Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Patents in Latin America

A new book is hitting the shelves. Prof Kenneth C. Shadlen, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK writes to inform us of his new book Coalitions and Compliance: The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Patents in Latin America. Prof Kenneth teaches Development Studies in the Department of International Development at LSE.

Oxford University Press describes the book as
Coalitions and Compliance examines how international changes can reconfigure domestic politics. Since the late 1980s, developing countries have been subject to intense pressures regarding intellectual property rights. These pressures have been exceptionally controversial in the area of pharmaceuticals. Historically, fearing the economic and social costs of providing private property rights over knowledge, developing countries did not allow drugs to be patented. Now they must do so, an obligation with significant implications for industrial development and public health. This book analyses different forms of compliance with this new imperative in Latin America, comparing the politics of pharmaceutical patenting in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.

Coalitions and Compliance focuses on two periods of patent politics: initial conflicts over how to introduce drug patents, and then subsequent conflicts over how these new patent systems function. In contrast to explanations of national policy choice based on external pressures, domestic institutions, or Presidents' ideological orientations, this book attributes cross-national and longitudinal variation to the ways that changing social structures constrain or enable political leaders' strategies to construct and sustain supportive coalitions. The analysis begins with assessment of the relative resources and capabilities of the transnational and national pharmaceutical sectors, and these rival actors' efforts to attract allies. Emphasis is placed on two ways that social structures are transformed so as to affect coalition-building possibilities: how exporters fearing the loss of preferential market access may be converted into allies of transnational drug firms, and differential patterns of adjustment among state and societal actors that are inspired by the introduction of new policies. It is within the changing structural conditions produced by these two processes that political leaders build coalitions in support of different forms of compliance
A book about... tango is finished!
Lost in translation...
Prof Ken describes his book as
"a new book on the political economy of pharma patents, examining the debates about introducing new pharma patent systems, when this became compulsory post-TRIPS, and then, once in place, debates over revising how these systems function. The empirics are from three LatAm countries (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico)."
How I describe the book:
"haven’t read it yet…but looks promising."
"A must read."

In the near future will do a review.

To be continued…

More information here.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Dancing with pride: Jeremy did it!

Our dear Jeremy Phillips, the founder of the IPTango, IPKat and many other IP blogs, was awarded the David Goldring Volunteer Award from Marques. The Marques website describes beautifully the meaning of the award attached to the name David Goldring whose 'huge contribution to the organisation over the years' was remarkable [more info here]. David Goldring passed away in June 2016 and the award was 'inaugurated and was presented to his wife Delia (Dee) Goldring at the Annual meeting in September 2016'. This is the second time the award is awarded and it is with such pride that we hear that our own Jeremy was the recipient!

Jeremy is a well known figure among IP lawyers. He has been one of the top IP professors, researcher and practitioner but one of his key characteristics and quite valuable is his passion for whatever he does (surely after retirement he may be running after the grand-kids with a big smile -- perhaps he is learning to dance tango). His energy is contagious and it is an example that many of us follow.

Congratulations Jeremy! Felicidades! We miss you.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

New Registers can Oppose Marks Previously Filled for Registration

Monsieur Periné, a Colombian musical group, achieved recognition of its name as a well-known trademark. This declaratory was made by the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) within the opposition process issued by this musical group against the register of the mixed mark ‘Monsieur Perruné’ filed for registration in class 41 by Emepe S.A.S., a company offering live music performances and services. One of the arguments used by the company in its defence was that its application for registration of the trademark was issued before (14 October 2016) to that one made by Monsieur Periné (11 November 2016). Under Article 136 of the Decision 486 of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) the signs that would unduly harm a third-party right cannot be registered as marks, especially when ‘they are identical or similar to a mark previously filed for registration or registered by a third party in respect of the same goods or services, or for goods or services regarding which the use of the mark could cause a risk of confusion or association.’ (Emphasis added)
  
However, more than an argument against the opposition issued by Monsieur Periné, this just goes to show that the musical group is acting in line with the Colombian trademark law. The opposition is a legal proceeding that anyone with a legitimate interest can initiate to try to prevent the registration of a mark. On the matter, Article 147 of the Decision 486 of the CAN establishes that ‘the opponent shall prove his genuine interest in the market of the member country in which the opposition is filed, which they must do by applying for registration at the time of filing the opposition.’ From these two Articles, it has been interpreted that an opposition can be suited either when there is a mark previously filled for registration or already registered, or when no registration exists. Unless the opposition is presented based on the prior existence of a register, the opposition must be issued together with an application for the registration of the mark that allegedly could be violated with the concession of the opposed mark.

Evidently, Monsieur Periné is a successful musical group otherwise its name would not have been recognised as a well-known mark. By contrast, Emepe S.A.S. was a little know company, which apparently was trying to take unfair advantage of the prestige of Monsieur Periné. This, because of the obvious similarities between the signs ‘Monsieur Periné’ and ‘Monsieur Perruné.’
The case in which a registered mark is declared well-known within an opposition process was analysed in a previous post. (See post here)

Finally, a document of opposition does not require a petition for the recognition of a well-known mark, but, if included, the decision must not necessarily be favourable. For example, the register of the sign ‘Forever Sexy’ filled in class 25 by Victoria’s Secret was recently denied. The decision was made based on the prior registration of the mark ‘Forever’ in classes 9, 14, 18, 24, 25, and 35, a property of Forever 21 Inc. ‘Forever’ was not recognised as a well-known mark at the end of this process. Nonetheless, due to their similarity, the mark ‘Forever Sexy’ was not able to be registered.

    









Post written by Florelia Vallejo Trujillo
Assistant Professor, Universidad del Tolima, Colombia
PhD Candidate University of Nottingham, UK                    

Friday, 15 September 2017

The Pope's visit to Colombia: an IP matter

Early September Colombia received a very special and anticipated visit.
As Pope Francis prepared to visit Colombia for a six-day Apostolic Journey, there were some challenges before the arrival of the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. One of the main issues as expected was security. The visit was taken and aimed to “dream about the possibility of transforming [Colombia] and taking the first step.” Colombia is said to be a war-torn country (with more than 50 years of armed conflict) and the visit promoted the themes of peace and reconciliation.

Official Logo and slogan - 'Demos el primer paso'
According to the Vatican Radio ‘The logo of the Journey contains the motto of the Pope’s Apostolic Journey: “Let’s take the first step”’. Such sign was especially created for the visit of Pope Francis to Colombia.

demos el primer paso
http://www.sic.gov.co
Before the Pope’s arrival an application for registration of the mixed sign ‘demos el primer paso’ was presented by the Episcopal Conference of Colombia at the Superintendence de Industrial y Comercio (SIC). The Episcopal Conference of Colombia is a collegiate body constituted by the bishops of the country, and are the legal representatives of Pope Francis in Colombia.

During the registration process there were no oppositions and the examiner not finding any grounds of irregularity established by the Decision 486 of the Andean Community granted the mark on 23 August 2017 (Resolution 50963/2017).

The newspaper El Mundo acknowledges that the image of celebrities and famous people is common in Colombia since SIC allows the registration of names of ‘personas’ to avoid their use by third parties who may take advantage of their reputation and goodwill. The newspaper gave the example of the registration of ‘Father Rafael García Herreros’, a priest who founded the religious institution Minuto de Dios Corporation, which acted successfully in the registration of the father’s name. SIC refers to cases where the registration of a name has helped to opposed to applications such as the cases of 'Parque Juan Pablo II' and 'Velas y Velones Juan Pablo II'. The signs were denied registraiton under Art 136 of Decision 486.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Webinar "IPRs for EU SMEs in Mexico"


-->
Our friends of Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk have organized a very interesting webinar regarding Intellectual Property Rights for EU SMEs in Mexico.


The webinar aims to give an overview about the current situation as regards Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation as well as to provide practical information about the registration and enforcement of the main IPRs in Mexico.


Attendees will have the chance to see the importance and main features of each Intellectual Property Right when operating in Mexico.


The webinar will be held on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, at 15.00 hours (Brussels time) in English.


This free-of-charge event is business-oriented and is conducted by top professionals that know exactly what an SME needs to know to improve its business strategy regarding IP registration and enforcement in the Latin America region.


More information and registration here.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Criptomonedas: EE.UU., Corea del Sur, Canadá y China regulan las ICOs (Initial Coin Offering)

El fenómeno de las criptomonedas -basadas en la tecnología subyacente de la blockchain o "cadena de bloques"- está en una etapa crítica porque los Estados han comenzado a aplicar medidas tendientes a su regulación, más o menos restrictivas según el mercado respectivo.

Desde la aparición de esta clase de instrumentos digitales basados en la encriptación (cuya naturaleza jurídica es una definición en desarrollo) han surgido métodos de levantamiento de capital vinculados a sus propiedades tecnológicas. Uno de esos métodos, que combina el crowdfunding con las criptomonedas, son las llamadas ICOs (Initial Coin Offering: Oferta inicial de moneda) o Token Sales (venta de tokens) consistentes en la emisión de una criptomoneda o criptodivisa, ligada a un proyecto determinado, mediante el uso de la "cadena de bloques" como medio de control de las transacciones.

Este modelo es similar a la emisión de acciones (IPO), aunque, en vez de acciones, el inversor recibe "tokens" o "monedas virtuales" que simbolizan digitalmente una cuota de interés en el dominio del proyecto. Este token, en la práctica, es un certificado encriptado de acciones virtuales de la compañía emisora que, en el futuro, pueden tener valor real apreciado (o depreciado) según el destino del proyecto. Este modelo ha logrado recaudar 1.333 millones de euros en el último año y está generando un mercado muy dinámico que llamó la atención de las instituciones financieras tradicionales y de los entes regulatorios estatales.

En Estados Unidos, a fines del mes de Julio recién pasado, la Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), organismo encargado de fiscalizar los mercados financieros de Estados Unidos, calificó a las criptomonedas como securities (activos financieros) e informó que las nuevas emisiones deberán estar sujetas a las regulaciones vigentes, las cuales serían similares a las que se exigen para cualquier salida a bolsa.

En Asia, la Comisión para la Regulación de los Mercados de Servicios Financieros de Corea del Sur (FSC) informó la intención de regular este mercado y China, por su parte, anunció su prohibición por ilegales, y ordenó la devolución de los fondos recaudados por este mecanismo.

Para prohibir esta forma de financiamiento el Banco Popular Chino (Banco Central) se ha hecho cargo de la naturaleza de los títulos de propiedad (token) emitidos en actividades de financiación, de la financiación ilegal en la libre emisión de bonos sin regulación, el fortalecimiento de plataformas de financiación y gestión de negociación de monedas virtuales, de las instituciones financieras no bancarias y las entidades de pago inhibidas de ejercer operaciones ICO, del riesgo para el público y el fortalecimiento de las instituciones de autorregulación del sector.

El efecto en el mercado de estas medidas regulatorias restrictivas fue la caída en el precio de las criptomonedas (como Bitcoin y Ethereum) y el cierre, al menos en China de más de cuarenta plataformas ICO.

No obstante, no todo son noticias regulatorias restrictivas. En Canadá, la Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) del Quebec está analizando con buenos ojos todo el potencial de estos instrumentos basados en la tecnología blockchain con el fin de darle un encuadre inclusivo dentro del sistema de financiamiento de empresa, con protección a los inversores, aunque con mayor flexibilidad y menos exigencias que para el mercado tradicional fintech. Es el mismo camino que ha tomado la Canadian Securities Administration (CSA). 

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

SPORTFLIX, the Netflix of Sports, is suspended for an alleged violation of IPRs

In the same way that Netflix changed the way of watching tv and films, Sportflix, a Mexican company with international partners, was intended to be a platform to provide sports events. Its launch was announced on 30th August last. However, it was suspended on the 29th by the Mexican Industrial Property Institute (IMPI).

On its website, the IMPI explains that following a complaint submitted through its piracy mailbox, the portal Sportflix.net was revised. After that, evidence of a possible violation of the Federal Copyright Law and the Mexican Industrial Property Law was found. This, because the content of the web apparently infringes some of the IPRs of the companies with the broadcasting rights to transmit the sports events found in the Sportflix web site, such as Televisa, TV Azteca, Fox Sports, ESPN, and Univisión.

As a consequence, a provisional measure consisting in suspending the launching of Sportflix was imposed, and a verification visit was communicated. Nonetheless, the verification visit scheduled for August 29th could not be completed because the company´s staff opposed to it.

During an interview with the newspaper El Financiero, Carlos Martínez, the president of Fox Networks Group Latin America, expressed that Fox Sports and other sports content suppliers are waiting for the results of the investigation under development before issuing a complaint about the infraction of their IPRs.
For now, organisations such as the F1, the Fórmula E, the Mexican Football League, and the Champions League confirmed that they have no agreement with Sportflix for the broadcasting rights of the sports contents found on its portal. For its part, Sportflix announces on its web site that ‘before to provide a service in exchange for a subscription, the platform must go through the needed processes, so as to give sports streaming of the best quality.’ It is also affirmed that ‘the pre-register continues to be open’ after which a coupon will be received via email for a free day of access to the platform and the right to be ‘the first to know the date in which the service will be enabled.’


As it can be observed, in this case, the interests of the ‘traditional’ and the ‘new’ way to communicate tv shows, films and sports events to the public are combined. For this reason, it is relevant to know how this will end.

Post written by Florelia Vallejo Trujillo