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IP Experts in Ecuador Conclude: Intellectual Property Rights Foster Competition in Latin America

The Latin American Association of Intellectual Property (ASIPI) promoted on September 8 and 9 in the city of Quito (Ecuador) a Roundtable on Competition Law. The objective of this meeting was to discuss the establishment of an effective legal framework to tackle anticompetitive practices based on the economic and political peculiarities of the region, and the intersection between IP rights and competition.

Three Legal Experts from different countries were invited for this event. Mr Carlos Alberto Arroyo del Río of the Ecuatorian law firm Estudio Falconi Puig Abogados and the Peruvian attorney Mr Carlos Alberto Arroyo del Río of the firm Luiz Echecopar spoke about the existing antitrust structure in their countries. The Brazilian IP attorney Mr José Carlos Vaz e Dias of the firm Di Blasi, Parente, Vaz e Dias Advogados & Associados brought two cases being handled at the Antitrust Division that were related to IP rights.

Besides addressing the existing structure and the functionality of the competition law system in the aforementioned countries, the speakers dealt with one of the most controversial and sacred subjects in Latin America: the impact of intellectual property rights on competition.

The main question to be answered in this regard was the following: Does Intellectual Property foster competition in the Latin American countries?

The unanimous answer was positive, as IP rights are effective instruments to bring new companies into the market, especially that created by innovative products. Moreover, it induces local companies to participate in high technology fields, such as biotechnology and IT products. It was argued that, in Brazil, the protection of industrial design provides an opportunity for local companies to participate in the competitive, restricted and global market of “haute couture” (shoes, clothes and bags) and in the supply of spare parts to the automobile companies.

Further to that, Latin countries have been erasing the concept of adopting a set of clauses regarded as a violation per se of competition. Instead, the examination of the effects on competition of specific clauses in technology transfer agreements is now required.

The common position of the experts reflect the general understanding of Latin Americans and may be considered as a radical and positive change towards the governments’ attitude in the 80’s, as several limitations were raised to the IP laws as an attempt to reduce the impact of IP on their industrialization policy.


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