Landmark case in Dominican Republic regarding the competence of the contentious-administrative jurisdiction in appeals against PTO decisions

Author: Pamela Hernandez, Head of Trademarks at MINIÑO

The competence of the Supreme Administrative Court to rule on appeals against decisions issued by the Dominican PTO has been a matter of national controversy for many years now. The discussion arises since whereas the Trademark Law assigns the jurisdiction to the Civil and Commercial Courts, a subsequent legislative reform gave rise to the Contentious-Administrative jurisdiction and the creation of the Supreme Administrative Court for that purpose. In this conflict of laws, it was not clear whether a decision issued by the Dominican PTO should be appealed before the Civil and Commercial Courts (following Trademark Law) or the Supreme Administrative Court (following the Contentious-Administrative Procedural Law).

Although there had already been cases where the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) confirmed the competence of the Supreme Administrative Court in cases where there was only one party involved, some players still considered the Civil and Commercial Courts as the competent Courts when the dispute, aside from the Dominican PTO, involved adverse parties (e.g., an opposition, a nullity action…).

In this context, in a recent case handled by MINIÑO, the Supreme Administrative Court issued a decision [1] which confirmed its own competence to rule on appeals against decisions issued by the Dominican PTO, also when the administrative case involves adverse parties besides the Dominican PTO.

Such decision is a relevant step forward in the consolidation of the Contentious-Administrative jurisdiction over decisions from the Dominican PTO, bringing clarity to this procedural question and paving the way for the much-awaited specialization of a Court in Dominican Republic in IP matters.

[1] Decision no. 0030-1647-2022-TSEN-00001 of 28 February 2022 issued by the Supreme Administrative Court

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