Thursday, 21 April 2016

Chile: Plataforma INAPI Conecta

En el auditórium de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Chile, se realizó el viernes 15 de abril, la presentación del nuevo sitio del Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial, INAPI CONECTA, un punto de encuentro de nuevas tecnologías protegidas a través de la propiedad industrial.

INAPI Conecta tiene como principal objetivo servir como un espacio de encuentro, en el cual creadores e instituciones nacionales puedan dar a conocer innovaciones que cuentan con derechos de propiedad industrial a potenciales usuarios e interesados en explotarlas comercialmente. Este es un espacio público y gratuito que busca fomentar y acelerar la transferencia tecnológica y la comercialización de nuevas tecnologías.

Es así como los titulares de derechos de propiedad industrial pueden publicar sus patentes de invención, modelos de utilidad, diseños y dibujos industriales, en www.inapiconecta.cl. Además, los titulares pueden editar y modificar sus publicaciones para hacerlas más atractiva al público y de esa forma capturar mayor interés de un potencial interesado en explotarla comercialmente. 

INAPI Conecta pone a disposición de la comunidad nacional cientos de innovaciones con la disposición de aplicar nuevas tecnología en sus procesos industriales, comerciales o de investigación. Para facilitar este intercambio de información, INAPI Conecta posee guías y manuales para apoyar y fomentar la transferencia tecnológica.Existe disponible información de 48 tecnologías nacionales que pertenecen a las áreas de Biotecnología, Electrónica, Farmacéutica, Mecánica y Química, las cuales pertenecen a las Universidades de Concepción, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad de Chile, Universidad de La Frontera, Universidad de Santiago, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso y la Corporación de Inventores de Chile.

Fuente: Constanza Zülch B. (Comunicaciones INAPI)



Tuesday, 19 April 2016

INDECOPI joins TMclass

As of 18 April 2016, the Peruvian National Institute for the Defense of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) joins TMclass. Peru is the third Latin-American country included in the tool following Brazil and Mexico.

The addition of Peru brings the total number of national and regional IP Offices, including OAPI, WIPO and EUIPO, in the tool to 59.

TMclass now offers users the opportunity to search and translate terms to and from any of the 40 available languages.

This successful integration is the result of joint effort and cooperation within the framework of the International Cooperation Programme managed by EUIPO in collaboration with its international partners.

Source EUIPO.

UPDATE: As of 25 April 2016, the Colombia Superintendence of Industry and Comerce (SIC) has also joined TMclass. (EUIPO).

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Cocoa: more than a hot drink

The IPtango is always covering the matter of Geographical Indications (GI) and debates have been opened due to some queries: does it help the producers? Is it just economic exploitation? Does it deteriorate the product? One way or another, it is always good to know what is going on with a particular product.

The Peruvian Institute of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) has been providing activities to its citizens, be it training or awareness on IP (in general). And this cannot be a bad thing. This month for example I read about one of this activities which took place in the region of Amazons. INDECOPI’s Directorate of Distinctive Signs gave training to the Technical Committee of Cocoa, and to the Regional Government of Amazonas, on the various tools offered by IP for the protection of natural resources especially GI protection. Previously, the Technical Committee of Cocoa has showed interest of obtaining a GI for cocoa and thus, the INDECOPI’s office took this opportunity to provide them  with  some ideas on this regards.

Image result for cacao peru amazon tesco
 I can find this in my local supermarket,
but it is not from the Peruvian Amazon...or, is it?
INDECOPI reports that the training focused “on the benefits of having a designation of origin for cocoa.” It explained that a GI “allows a product to be differentiated from other similar offered in the market, because it has features that make it unique and attract consumer preference.” It also noted the “development phases for recognition of a designation of origin and the importance of promoting relations between people, territories and products for sustainable rural development.”

The training was not just focused on GI but also covered other IP tools such as collective marks, and trade marks. It highlighted IP as a good tool to be used by entrepreneurs and associations to protect their products and services. Apart from covering aspect of fair competition, INDECOPI also acknowledged how these tools can be used for the development of their region.

Aside from the point of IP I wonder: is it a good move to be looking at the exploitation of cacao  this time? Last year we heard the news that some companies were illegally deforesting the area (approx 7,000 hectares) and other companies were acquiring rural properties. Or, would this be actually the right moment for small enterprises to unify themselves and regulated what is to be regarded as proper cocoa from the Amazon region? some indication as the way it needs to be cultivated and to link it to natural factors but also to human ones as well...that would be a thought.

Source INDECOPI.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Check your rubber duck: is it original?

It is usual to open Latin American newspapers and read about protests. But what caught my eyes this time was to see a case of plagiarism in the middle of an actual ‘protest’.

Image result for dutch artist florentijn hofman rubber duckBrazil is in the middle of a mayhem for many reasons (zika, will Brazil be ready for the Olympics, and politicians involved in cases of corruption, to name some). This time the protest was related to the accusation of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff. The protesters are using as a mascot a rubber duck. But this is not any rubber duck. This is said to be a ‘copy’ of the famous rubber duck made by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. Mr Hofman’s rubber duck has traveled the world since 2007. He has been spotted in countries such as Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand and even visited Brazil.

What is the copy, if any?
According to the news published by BBC, the case is about copyright infringement and an exactly copy of Mr Hofman’s design. Is it?

Here comes the fishy bit: the ‘original’ duck appeared as part of an exhibition in Brazil, and this version of Mr Hofman's duck was produced in a Sao Paulo factory. This same factory produced the new claimed copied duck. However, the owner of the factory, Mr Sousa, affirmed that they have produced both ducks: Mr Hofman’s version as required at the time for the exhibition, and the new duck, but assured that the design was not copied. He noted that he will “not put [his] reputation at risk" and he has “experience in this kind of jobs and this is a very simple design. Why wouldn't we spend four hours redesigning it?"

IPRs in Brazil:
Industrial Design is protected under Brazilian Law. As in many jurisdictions, one of the requirement is novelty and thus, will take into account all previous designs (state of the art) that have been made public in any place of the world and by any means before the filing date (priority date). As acknowledged by Mr Santos, the duck's design is common and thus, it would not have been protected under design.

Copyright also is available in Brazil which is a member of the Berne Convention and thus, not requirement of any formal registration obligation. Works are protected automatically from the moment of its creation. However, it is advisable to register the work as in many other Latin American jurisdictions do advise.

In this particular case the duck does not appear to be registered but it does not mean that it cannot be copyright protected - the technical drawings may be protected. While there is a main difference between the two ducks (the original has normal eyes and the claimed copied duck has crossed eyes) it does not matter for there to be an infringement since the test is about quality not quantity. So, ignoring the eyes, is the said copied work reproducing the whole or a substantial part of the protected work?

Image result for dutch artist florentijn hofman rubber duck
A case of spot the difference?
Section 29 of Brazilian Law No. 9610/98 sets a list of actions which constitute copyright infringement and relevant to this duck we could mention: complete or partial reproduction of the works or, plagiarism. The causal link is indeed of no problem since Mr Sosa had direct access to the technical drawings - he prepared Mr Hofman’s version. On the other side of the coin, defences are also available to this ‘copy’ duck such as the drawings has no originality and thus, not protected and/or the copy duck is sufficiently different from the copyrighted work.

Image result for face duck
Talking about duck...well said Mr.
The question then is based on: does the duck’s technical drawings constitute ‘artistic work’ worth of protection? Copyright does not require for the work to be unique or inventive, the Brazil requirement is that actually the work needs to be fixed and that it has to be a creation of the mind. Can we said that this drawing contains creativeness?

In the meantime, ducks are still used in protests against the government.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Brazil: IPRs applications and a word in TT contracts

Some statistics are available from the Brazilian (INPI) indicating and releasing some numbers in regards to its services in February 2016.

The following applications are noted: 2,372 patent deposited; 11,626 trade marks; 498 industrial designs; 91 computer programs; and 81 applications for registration of contracts technology (technology transfer). INPI observes that patent applications were unchanged as compared to those in January. In the case of trade marks and computer programs applications there was an increase if compared with same time in 2015. There was however a decline in applications for industrial designs and TT contracts.

Image result for brazilA discussion on TT contract
In Brazil TT contracts (incl. technical services and technical assistance) and similar contracts must be registered with INPI to have effect on 3rd parties. But note that INPI neither annotates agreements nor issues certificate of registration for the license of non-patented proprietary technological knowledge.

Also note that INPI assessment and approval of TT and IP licensing agreement is mandatory for the purposes of a) authorizing remittance of royalties to foreign licensor, grantor of IPRs recognized in Brazil; b) trigger tax deductibility by the Brazilian party of amounts paid in connection with IP license, acquisition; and c) entitle the Brazilian party to enforce licensed, granted IP rights.

After INPI’s registration, agreements must be registered with the Central Bank of Brazil (Law No. 4,131/1962 regulates foreign capital in Brazil).

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Measuring the Strength of IP Protection: we need your help

Reading an update on linkedin one notices that “The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, on behalf of the EU Commission (DG Trade), is launching a second survey of EU entities with an interest in the protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in third countries.”

By collecting info from interested parties a “reality of IPR protection and enforcement in various third countries” can be built. The info will then be used to “provide assistance in preparation for negotiation and discussion with these countries.”

If you have an interest and/or knowledge on a non-EU country jurisdiction (it is you Latin and Caribbean (LAC) countries) do please complete the on-line survey (one per country). The survey started to run last Monday and will be available until the 31 May 2016 (accessible here).

Let’s digest this
In a recent presentation that I did at ELAN, Brussels 8th March, after explaining the topic of technology transfer and IPRS and looking the process in 5 selected Latin American jurisdiction, one question remains: will an invention/creation be protected as a matter of fact?

It is indeed a valid question. Legislation in LAC fulfil international standards: adapting national legislation in accordance with TRIPS (WTO) and many other international agreements administered by WIPO. Moreover, many countries have harmonized the law among their own trade bloc (e.g. CAN Decision 486) and others have stricter rules after signing a bilateral agreement. Yet, this does not give you the whole picture: legislation alone cannot measure the strength of IP protection. For this reason, WIPO recently commissioned distinguished international economists to do a study on the economics of IP. They acknowledged that this was a problematic matter since most of the studies in this area are “based on laws as written rather than enforced.”

Then it is suggested to observe the World Bank data which provides a variety of measures for a country. In the presentation, and using this point, I proceeded to build a chart for the 5 countries that I was studying , namely Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. I added to these countries the host country of the date, that is Belgium, so that the audience could compare and contrast the statistics and data. The chart reflected the very poor state of the countries’ regimes (exception been Chile which was very similar to that of Belgium). The indicators that I selected were: Control of Corruption; Government Effectiveness; Regulatory Quality; and Rule of Law. The aggregate indicators were ‘estimates’ giving the selected country's score in units of a standard normal distribution, ranging from -2.5 to 2.5. The latest data came from 2014 and I looked at 3 years (from 2012-2014) to see and establish a pattern.





Hopefully, the numbers do speak for themselves. And because of this, we encourage you to participate in the survey.

Why? The reason for you to participate in the survey
The EU Commission aims to tackle the issues noted in the survey and plans to take action by:
“…
• Ensure that IPR chapters in bilateral trade agreements offer adequate and efficient protection for right-holders and address key weaknesses in partner countries' IPR systems while calibrating commitments to third countries’ level of development;
• Ensure the Commission can make recourse to dispute settlement mechanisms or other remedies where the EU's rights under international agreements are infringed;
• Continue and where possible enhance ‘IP Dialogues’ with key third countries; leverage high-level trade and political dialogues to ensure progress on identified IPR issues;
• Provide and promote awareness of appropriate IP-related technical assistance programmes to third countries, including on the possible use of IP flexibilities; leverage the expertise of relevant international organisations in implementing technical assistance programmes;”

Among others [actions points are found at page 19 on this report here).

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Technology Transfer: linking the academy with the industry

The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) notes in its webpage the importance of the relationship between academia and the industry for the opportunity to market the research conducted in the country. Promoting this occurrence then, during the 1st March until the 10th March took place the 3rd edition of Academy training Transfer and Commercialization of Technology for the Americas aiming “to develop human resources for high-performance transfer activities and commercialization of technologies, especially in the areas of intellectual property, technology assessment, business plan, business models of technology, commercialization of technologies, among other topics.”

The event was seen as a great opportunity to exchange information among the participants. IMPI’s Director General observed that approx. 52% of Mexican patent applications are made by research centers and universities, acknowledging the importance of strengthening the links among the administrative offices granting patents and the industry as well as understanding the needs of the industry. The Director also noted that in Mexico, “innovation policies are associated as instruments of public policy and play a key role in promoting Mexican creativity,” and thus, noting the relevance of the IP system.

Image result for wipo pphMexico is a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) known as international patent. There are more than 20 Latin American countries that are members of the PCT allowing members to pursue patent protection for an invention simultaneously in a number of countries by filing a single international patent application, However, note that the granting of patents remains under the control of the national IPO (called the ‘national phase’). IMPI is the only Latin America office which has signed an agreement with the European Patent Office taking advantage of a fast-track examination procedures in the national phase i.e. Patent Prosecution Highway. As of May 25, 2010, the USPTO has eliminated the fee for the petition to make special under the PPH programs. Also there is a PPH pilot program between the USPTO and the IMPI that commenced on July 1, 2015, and will run for a period of one year ending on June 30, 2016 (more info here).

Monday, 14 March 2016

University of Buckingham: Publication of the week

Patricia Covarrubia, “Protection of non-agricultural GIs: a window on what is happening in Latin America”, European Intellectual Property Review, E.I.P.R. 2016, 38(3), 129-131.
This piece examines “the laws in South American states on the protection of geographical indications (GIs) relating to non-agricultural products, including textiles and craft works. Presents data on the number of such GIs that are registered proportional to the agricultural product GIs. Considers why these states extend GI protection to non-agricultural products. Notes that a proposal to do likewise is under consideration in the EU.”
Dr Covarrubia compares different national legislations in Latin American countries as well as observing the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights 1994 (TRIPS, WTO) and the Lisbon Agreement for the protection of appellation of origin and their international registration (WIPO).

Image result for geographical indications latin america iptangoThe publication is based on a paper presented in September 2015 at the Symposium on Geographical Indications (GIs), sponsored by Grana Padano and CIIPM. The symposium covered the policy aspects as well as the practical implications, challenges, and opportunities that GI involves. Nick Coppola who is currently writing his PhD on "The EU Agricultural Quality Policy Reform" was the one that organized such a wonderful event (a nutshell of the event can be read here). Nick has also wrote a couple of post for this blog in the topic of GIs. Indeed, we can not wait to read his thesis which surely will become a monologue published by a reputable editorial in the UK (hopefully I will read it before it becomes expensive).

For more information on GI in Latin America, specifically in the trade bloc Mercosur, there is a webinar provided by the Latin America IPR SMEs here.