Tuesday, 31 March 2009

McDonalds' franchise continues to thrive in troubled times

Figures from Bloomberg show that US fast food company McDonald’s Corp has experienced slowing sales growth in Latin America this year, which is set to continue as the recession curbs diners’ appetites for Big Macs and Happy Meals. Buenos Aires-based Arcos Dorados SA (the largest McDonald's franchisee in the world) owns and operates all McDonald’s 1,750 restaurants in 19 countries in Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina. Arcos' chief executive is optimistic that the franchise will still see 5% growth for 2009. Last year, sales in the region increased 26%, bringing in than $3.5 billion. Plans are still progressing towards the opening of around 150 new restaurants this year in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

Arcos reports that sales in Brazil and Mexico have been falling this year, but it is expected that the Mexican market will recover when that of the United States does.

All in all, franchises of internationally-established well known brands, together with their associated know-how, appear a good bet for maintaining business during a recession.   Where consumers have less spending power, they may be less willing to risk the uncertain rather than return to the security of that which is tried and tested.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Widestrike GMO approved in Brazil

Brazil's National Committee for BioSafety (CTNBio) recently approved the commercial use of the transgenic cotton WideStrike in Brazil. This genetically modified organism (GMO), manufactured by Dow AgroSciences Industrial (a Dow Chemical company division), is known for being resistant to several worm pests such as cotton bollworm, tobacco budworm, beet armyworm, fall armyworm, soybean loopers, cabbage loopers and pink bollworm.

CTNBio's technical advisory board concluded that WideStrike was safe for human and animal consumption and may reduce the use of insecticides, thus decreasing the possibility of damage to the environment and human health.

The next application in line for approval by CTNBio’s board seems to be Bollgard II, owned by Monsanto. Bollgard II and WideStrike have both BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) technologies, controlling the attacks of Lepidopterans larvae on vegetative and reproductive parts of the cotton plant.

Source: news item prepared for IP Tango by Jorge Miguel Arruda da Veiga ((Di Blase, Parente, Vaz e Dias).

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Jornada AAAML sobre "Propiedad Intelectual y Nuevas Tecnologías", Barcelona 3 abril 2009


Los amigos de la Asociación de Antiguos Alumnos del Magister Lvcentinvs han organizado una Jornada sobre "Propiedad Intelectual y Nuevas Tecnologías" que tendrá lugar en Barcelona, el viernes 3 de abril de 2009.
Queda poco tiempo, pero sin duda alguna merece la pena asistir en atención a la calidad de los potentes invitados - con excepción del que os hable - y los temas que se van a tratar.
Si asistís, allí nos veremos.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

NIC Mexico sets out its stall for .mx domain

Domain name registry Network Information Centre Mexico (NIC Mexico) has reopened the registration of domain names under '.mx'. This reopening takes place in three phases:
During the pre-registration period the owners of '.com.mx', '.net.mx', '.org.mx', '.edu.mx' and '.gob.mx' domain names validly registered before March 1 2009 will be able to apply for the registration of the corresponding domain name under the '.mx' extension. This period ends on 31 July 2009.

August then marks a one-month quiet period, a sort of siesta during which NIC Mexico will stop accepting applications, enabling applications filed during the pre-registration period to be processed. 

Then comes the initial registration period, during whichany entity can register a domain name directly under '.mx' on a first-come, first-served basis. This period runs from 1 September to 31 October 2009. Registrations will be valid for a period of one year only.
Source: Roberto Arochi, Arochi Marroquín & Lindner SC, Mexico City, writing for World Trademark Review.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Grants for Latin America and Mediterranean Countries

The “Magister Lvcentinvs of the University of Alicante and the Spanish Patent and Trade Mark Office” offer three grants for the 16th Master’s Degree in Industrial and Intellectual Property and Information Society Law. As in previous years, the grants will cover the registration fees for the next academic year (2009-2010). To be eligible for the grant, applicants must:
• Hold a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent qualification) in a subject related to Industrial and Intellectual Property, such as Law, Engineering, Science, or Economics.
• Have applied to study the Master’s course and have provided the minimum documentation required for their candidacy to be assessed.
• Have been admitted or, in the case of pending applications, comply with the academic requirements for admission to the Magister Lvcentinvs programme. In the latter case, the awarding of the grant will be subject to definitive admission.
The committee constituted to award the grants for the 2009-2010 academic year will place special emphasis on the capacity of the candidates to disseminate the knowledge they will obtain from their studies in academic forums and Industrial and Intellectual Property centres in their country or region.

Candidates must submit the following documentation by 30 April 2009:
• A letter of motivation explaining their reasons for studying the course and why they should be awarded the grant.
• Proof of application for the Magister (date of pre-enrolment, sending of documentation, etc.)
• Curriculum Vitae
All correspondence and documents are to be sent to Mariano Riccheri  (General Coordinator, 
Magister Lvcentinvs, Universidad de Alicante, Edificio Germán Bernácer, Aptdo. Correos 99, 
03080 Alicante, SPAIN).  Digital copies may also be sent here.

The grants will be awarded by 15 May 2009 and the list of successful candidates will be published on the Magister website.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Brazil court reviews patent term extension under TRIPS

The 3rd Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice of Brazil (STJ) issued an important decision last Tuesday (March 17, 2009) after examining Special Appeal no. 960.728 – RJ filed by EI DU PONT DE NEMOUR AND COMPANY against the Brazilian Patent and Trade Mark Office (BPTO). The matter under examination involved essentially the reference date from which the TRIPS Agreement would be enforceable in Brazil. The judges of the 3rd.Chamber determined unanimously that patents granted under the previous IP legislation cannot be extended from the original 15 year term to 20 years from the filing date, as stipulated by Article 70.2 of the TRIPS Agreement.

The dispute was initiated by the controversies derived from the different interpretations of this matter adopted by IP owners and the BPTO. IP owners understood that TRIPS was applicable as from January 1, 1995, due to Decree 1,335/1994. This interpretation is founded on the immediate applicability of the Agreement in Brazil, considering that there was no formal Government application to the WTO to request the delay for the TRIPS entry, as provided by Article 65.2.

BPTO’s examiners were however of the opinion that TRIPS would be enforceable only as from January 1, 2000. Their viewpoint was based on the applicability of Articles 65.1 and 65.2. Thus developing countries have the right to delay the enforcement of TRIPS for an additional five years from the date of the Agreement’s signature. While Article 65.1 of TRIPS determined that no member state is obliged to apply the provisions of TRIPS before one year from execution of the Agreement, Article 65.2 stipulated the possibility for developing countries to delay for 4 years the date of TRIPS application, which would add to 5 years in total.

BPTO’s understanding was the basis for rejections of administrative requests of patent extension and resulted in the commencement of court actions against it before the Federal Court in the city of Rio de Janeiro and the STJ.

The 3rd Chamber of the STJ's decision was based on the argument that the wording of Article 65.2 surely granted the benefit to Brazil (as a developing country) to extend the applicability of TRIPS independently of any written and prior request to the WTO. Further, it considered that TRIPS is not an international agreement with a direct and literal application to private relations. Instead, it is directed to member states, serving solely as guidance to the implementation of a new IP law.

Following the 3rd. Chamber’s rationale, TRIPS would be applicable in Brazil as from January 1, 2000 and the 20 years term would be secured to patents granted after the current IP Law (Law 9,279/96), thus not applying to those patents granted before the current IP Law.

This decision of the STJ interferes substantially with the owners’ rights of patents granted under the previous Industrial Property Law (Law 5,771 of 1972).

The decision is a novelty, especially if one considers previous decisions of the 4th Chamber and the recognition by the 3rd Chamber of STJ that the applicability of TRIPS commenced from January 1, 1995 and, therefore, permitted the extension of the patent term to those granted under the previous IP Law. It is surely a turn-round from the STJ position on the matter of patent extension, which had been long regarded as settled in that court and a matter no longer discussed in Brazil.

This decision will certainly incite new discussions and court motions by patent owners, especially those in the herbicide and pharmaceutical industries.

Source: article by IP Tango team member José Carlos Vaz e Dias

Friday, 20 March 2009

Argentina: Official Collective Management Organization for Film Directors

On 19 February 2009 the Argentine Film Directors Association (“Directores Argentinos Cinematográficos” or “DAC”) was recognized as the sole official collective management organization for film directors, by presidential Decree 124/2009. The Decree was officially announced by the president of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, in a fancy event on the same day as her birthday.

DAC is now vested with the power to raise all the royalties due to Argentine and foreign film directors in Argentina and all royalties due to Argentine film directors abroad, based on the provisions of the Intellectual Property Law N° 11.723. The decree also establishes that the DAC will work with the Media Office of the Chief of Staff (Secretaría de Medios de Comunicación de la Jefatura de Gabinete de Ministros) in order to approve, set or modify any royalty rate or any formula to calculate royalties.

Further information on the DAC and Decree 124/2009 can be found here (Spanish only).

Since 2004 the Intellectual Property law has granted film directors a unique intellectual property right over their works, which is shared with the scriptwriter and the producer of the film. This decree is a new step to empower film directors in the exercise of their rights.

Source: note kindly submitted by Celia Lerman (Mitrani, Caballero & Ojam Abogados).

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Venezuela – Reply to third party oppositions, now mandatory in order to avoid abandonment

The Venezuelan Patent and Trademarks Office (VPTO) has published an unprecedented decision (No. 782) dated February 18, 2009 and notified on the Official Gazette No. 501 dated March 02, 2009 by declaring 13.434 trademark applications as abandoned due to failure to timely reply against oppositions filed by third parties.


VPTO claims as basis to sustain decision no. 782; article No. 79 of our former National Industrial Property Law (1955) which was revived on September 17, 2008 in substitution of Decision 486 of the Andean Community.


During the applicability of the Andean Community regulations (Decision 344 and 486), applications that were subject to oppositions enjoyed the right to a suitable decision and examination by the board concerning absolute and relative grounds for refusal, even though the applicant had not filed a reply writ against the opposing party’s allegations.


In turn, our National Industrial Property Law in force, again, according to VPTO’s sole interpretation establishes on its article No. 79 that failure to submit a reply writ in defense to a third party opposition, will result in abandonment of the subject application.


The reported decision includes trademark applications with filing date ranging as far as from 1982 to 2008.


While this questionable decision may result in benefit for the opposing parties, many applicants will be affected, especially considering that a very high percentage of the oppositions were filed under the enforceability of the Andean Community regulations which did not provide, at that time, for this unexpected outcome.


The deadline to file appeal against this decision is on March 23, 2009

Monday, 16 March 2009

Uruguay signs up for WCT

By WCT Notification No. 74 it has been announced that the Eastern Republic of Uruguay
has deposited its instrument of ratification of the WIPO Copyright Treaty 1996. That Treaty will enter into force, with respect to Uruguay, on 5 June 2009.

Uruguay's ratification brings the number of WCT states up to 70 (click here for the complete list).

Friday, 13 March 2009

Patentability of polymorphs

Since 2001 the Health National Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) –- regarded as the Brazilian equivalent of the US's FDA -- has examined patent applications when the subject matter relates to pharmaceutical drugs and processes, along with the examination carried by the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BPTO). Academics, patent agents and some industrial representatives have considered since then that ANVISA’s new role represents an interference with the BPTO’s powers to examine the patentability requirements, creating a double examination procedure.

Rivalry between the BPTO and ANVISA heated up with the debate started last year over the patentability of polymorphs. According to ANVISA, the patentability of polymorphs may lead to monopolies and represent an obstacle to universal access to medicines, as provided by the Doha declaration. For the BPTO, polymorphs are patentable: this approach gives pharmaceutical companies the confidence to keep on investing in research and development of new drugs.

It appears that neither party is willing to back away from its initial position, thereby generating a problem to patent applicants. Further, there is before the Brazilian Parliament a bill proposing that polymorphs should not be considered as an invention and thus not patentable. The same bill also addresses the issue of second medical use claims, whereby they are considered merely as discoveries. At this point, it seems that ANVISA's position is so far prevailing over the BPTO’s understanding on polymorph patentability, but the controversy is far from ending.

Source: Jorge Miguel Arruda da Veiga (Di Blasi Parente Vaz e Dias & Associados). More on polymorphism here

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Ecuador: El gobierno utiliza la música de los Beatles sin autorización


Según nos informa Alfonso Rivera, el gobierno ecuatoriano ha utilizado el fondo musical de la canción “Hey Jude” de los Beatles para una campaña publicitaria sin los permisos pertinentes.

La música de Paul McCartney acompaña toda el anuncio de dos minutos y 30 segundos en la que en vez del estribillo 'Hey Jude' se escucha el de “re-vo-lu-ción ciudadana”, el proyecto bandera del presidente Rafael Correa.

Según el director de la Sociedad de Autores y Compositores Ecuatorianos (SAYCE), Gerardo Chávez, aún cuando la empresa responsable solicitó el permiso, la campaña empezó a ser difundida cuando todavía no había sido autorizada.

Además señala que en la petición se específica que la campaña iba a utilizar 20 segundos de la canción (de unos 7 minutos), pero “prácticamente suena toda, lo que debería ser autorizado, ya no por la SAYCE, sino por la Sociedad de Gestión Colectiva Británica”.

Gracias Alfonso por la noticia, nos vemos en Lima!!

Monday, 9 March 2009

ICANN: Nuevos dominios genéricos


Celebrada en la Ciudad de México la 34ª edición de la reunión mundial del ICANN, se ha anunciado la intención de aumentar los dominios genéricos abriendo las posibilidades no sólo a terminaciones de tres letras, sino a cualquier palabra

Para el 2010 se comenzarán a recibir postulaciones para los nuevos dominios que se empezarán a usar en lugar de los clásicos .com .net y similares. Pudiendo así encontrar dominios como .sexo .deporte .diario .tuciudad o lo que sea que se nos ocurra.

El coste del proceso no es nada económico, pues sólo por el desarrollo y validación de la propuesta hay que aportar 185.000 dólares, seguidos de 25.000 USD anuales en caso de aprobación.

Obviamente ya hay reacciones para todos los gustos, tanto del Vaticano como de grupos ecologistas, sin olvidar el interés declarado por los dominios .lat correspondientes a América Latina.

Chile signs up to PCT

Chile became the 140th Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Contracting State on 2 March 2009. The PCT will enter into force for Chile on 2 June 2009. IP Tango learns that further information will be published in the March issue of the PCT Newsletter and in a WIPO Update.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Perú se adhiere al PCT / Peru joins PCT

Gracias a Nestor Morera (de Morera Abogados, Costa Rica) hemos sabido que Peru se ha convertido en el 141 Estado parte del Tratado sobre cooperación en materia de patentes (PCT). Perú depositó su documento de adhesión el 6 de marzo de 2009 y el PCT entrará en vigor para este Estado el 6 de junio de 2009. Asimismo, debe recordase que Chile también depositó su instrumento de adhesión que, como ya informamos en IP Tango, había sido aprobado por el senado en octubre de 2008.

Vanilla appellation given protection in Mexico

Earlier this week the Mexican Official Gazette published a declaration of protection for the Appellation of Origin Vainilla de Papantla for a “mature fruit derived from the orchid Vanilla planifolia Andrews [synonym of Vanilla fragans (Salisbury) Ames]”. This a sweet concentrated flavour, used as an ingredient in Mexican cuisine.

According to the Mexican Industrial Property Law, the Federal Government is the owner of the appellation and is empowered to grant licences to interested parties that comply with the requirements of the Mexican regulations. It is also the responsibility of the Federal Government to seek international protection through the Lisbon Agreement.

Source: information kindly supplied by Juan M. Alvarez del Castillo V (Cervantes, Aguilar-Alvarez y Sainz, SC).

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Rediseñarán la Marca Turística de la Ciudad de México.


Hace algunos meses informamos sobre la convocatoria para elegir la marca turística de la Ciudad de México.

Bien, pues después de muchos problemas que se suscitaron en la elección del diseño ganador, como denuncias de plagio de imágenes con derechos de autor así como inconformidades acerca de la elección de finalistas y hasta una petición de re-evaluación del concurso, por fin la semana pasada se anunció al ganador.

No obstante, cuando se pensaba que ahí terminaba el asunto, ahora resulta que le harán algunas modificaciones. De acuerdo con el Secretario de Turismo, Alejandro Rojas Díaz Durán, el diseño ganador será sometido a mejoras pues su versión original no cumplía los requisitos para ser comercializado.

Concretamente se modificará la tipografía y los colores deslavados para dar a conocer por fin el diseño oficial el 18 de marzo. Aquí pueden verse todos los diseños participantes.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Authorities approve sale of Brisa brand in Colombia

The competition authority in Colombia has authorised Coca-Cola FEMSA and The Coca-Cola Company to acquire the Brisa bottled water business from Bavaria, a subsidiary of SABMiller. The price agreed for this brand, together with its associated business, is US$92m.

Agua Brisa's still, sparkling and flavoured waters are produced in 13 plants across Colombia, being sold in more than 230,000 outlets throughout the country. Brisa's operations in Panama are not included in this transaction.