On January 19, 2017, Guatemala joined the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (known as the "Apostille Convention"). Following the usual procedural steps, the Convention will enter into force for Guatemala on September 18, 2017, making it the 113th Contracting State to the Convention.
An Apostille is a certificate issued by a designated authority in a country where the Apostille Convention is in force, which authenticates the seals and signatures of officials on public documents issued by a public authority, so that they can be recognized in foreign countries that are parties to the Convention. According to Article 1 of the Convention, the Apostille applies to the following public documents: court documents, administrative documents, documents issued by a notary and official certifications in documents signed by private persons.
As a result of Guatemala´s ratification of the Apostille Convention, the processing time and costs for legalization of documents (where required) will be considerably reduced. In the IP field, this will have particular impact in easing the requirements for filing trademark, patent or industrial design applications, as well as for matters such as recording changes of name or assignments, among others.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.