Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Coca- Colla, the Bolivian drink

Last weekend all major Latin American newspapers reported that Bolivia will start producing an energy soft drink made from coca leaves. The name chosen is ‘Coca-Colla’ and it will be presented in a bottle with a red label. If it sounds familiar, wait to hear this. Apparently, the drink is dark, sweet and fizzy!

Clearly the name is similar to the well known ‘Coca-Cola’ but the whole packaging is also similar (trade dress). Will Coca-Cola Co bring an action? Another issue that is in my mind is: will the name be capable of registration as a trade mark? The name is a description of the drink, 'coca' being the main ingredient and ‘colla’ (also ‘Kolla’) being the name by which some indigenous Bolivians are known.

The Bolivian president Evo Morales is supporting the drink since he sees this as part of the industrialization of coca production. Evo Morales’ administration plans to modify Law N° 1008 of the Regime Applicable to Coca and Controlled Substances which limits legal coca cultivation to 12,000 hectares. The Bolivian President is seeking ways to broaden the limit up to 20,000 hectares.

For more information click here,here,and here.

Note: I have yet to find a picture of the bottle for Coca-Colla, so feel free to contact IP Tango if you happen to find one.


Anonymous said...

There's a pic there, kind of cheap looking, needs some snazz.

Patricia Covarrubia said...

Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

President Morales is pulling the traditional knowledge card by asserting that the "cocoa colla" drink is part of Bolivia's cultural history.

Watching how all left-leaning, well meaning, culturally sensitive folks deal with this facially plausible silliness will be fun to watch.

Patricia Covarrubia said...

I in fact support the idea of communities wanting to recognise and protect their traditional knowledge. I do not doubt that President Morales would like to do so by promoting the 'coca-colla' drink. What is, as you put it, 'silly' is the whole image (trade dress and name) that the government is using.

Anonymous said...

Neither "traditional knowledge" nor "community" are definable terms.

Moreover, the entire movement is based on the intentionally vague premise that a "community" can own information. What philosophy of property rights supports that contention? None. And what philosophy of social justice concludes that current "community" members are entitled to money for something their forebears did [in this case, the accumulation of information]? None.

What is really meant by a community "wanting to recognize and protect" its traditional knowledge is the flip side of that platitude: i.e., to shame and extort money from investigators and businesses who invest in R&D so as to convert information into useful products.