Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Parody as unfair competition? No, says Brazilian court

Can a parody involving TV shows and actors of a broadcasting company be considered a form of unfair competition? According to GLOBO, the biggest broadcasting company in Brazil, the answer is yes, especially when it is promoted by a rival broadcasting company, named RECORD.

The rivalry between these two companies has reached our local courts. At issue are Tom Cavalcante’s parodies, broadcast by RECORD, regarding GLOBO TV programmes and its main actors. Tom Cavalcante is one of the biggest comedians in Brazil and public recognition may be compared to that of Benny Hill and Mr Bean.

To restrrain such acts, GLOBO brought a legal action against RECORD claiming that such parodies go well beyond what is lawful, representing a parasitic activity, entering thus in the domain of unfair competition. For RECORD, the broadcast parodies are in accordance with the constitutional right of freedom of speech. The plaintiff also sought an interlocutory injunction enjoining RECORD for parodying its TV shows, as well as its actors and actresses. This request was denied in a decision recently affirmed by the Appellate Court.

This decision is only the first act of a legal battle that promises to be fierce and to have several acts. In this play, the story is not yet fully written and there are two playwrights working on each side and in opposite ways. Let us see how our local courts, as Deus ex Machina, will decide this dispute.

Written by Jorge Miguel Arruda da Veiga (Di Blasi, Parente, Vaz e Dias & Asociados)

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Brazilians consider free use of sponsored works

The 21 May 2009 issue of the World Media Law Report carries a feature by José Mauro Decoussau Machado, of Pinheiro Neto Advogados (Sao Paulo, Brazil), on the Brazilian government's current thoughts regarding Federal Law N. 8.313 (the "Rouanet Law"). This law was enacted in order to incentivise Brazilian cultural and artistic activities, providing tax-efficiency for sponsorship of cultural activities. This policy is reportedly successful, in that 2008 saw the investment of US$ 500 million in a wide variety of cultural projects.

The Minister of Culture recently created a draft Bill to amend this law. One controversial proposal would let the Federal Government use, for educational purposes, any works which enjoyed the benefit of this law without the need for payment of royalties to the authors, or indeed any further authorisation. Critics claim that this would be unconstitutional, as the Brazilian Constitution expressly grants authors the exclusive right to use and authorise the use of their works. Others fear that authors would opt out of the Rouanet Law to avoid the subsequent non-paid use of the work by the government.

The government's response to criticims of the proposed amendments is awaited.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Argentina: Decreto 556/2009 sobre IG y DO de Productos Agrícolas y Alimentarios


Gracias a Guillermo Navarro, hemos conocido que Argentina ha adoptado el Decreto 556/2009 que reglamenta la Ley Nº 25.380 y su modificatoria Nº 25.966 donde se estableció el Régimen Legal para las Indicaciones Geográficas y Denominaciones de Origen de Productos Agrícolas y Alimentarios en la República Argentina.
En Argentina, las indicaciones geográficas y las denominaciones de origen están reguladas por la Ley Nº 25.380, de 30 de noviembre de 2000, modificada por la Ley Nº 25.966 de 17 de noviembre de 2004 que, entre otros aspectos, deja sin efecto la figura de indicaciones de procedencia y la sustituye por la de indicaciones geográficas.
Ahora bien, ninguna de estas dos leyes fue objeto de reglamentación ni creó las estructuras necesarias para su gestión. El Decreto 556/2009 viene a colmar esta laguna. Con él se determinan los requisitos y procedimientos para el reconocimiento y registro de las IG y DOs para productos agrícolas y alimentario. Asimismo, se fijan los procedimientos de vigilancia y control del régimen establecido por la ley que se reglamenta.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Mexico: ¿licencias de utilidad pública para antivirales de Glaxo y Roche?


Según informa Juan Angel Garza Vite (Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León), el IMPI tiene que decidir en breve si liberan los dos medicamentos antivirales para la lucha contra la gripe porcina (o A/H1N1). Tales medicamentos son TAMIFLÚ de Roche y RELENZA de Glaxo. Siguiendo los pasos de La India y Brasil, México concedería obligatoria a estas empresas a conceder licencias para que otras empresas puedan fabricar dichos medicamentos y comercializarlos a precios reducidos.

De acuerdo con el Art. 77 de la Ley de propiedad industrial mexicana, una vez que el Consejo de Salubridad General ha publicado el Acuerdo por el que se declara de atención prioritaria a la influenza epidémica, ha empezado a correr el tiempo para que el IMPI tome una decisión al respecto. En caso afirmativo corresponderá posteriormente a la Secretaría de Salud, fijar las condiciones de producción y de calidad, duración y campo de aplicación de la citada licencia, así como la calificación de la capacidad técnica del solicitante.

No es la primera vez que en México se da el tema de las licencias obligatorias. La cuestión también apareció el año pasado durante la XII Conferencia mundial sobre el SIDA.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

1999 law finally in force in Dominica

The INTA Bulletin, Vol. 64, No. 9 (1 May 2009) reports that this February, ten years after it was enacted, Dominica's new trade mark legislation -- the Marks, Collective Marks and Trade Names Act 1999 -- finally came into force. Under this law the Dominican registry becomes independent of the UK system and the latest edition of the Nice Classification is adopted. Additionally, registration of service marks is provided for.

The note reminds readers that Dominica, a common law jurisdiction and a member of the Commonwealth, should not be confused with the similarly-named Dominican Republic.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Argentina: Horacio Potel and the Derrida translation

Intellectual Property Watch carries an article by Catherine Saez, picked up here by The 1709 Blog, on the criminal prosecution proceedings brought against an Argentinean Professor, Horacio Potel, for making available online a Spanish translation of some of the writings of French deconstructionalist philosopher Jacques Derrida (right). This action raises important issues concerning the extent to which educational use exceptions to copyright law can be balanced against the commercial expectations of the copyright owner. Potel, whose lawyers are asking for the charges to be dropped, says: "They have inflicted a new death on the philosopher by taking his work off the internet".

Friday, 15 May 2009

Pipeline patents in Brazil: constitutional, or not?

Last month the Federal General Attorney filed at the Federal Supreme Court a legal action claiming the unconstitutionality (“Ação Direta de Inconstitucionalidade”) of articles 230 and 231 of the Brazilian Intellectual Property Act (only IP Act). Until 1996 chemical substances, compositions and products, in particular for the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industry, were not eligible for patent protection in Brazil. Only with the TRIPS Agreement and the enactment of the IP Act in 1996 did Brazil open the door to the patentability of such substances and compositions.

Under articles 230 and 231 of the IP Act (known as pipeline patent system), there was granted to the patent applicant the possibility of patenting those substances and compositions that were not new and non-patentable until 1996.

In a certain way, this established a lawful way to circumvent the lack of novelty of such inventions. Thus, even though such substances, compositions were not new (as the corresponding products were already in the international market), they could obtain patent protection, provided that certain requirements were fully met.

To obtain such protection, the applicant had to bring evidence before the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office that (i) the patent subject matter had not been marketed in Brazil, whether by the holder of by any third party with his consent, (ii) no serious efforts were made by third parties to exploit such substance or composition in Brazil until 1996, (iii) that the patent was granted in the territory where the first application was filed and (iv) the patent application had to be filed by within 1 year, counting from the publication of the Intellectual Property Act in 1996.

Once such requirements were satisfied and the revalidation was granted, the patent owner enjoyed a protection term of twenty years, counting from the first patent application filed abroad. In other words, the patent term in Brazil will be the remaining life of the patent term of the first patent abroad.

It is recognized that one of the main beneficiaries of the pipeline system was the pharmaceutical industry, which heavily used this mechanism in an effort to promote its IP rights in Brazil as well as the population since it could use drugs of last generation. It is estimated that almost 1200 patent applications were filed in Brazil and almost half of them were granted under the pipeline system.

According to the Federal General Attorney, the patents granted to inventions with lack of novelty under the pipeline system go against the constitutional principle of the public interest and technological development of the country, as provided by article 5, XXIX of the Brazilian Constitution.

The result of this legal action will lead to a significant impact in the pharmaceutical industry and others related, since there is a serious risk of such pipeline patents falling into the public domain and more specifically in the hands of the local generics industry.

Written by Jorge Miguel Arruda da Veiga, Di Blasi, Parrente, Vaz e Dias & Asociados

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Counterfeit and Parallel Importation of Medicines Affect the Confidence of the Brazilians: Call for Stringent Action from the Government

From January through March of this year, the Brazilian Health National Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) and the Ministry of Justice organized and led a joint massive seizure campaign against counterfeit and illegal drugs in the Brazilian territory.

The result of the campaign was recently disclosed to the public and evidenced the growth of activities on parallel importation and counterfeit medicines in Brazil. It was seized more than 170 tons of medicines, mostly from parallel importation and drugs marketed without ANVISA’s approval and registration. Only 5% of the products were pirate.

Such illegal products were mainly found on the shelves of pharmacies duly accredited by the government (some of them are reputed pharmacies). It was further confirmed that their owners were involved in someway in such schemes. The most common pirate medicines were those related to sexual impotence, such as Viagra and Cialis.

Further to that, the pirates and distributers of parallel importers adopted highly creative strategies to deviate from the government’s monitoring, including quick stock replacement and mixing original and fake products in the shelves to get consumers confused.

According to the authorities, no industrial facility producing pirate drugs was found.

The information published by the authorities caused great concern, since the internet was recognized a week before as one of the main routes for marketing counterfeit drugs. Since then, many consumers do not know where or from whom they should buy safe drugs. According to the Brazilian Society of Urology, two factors should worry the authorities as to piracy in the internet and in accredited pharmacies. First, the existing culture of self-medication. Secondly, the sale of drugs without prescription is common among the poor population. In view of these practices, the drug price factor prevails in the consumer’s choice, not the quality and the origin of the medicine.

These have called the adoption of stringent measures against the owners of such pharmacies due to the violation of consumer rights and the breach of the conditions related to the authorization granted by the government, as well as the cease of commercialization in the web.

The main objective is to restore the confidence of consumers and the assurance of the quality of the medicines commercialized in Brazil.

Written by José Carlos Vaz e Dias

Monday, 11 May 2009

New domain dispute system for Bolivia

NIC Bolivia, the registry responsible for Bolivia's .bo country-code top-level domain, has now adopted a variation of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) for the determination of local domain name disputes.

Apart from the requirement that the complainant own a local trade mark, the main difference between Bolivia's dispute resolution code and the UDRP is that the complainant in Bolivia need prove only that either registration of the challenged name or its use have been made in bad faith, rather than having to prove both.

Source: David Taylor, Lovells LLP, Paris, writing in World Trademark Review.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Argentina: Concurso IP "Mentes innovadoras para el futuro"


Gracias a G. Navarro hemos sabido que la Camara de comercio de Estados Unidos en Argentina (AmCham) ha organizado el Concurso AmCham "Mentes innovadoras para el futuro" destinado a premiar al mejor ensayo en materia de propiedad intelectual.
Pueden participar estudiantes o jovenes profesionales menores de 35 años. El premio consiste en una beca para cursar un Master o Curso de posgrado en materia de propiedad intelectual.
La inscripción para participar en el Concurso comienza el día 20 de Abril de 2009 y cierra el día 30 de mayo de 2009, a las 16.00 hs., sin excepción. La fecha final de presentación de los ensayos es 2 de octubre de 2009, a las 16.00 hs., sin excepción.

Suerte

Friday, 8 May 2009

Online patent search: latest news from Brazil

As of 5 May 2009, in result of an initiative taken by the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), it has been possible to conduct an online search of the Brazilian PTO's database in order to determine the expiry dates of Brazilian patents. The website carries a proviso that the results of users' searches should not be taken as official: confirmation of status of any case should be requested via a status Certificate to the Patent Directorate of the Brazilian PTO.

It is recommended that, regarding pharma patents, users should not rely entirely on the information obtained from the new model search since patents resulting from "black-box" applications and "pipeline" applications will not be entitled to the regular 20-year patent term which is counted from the filing date of the application. Moreover, given the huge backlog at the PTO's pharma Division, most pharma cases, on grant, will have a legal term of 10 years counted from the date of issue to compensate an overdue prosecution period (10 years) by the Brazilian PTO.

Source: circular from Rana Gosain, Daniel Advogados

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Cambio de fecha del congreso mundial para combatir la falsificación y la piratería.

El Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial (IMPI) informa que el 5º Congreso Mundial para Combatir la Falsificación y la Piratería, planeado inicialmente para llevarse a cabo en Cancún, Quintana Roo del 2 al 4 de junio del 2009, se celebrará ahora a principios del mes de diciembre de 2009.

Dicho cambio se debe al actual estado que vive México, influenza, y siguiendo las recomendaciones de salud tanto nacionales como internacionales.

Para más información consultar directamente en el IMPI.