Thursday, 27 November 2008

Get more involved, Gurry tells LA

A news item in Managing Intellectual Property Week informs IP Tango that WIPO Director General Francis Gurry has urged Latin American countries to participate more actively in the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). This call was made by video-link during the recent ASIPI 14th Work Session and Administrative Council Meeting during an all-day colloquium on the PCT.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

TLC China-Perú entrará en vigor en 2009 / China Peru FTA to enter into force in 2009

Gracias al IP-Dragon, un interesante blog sobre propiedad intelectual en China, en IP Tango hemos sabido que, en la cumbre de la APEC celebrada en Lima la semana pasada, los representantes de la delegación china y el gobierno peruano han acordado celebrar un acuerdo de libre comercio. Dicho acuerdo, entre otros aspectos, incluirá disposiciones en materia de propiedad intelectual y aduanas y se tiene previsto que entre en vigor en 2009. La noticia suministrada en el IP-Dragon incluye también un enlace a un interesante Informe sobre la viabilidad de este acuerdo donde se tratan cuestiones de propiedad intelectual (pp 137 - 141).

Costa Rica approves CAFTA

Via Conservation Commons comes "Indigenous knowledge safe — for now" by María Flórez-Estrada, Yorleny Gamboa. This piece explains that Costa Rica has approved the last of 13 laws to implement the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Central America and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA), concluding just over a year of intense debate and two postponements. On IP the text reads:
"The final law —- and one of the most hotly debated —- originally included an article that would have risked intellectual property rights for Costa Rica’s indigenous population. But a last-minute omission of the article allowed for the law to pass.

That first version of the proposal, dubbed “the sweeping bill” for the number of issues it grouped, called for allowing private companies to limitless patents of animal and vegetable species, a clear threat to ancient knowledge, specifically of medicinal plants".
This proposal was reportedly rejected by the Supreme Court's Constitutional Chamber for failure to consult the country´s indigenous peoples.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Adhesión de El Salvador del TLT

El pasado 14 de noviembre entró en vigencia en El Salvador el Tratado sobre el Derecho de Marcas de 1994 (TLT por sus siglas en inglés) y su Reglamento. Con El Salvador son 42 estados los contratantes de este Tratado el cual es administrado por la OMPI. Por lo anterior, los únicos países centroamericanos que quedan pendientes de ratificar dicho Tratado con ocasión del DR-CAFTA son Guatemala y Nicaragua. Algunos consideran que este tratado es obsoleto porque mucho de su contenido ya se encuentra en el Tratado de Singapur (2006) el cual aún no ha entrado en vigor por ser muy pocos los países que forman parte de este. En todo caso y mientras El Salvador y el resto de países de la región centroamericana formen parte de este último tratado, el TLT tiene algunas ventajas como la aplicación del sistema multi-clase (el cual ya es posible en Nicaragua) y su posterior división por causas como una posible oposición; la no obligación de legalizar los poderes otorgados en el extranjero hasta los respectivos consulados aunque en este caso tanto El Salvador como Honduras ya son parte de la Convención de la Apostilla. El TLT no se aplicará a los hologramas ni a las marcas que no consistan en signos visibles (marcas sonoras y olfativas) ni a las marcas colectivas yde certificación y garantía.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Búsqueda on-line en Guatemala

Desde hace unas semanas es posible efectuar búsquedas on-line en la página web del Registro de la Propiedad Intelectual de Guatemala (www.rpi.gob.gt) en el sistema electrónico de consultas. Como primer paso debe incribirse por medio de un usuario (dirección de correo) y una contraseña. Posteriormente podrá efectuar búsqueda de patentes y marcas registradas y en trámite. También podrá verificar trámites de Derecho de Autor y alguna jurisprudencia. El sistema aunque es muy fácil de utilizar aún no es del todo confiable ya que en algunos casos la información no se encuentra del todo actualizada con lo cual esta herramienta debe usarse prudentemente y en todo caso confirmar los datos posteriormente por medio de una búsqueda ante el Registro.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Costa Rica decriminalises IP offences

This August Costa Rica amended its Law of Enforcement Proceedings of Intellectual Property Rights (Law No. 8039), apparently decriminalising proceedings for infringement of trade secrets, patents, industrial drawings and utility models. The justifications for doing so were based on issues relating to local constitutional law, but the amendment has drawn criticism from the IP community.



Source: INTA Bulletin Vol. 63, information supplied to INTA by María del Pilar López, Zürcher Law, San José.

Monday, 17 November 2008

CHEROKEE rolls out in Peru

According to Trading Markets, licensor and global brand management company Cherokee Inc has announced the launch of its Cherokee brand in Peru, distributing its products through the local branches of Falabella's Tottus Stores. A spokesman for Cherokee Brand Development explains that this is part of its "world brand" strategy. Cherokee next plans to take its brands in Spain with Grupo Eroski and to the Middle East with Geant, a division of Al Hokair, within the coming year.

Brands owned or managed by Cherokee can be found here.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Fiocruz in technical collaboration deal to enable production of Mozambique ARVs

In "Brazil, EU Collaborate On Local Production Of AIDS Drugs In Mozambique", published on Monday in the excellent IP Watch, Claudia Jurberg describes an unusual and potentially invaluable exercise in life-saving tech transfer exercise between two Portuguese-speaking nations, Brazil and Mozambique. This article features Brazilian support for the establishment of a pharmaceutical plant in Maputo that will produce HIV/AIDS drugs such as antiretrovirals (ARVs). Claudia reports:
"The project has been developing in Mozambique since July 2005 under a partnership between the Mozambique Health Ministry and Farmanguinhos, the unit of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Portuguese abbreviation Fiocruz) that produces medicines.

Fiocruz is one of the biggest public health institutions in Latin America and is dedicated - in addition to the production of drugs - to vaccines and kits to diagnose diseases. It also is responsible for the training of human resources for the public health system.

... [T]he plant in Africa will be inaugurated in the first semester of 2009 and is expected to begin production in the same year. The plant will produce ARVs and drugs against malaria and other diseases. The factory location is being adapted for the necessary equipment. The project is not expected to result in medicines being shipped to Brazil, but rather is intended to represent a commitment to helping Africa.

The investment is aimed at advancing science and technology in Mozambique, lessening economic dependence and, specifically in this case, dependence on the development of ARVs. Currently, they are purchased from other countries at higher costs".

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

SOUTH AMERICAN COOPERATION PLAN ON IP RIGHTS


On last October 8, a fund proposal regarding the cooperation of eight South American Patent and Trademark Offices on IP matters was presented to the Inter-American Development Bank (hereinafter only IDB) for approval. The objective of the proposal is to obtain financing for the technical integration of Patent and Trademark Offices from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Surinam and Uruguay.


The answer of the IDB (created to promote and finance the economical and social developments of Latin American countries) is expected to be issued on March 2009 and its approval may represent the first step to the creation of a regional integration system regarding a single and common IP database platform in a nearby future.

This proposal has been regarded as a good example of possible technical regional integration and strengthening of IP rights in the South American countries. Further to that, the Proposal is an effective mechanism to secure the sharing of database information and current different IP pracrtices regarding the prosecution of patents and trademarks.

The expected practical consequences of the proposal by IDB are the reduction of the current time frame for IP registration procedure and the quality improvement of the services due to the share of information and proceedings.

Venezuela’s 1955 Law is Revived

Richard N. Brown (De Sola Pate & Brown Abogados, Caracas) has sent IP Tango this article. It makes depressing reading for the world's intellectual property fraternity.

"Venezuela has revived the 1955 Venezuelan Industrial Property Law. Venezuela was a member of the Andean Pact Community until April 22, 2006. On that date Venezuela left the Andean Pact Community. Because Venezuela’s Trademark and Patent Law was contained in the provisions of the Andean Community Decision 486, the withdrawal from the Andean Community left Venezuelan IP law in question. Decision 486 was the Andean Communities common Patent and Trade Mark Law used by Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. The Venezuelan Registrar of Intellectual Property continued to apply the provisions of Decision 486 after April 22, 2006 for all patent and trade mark matters in the absence of any order from the legislative or judicial branches of Venezuela’s Government.

However Venezuela’s Registrar of Patents and Trademarks published on September 12, 2008 a notice that as of September 17, 2008 the Venezuelan Patent and Trade Mark Office will no longer apply the provisions of Decision 486 but will begin to reapply the provisions of Venezuela’s 1955 Intellectual Property law. The 1955 Law was never repealed but had been pre-empted in most aspects by the Decisions 313 and 486 of the Andean Community.

Venezuela’s Copyright Law of August 14, 1992 was adopted by the Andean Community as Decision 351. Venezuela’s Registrar of Copyrights has been applying the provisions of Venezuela’s 1993 Copyright Law since April 22, 2006. The change in the Copyright Law presented no difficulties as the Laws of the Andean Community and Venezuela were identical. However the change back to the 1955 IP Law is very troublesome. Among the problems created by the move back to 1955 are the following:

* The status of the Registrar's actions based on Decision 486 after April 22, 2006 is potentially open to attack
* The International classification is replaced by a sui generis 50 class system.
* Protection is limited to the class in which the mark is registered
* Service marks are not specifically protected
* No injunctions are provided for in the 1955 law
* No consents are possible
* The registration term is 15 years instead of 10 years.
* There is no grace period for renewals
* Pirate registrations become incontestable
* Pharmaceutical patents are forbidden but, since no patents have been granted in the past three years, patent protection is very limited in any event
* Only chemical processes can be patented.
* Patents of introduction are back. In the past pirates patented public domain items like bottle caps to extort licences for patents on public domain technology.

It must be pointed out that from April 22, 2006 to September 17, 2008 all the decisions and actions of the Venezuelan IP Registry were based on Decision 486. It is not clear what the effect is of the actions taken during the 21 months between April 22, 2006 to September 17, 2008 when the Registry applied Decision 486 which they now say is inapplicable.

A problem is what is the status of registrations granted between April 22, 2006 and September 17, 2008. There seems to the possibility of problems with registrations granted under terms of a law which Venezuela’s Registrar now says is inapplicable. Owners of Venezuelan registrations granted after April 22, 2006 need to consider their situation. Venezuelan Law provides that the Acts of the Government are to be held as valid. Venezuela is a member of TRIPs and the Paris Convention. Venezuela’s college of IP agents is challenging the Registers reimplementation of the 1955 law in Court. However trademark owners are in the position of persons vaccinated in April 2006 who are now informed the vaccine may or may not have been effective. The chance of successful challenge to a trade mark granted after April 22, 2006 appear to be less than ten percent because Venezuela Law provides the government acts are to be recognized. However the possibility of nuisance suits exists and, since litigation in Venezuela is very slow, problems could arise.

As an example of the problems, the 1955 law does not provide for service marks. Venezuela granted service marks from 1992 to 2008. The 1955 Act which is now in force does not provide for service marks. The Registrar has stated that service marks will be accepted in class 50 MC. How this will work is uncertain.

Great uncertainty has resulted from the Registrar's decision. In a seminar held on April 24, 2008 by the Venezuelan IP Registry the Director General of the IP Department, the economist Jumersi La Rosa said that since 2002 the Registry no longer celebrates the International Intellectual Property day because “it would celebrate the subjugation of public and salaried workers to the continued expropriation throughout history of the collected scientific techniques and intellectual wealth of human kind impending that this treasure be used to satisfy the needs of people and protection of the environment”.

Churchill, Perez Jimenez, Franco, Nehru, Krushchev and Peron were in power in 1955 Cars sprouted tail fins, Nicolas Sarkozy was born. Queen Elizabeth II was Queen –she and the 1955 Act are survivors and Venezuelan gasoline is still 12 cents (U.S) a gallon. Apart from that the world has moved on. We suggest contacting your Venezuelan associates. The new (old) classification follows:

“Article 106: The following classification for the registration of trade marks is established:

1. Raw materials or partially processed materials
2. Receptacles
3. Leather and prepared hides and other manufactured leather articles that are not clothing
4. Substances for polishing and cleaning, detergents, common soaps, candles, matches, bluing and other washing products.
5. Apparatus for use in architecture and construction
6. Chemical substances, pharmaceutical preparations, perfumery
7. Cording, sacks and analogous articles
8. Aviation apparatuses
9. Explosives, fire arms, projectiles and military harnesses
10. Fertilizers and manures
11. Dyestuffs
12. Asphalt, materials to ornament and decorate buildings, tiles
13. Hardware and iron tubes
14. Forged and cast metal, wire
15. Oils and greases that are non-edible
16. Paint and materials for painters except oils and polishes
17. Tobacco products
18. Machines and their accessories for agriculture and milk products
19. Vehicles, except locomotives
20. Linoleum, oil cloths, and similar products
21. Electric apparatuses machine and accessories
22. Toys, sporting goods and games
23. Cutlery non electrical machines and accessories, tools
24. Optical goods, photographic apparatus and accessories
25. Locks and safes
26. Scientific and measuring machines and apparatuses
27. Machines and instruments to measure time
28. Jewelry, jewels and manufactured precious metals
29. Brushes, brooms, feather dusters
30. Articles of clay, china and porcelain
31. Filters and cooling apparatuses
32. Furniture and carpets
33. Articles of glass or crystal
34. Non electric apparatuses for heating ventilation and lighting
35. Rubber goods, non metallic tires, hoses, belts and material for packing and stopping
36. Musical Instruments and their accessories
37. Paper (Except wallpaper), office supplies and blank books
38. Books and publications of all types
39. Articles of clothing, hats and footwear
40. Buttons notions, advertising material which is not a publication
41. Canes, umbrellas and parasols
42. Piece goods, cloth, embroidery braiding
43. Threads
44. Medical and dental equipment and instruments
45. Mineral and gasified waters, natural and artificial
46. Foods and their ingredients
47. Wine, except medicinal wines
48. Malt beverages, and beer
49. Alcoholic beverages
50. MC Miscellaneous
50. DC Commercial names"

Monday, 10 November 2008

WHO presses for tougher control on tobacco trade

Writing in IPS News ("Progress Towards WHO Pact on Tobacco Smuggling"), Gustavo Capdevila outlines the draft protocol to eliminate all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products, such as contraband, illegal manufacturing and counterfeit cigarettes, which is being pressed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The second meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body in charge of drafting the protocol debated the possibility of creating a group of experts to review certain initiatives, including the feasibility of an international system for monitoring and tracking tobacco products.

The meeting heard how, in Latin America, tobacco products originating in, or in transit through, countries like Paraguay or Panama are sent on circular journeys and return to the same countries, where they are sold at lower prices. In Chile however, international and intersectoral cooperation has contributed to reducing the share of contraband cigarettes from eight percent to just two percent of total consumption.

Curiously the discussions made no mention of branding, trade marks or intellectual property -- ways in which the private sector has traditionally sought to monitor and track both licit and illicit tobacco-related trade.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

REGISTRO DE NOMBRES DE DOMINIO ".TEL"


Como muchos recordarán, la ICANN, organismo regulador de los nombres de dominio, aprobó el 30 de mayo de 2006 la creación del nuevo dominio “.tel” concediendo su gestión a la empresa Telnic Limited.

A partir del próximo 3 de Diciembre de 2008 se iniciará el registro de estos nombres de dominio. Su registro permitirá a empresas y particulares la organización de toda su información de contacto: dirección postal, número de teléfono y fax, correo electrónico, mensajería instantánea, etc.

La diferencia entre éste dominio “.tel” y el resto de dominios reside en que no será necesaria la contratación de un servicio de hosting para la creación de esta página web ya que el mismo dominio lleva incluida una herramienta para su creación

El registro de este dominio se realizará en las siguietnes etapas:

I. Etapa "Sunrise": Del 3 de Diciembre de 2008 al 2 de Febrero de 2009:
Fase reservada a titulares de marcas solicitadas antes de mayo de 2008

II. Etapa "Libre Premium": Del 3 de Febrero al 23 de Marzo de 2009:
Fase de libre registro en la que el dato más relevante es que el coste es sensiblemente superior al de la fase libre.

III. Etapa "Libre": a partir del 23 de Marzo de 2009:
El dominio será registrado por el primero que lo solicite.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Hilton Latin America brand strategy: sound English

A short while back, IP Tango reported on the expansion of the Hilton Garden Inn franchise into Costa Rica. It now seems that this was not an isolated brand expansion but part of a wider strategy. In "Hilton Gets Aggressive in the Caribbean and South America" by William Ng, the author writes:

"Hilton Hotels plans to quadruple its presence in the Caribbean and Latin America by adding 150 properties over the next five years. The company currently has 51 properties in the region, with 42 more in the development pipeline, but it is looking to ramp up.

... Hilton is banking on success in the region through brand mixture.

The comprehensive plan targets four areas: Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America. In the Caribbean, Hilton said growth will be through slotting "focused-service" brands Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn at commercial centers like San Juan, Trinidad, and Nassau, as well as through implementing luxury properties at high-end mixed-use developments in the Turks and Caicos, Lesser Antilles, and Bahamas. .... 17 properties will be introduced in the region through 2013.

In Mexico, Hilton's existing portfolio count is 19, and it will add 60 more throughout the country, covering large, capital, industrial, and border cities in 31 states. Hampton and Homewood Suites will be in play particularly; 20 now in the pipeline include Homewood hotels in Monterrey, and Hamptons in Guadalajara, Los Cabos, Cancun, and Tulum.

Hilton's strategy in the nascent Central American market, where it has seven hotels, will be to add 23 mostly Hampton and Hilton Garden Inn lodgings. The hotelier wants to forge alliances with local developers on multi-property deals in the region's big locations, namely Liberia, Panama, Leon, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica—where it recently debuted three hotels and resorts. But there also are upper-end market developments: a Conrad in Honduras, a Doubletree in Panama, and an Embassy Suites in Costa Rica.

Brazil, due to its "size and strength," is the linchpin in Hilton's South America eye. The company's regional headquarters is in Sao Paulo, and it will focus on that city, plus Rio de Janeiro and secondary cities such as Brasilia. Hotels in gateways Buenos Aires, Santiago (Chile), Lima (Peru), Bogota (Colombia), and Caracas (Venezuela) are planned. There will be 50 introductions on the continent.Initially, development will be concentrated on Hilton Garden Inns and Doubletrees, in mid-market and conversion opportunities. ...".

Branding and marketing experts may wish to make their own assessments of the Hilton strategy and forecast its likely outcome. One thing is notable, however: Hilton's brands are all English-language and would appear to be addressed to the Anglophone traveller or tourist. In how many sectors other than the hotel sector can successful branding be made to depend on ignoring the local element of the market?