresponding estimates on the impact of the trademark-intensive sectors.

Note to Editor

A sector is considered trademark-intensive if at least one of the following conditions is met:

  1. The number of annual registered trademarks per employee in a single sector is higher than the average ratio corresponding to the whole economy.
  2. The number of annual registered trademarks per unit of sales in a single sector is higher than the average ratio corresponding to the whole economy.

About the International Trademark Association

The International Trademark Association (INTA) is a global association of brand owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and related intellectual property (IP) to foster consumer trust, economic growth, and innovation. Members include more than 7,200 trademark owners, professionals, and academics from 187 countries, who benefit from the Association’s global trademark resources, policy development, education and training, and international network. Founded in 1878, INTA is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Singapore, and Washington, D.C., and representatives in Geneva and New Delhi. INTA has a regional presence with the offices in Santiago, Chile, and 745 member organizations in Latin America. For more information, visit

About the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property

The Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property (ASIPI) is considered the most important organization in the field of intellectual property in Latin America, devoted to protecting the collective interests of its members through studies and dissemination of intellectual property, as well as to promoting its regulatory development and defense in the Americas.