Thursday, 16 June 2016

Partnership: promoting Geographical Indications

A new partnership has been established between the ASIPI, “Asociación Interamericana de Propiedad Intelectual" (Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property) and the Geneva-based NGO OriGIn (“Organization for an International Geographical Indication Network”).

Both associations operate in the IP sector and share common objectives, such as the promotion of IP matters through the organization of seminars and the participation in international fora, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The activities of OriGIn are specifically focused on the promotion of the Geographical Indication (GI) concept worldwide: many Latin American Associations of producers (including Federacion National de Cafeteros de Colombia and Consejo Regulador del Tequila, are already among its members; to this extent, the new partnership strengthens the links between the respective networks.

Due to the issues still revolving around GIs, such as the criteria to determine whether or not a name of a product originating from a particular geographic place has become generic, this is a worthwhile initiative aimed at exchanging information and points of view on the matter.

Post written by Nicola Coppola – CIPPM Bournemouth
More information here.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Colombia – Concede primera marca táctil a la textura de la botella de “OLD PARR”

La Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (SIC), mediante Resolución No. 34.530 de 2016, concedió a la sociedad Diageo Brands B.V.,  una marca táctil, consistente en una textura (superficie) grabada en relieve de apariencia craquelada, cuarteada o resquebrajada, creada a partir de la aglomeración de formas geométricas irregulares que incluyen en su mayoría, pentágonos, romboides y hexágonos, cuyos lados o segmentos de línea miden entre 3 y 6 milímetros de longitud, entre 0,08 y 0,5 milímetros de altura y entre 0,1 y 1 milímetros de grosor, para identificar bebidas alcohólicas excepto cervezas, productos comprendidos en la Clase 33 de la Clasificación Internacional.

Así mismo, los lados/segmentos de línea y las áreas contenidas dentro de dichos segmentos de línea son lisas, el material en el que se use esta textura será vidrio de color ámbar y se podrá usar en distintos tamaños. 

La marca, que corresponde a la botella del scotch whisky Old Parr, se solicitó con las siguientes imágenes:

Evidentemente el registro de esta clase de marcas no es sencillo, de hecho, en este caso concreto la Dirección de Signos Distintivos de la SIC solicitó al Tribunal de Justicia de la Comunidad Andina de Naciones, una Interpretación Prejudicial para que el alto Tribunal se pronunciara respecto de:
  •  ¿Si se puede registrar una textura específica como una marca táctil?;
  • ¿Cómo se cumple el requisito de la distintividad de una marca táctil?;
  • ¿Cómo opera la representación gráfica?, y
  • ¿Si el análisis de distintividad está absolutamente ligado al tipo de producto o servicio que el signo identifica
Considerando la interpretación de las normas dadas por el Tribunal, la SIC consideró que la textura solicitada por Diageo, tal y como fue descrita en la solicitud, se ajusta a los requisitos de distintividad necesarios para ser identificada por los consumidores en el mercado de bebidas alcohólicas.

Más información aquí.

Fuente: SIC

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Exporting is Great

Last week the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) did a road-show around the UK. The campaign was regional focusing on trade and investment for Latin America.

I have the opportunity to make a presentation alongside the UKIPO as part of my role for the Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk and while the room was not packed the feeling was the same: is IP important for my company?

One of the key issues that Rahul Rahhavan (UKIPO) and I emphasised was that IP is territorial. And before that, it was important to point out that the protection of IP is essential for a company; be it a logo, slogan, the packaging, the invention, at the end it is your time and money that have been invested. It was your company that made such a product; your name, logo, colour are the ones that have made the public aware of ‘your’ good/service that differ from the competition. Why then not protect it?

Image result for exporting is greatIn the road-show there were different representatives from Latin American countries. I have the opportunity to speak with the UKIT from Venezuela, Richard Hyde and talk about my beautiful home country: are there any opportunities for investment? As we all know, many Latin American countries are suffering from political issues and economic (in)stabilities and one cannot turn a blind eye on this. So, I rather not disclose Venezuela's state of affairs.

One of my roles was to address the weakness of IP in the region such as the backlog presented in some of the national IPO and the lack of specialised IP courts. But even so, it is good to see that the region has good legislations in place that fulfil international IP standards. Moreover, it is good to know that the majority are members of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (anyone from Argentina that can enlighten us on the country status? It appears that Argentina signed but has not ratified the Treaty as yet). There is also the possibility to include countries for the international trade mark registration system (Madrid system). This part went well since everything cannot be gloomy - otherwise will scare the UK to invest in our continent!

Hopefully after this event that took place in Cambridge, London, Reading and Midlands we will see some investors crossing the pond and interchanging some know-how, technology, and skills.

Thanks UKIPO for extending the invitation to the Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk. We are here to make it easier for SMEs to protect their IPR in our region.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Intellectual Property along does not promote innovation

The Brazilian Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial (INPI)'s vice-president, Mr Mauro Maia, recently acknowledged that many important issues surround intellectual property, but the most important one was to understand and to be conscious of its relevance to the country.

Mr Maia affirmed that IP was used and relevant to the innovation environment nevertheless, it also noted that this legal instrument and system does ‘not promote development’ by itself.
These remarks were part of Mr Maia participation on the seminar ‘20 Years of Law. 9,279 / 96’ taking at the Universidade Cândido Mendes (UCAM) on 13 May, in Rio de Janeiro. This event was attended by other IP experts such as a federal judge; the president of the Brazilian Association of Intellectual Property (ABPI); and the president of the Brazilian Association of Industrial Property Agents (ABAPI); among others.

Different parties brought crucial remarks such as noting the importance of keeping update especially in this era of globalization which is relevant to the mere enforcement of IP rights; the importance of strengthening the national IPO (i.e. INPI).

Image result for innovationIndeed, following these remarks there is obviously the issue that IP legislation along does not promote innovation. IP protects patents, copyrights, and other IP but what promotes creations and inventions and developments is much more than a mere legislation. For instance, R&D is the backbone of a globally knowledge driven economy; incentives to this may come through direct Government support such as grants or tax credits; higher education also has an important role in R&D. In any case, the IP role is to protect the creator of the work from unfair practices and it does so by balancing exclusive rights given to owners with accessibility rights to the society.

There is indeed a (bad) culture in many countries to illegally appropriate IP and use it without paying and/or recognising the right holder. Cases of piracy in DVDs and software, and counterfeit clothing are still pretty common to find on the streets (and even in shopping malls! – mum just came for a visit, of course presents are always expected…a t-shirt which has a CHANEL logo in the front and reads CHANNEL).

Image result for overprotection ipMr Maia’s message is clear: there is the need to make people aware that IP is important. Nevertheless, in some countries this awareness should be at the same time/level as to make people knowledgeable what IP is for. Rather than just instructing the SMEs to use IP protection, consumers (we) need to appreciate IP. At the end we are the ones that buy that invention or creativity – why should consumers pay that extra money? By answering this simple question, the society can engage in a healthy debate of IP protection [or overprotection].

Source here.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Do you remember why IP protection is needed?

A few days ago there was a press release including some facts noted by the “Special 301” Report 2016. This report is the annual review of the global state of IPR protection and enforcement written by the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

In the press release it is noticeable some quotations which reflects the importance of protecting IPRs.
For example:
“This final Special 301 Report of the Obama Administration underlines the great value that unique American creativity and innovation have for millions of families – ranging from small businesses owners to medical researchers to employees of the recording and motion picture industries – as well as the efforts of the executive branch, our bipartisan partners in Congress, and the United States business community to vigilantly monitor abuses of American intellectual property rights anywhere they exist in the world.”[emphasises made] U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.
“Without strong IP laws, our member labels could not do what they do best: discover talented musicians and performers, nurture their sound, and distribute, market, and promote their music across the world.” [emphasises made] Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
“Intellectual property protections enhance job growth both domestically and internationally” [emphasises made] Stanley Pierre-Louis, general counsel of the Entertainment Software Association (ETA).

The rationale for the protection afforded to IPRs has been explained by many scholars, and they are best represented in 4 theories:

  1. Labour Theory (by John Locke) ‘the labour of his body, and the work of his hand, we may say, are property his’.
  2. Personality Theory (by Hegel) -- creation is an extension of its creator’s individuality or person, belonging to that creator as part of his or her self-hood.
  3. Pendleton’s Theory - nobody owns an idea before its appropriation. However, ‘an invention can be seen as a (new) combining of known units of information’ (Catherine Colston).
  4. Utilitarian Theory is a ‘theory of ethics that prescribes the quantitative maximization of good consequences for a population’ (George D. Catalano).

Image result for justification of ipThe first two are based on the creator’s private interest. The others are based on the society well-being.

In any case, the theories highlight the importance of protection and the words heard by various US parties are welcome. It is good to be reminded the rational of IP protection, of course, the debate sometimes focus on overprotection rather than lack of it.

The press release can be read in full here.

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 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.