Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Putting things straight – INPI speaks out

The Brazilian Instituto Nacional da Propiedade Industrial (INPI) informs us that there are constant complaints about ‘representatives’ offices’ and those who called themselves ‘able to act’ at the Brazilian INPI. These offices and representatives act as follows: address potential customers declaring that there is another company with the same name wanting to register a mark with their name; charges for ‘process’ or ‘updating’ registration information with the INPI; charge unauthorised fees - paying an ‘optional maintenance fee of patent or trade mark’ in a supposed ‘annual issue of patents and trade marks’; paying the ‘Company Space’ in an alleged ‘Guide of Trade marks at INPI’; among others.

The INPI clarifies that these types of services DO NOT exist and are characterized as misconduct. Moreover, Industrial Property Agents registered with the INPI and lawyers are indeed qualified to act as prosecutors at the Institute, but are NOT representatives of the INPI. It continues explaining that the only official publication carried out by the INPI is the Journal of Industrial Property (RPI). Other publications disclosed such as: "Annual Issue of Patents and Trade marks" and "Getting Along with the INPI trade marks” DO NOT come from the INPI.

INPI warns that such charges cannot be mistaken for any fees related to services provided by the Institute and what is more, the Journal of Industrial Property (RPI) is the only official vehicle for the publication of decisions issued by the Office.

This wrongdoing I would not say is common in Latin American countries - I can neither affirm or deny it. However, I do recall in fact that when I was working in a Venezuelan firm, I did hear of such practice. Most of the times however, those special ‘representatives’ where in fact lawyers who have a ‘friend/family’ working at the Office and of course ‘special treatment’ was offer – for instance speeding a process. Anyways, this INPI’s notice will hopefully put this misconduct in alert and optimistically will warn customers. This ‘tanguera’ gives the thumbs up to the INPI.

1 comment:

Tove Graulund said...

Dear Patricia,
I am sorry to say that a very similar activity has been quite common in Europe. Sometimes dogdy companies offer publication of your rights in a very official looking way. There has even been misuse of the EU stars and other creative ways of looking authorises. Then there was a lot of activity around domain names which sound very much what you describe. You get a call that someone else is trying to register your name, but that the caller would really rather sell it to you as you seem to be the rightfull owner. Obviously you get a stressfull deadline and the caller is normally clever enough to avoid asking for the legal department or the IP department, but previous to create panic with staff who are more easily tricked.
So you have to be on your toes.
Regards,
Tove