Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Brazil and the UK – a new team?

I would love to think that Brazil and the UK can do a good mixture of techniques in a football pitch but I need to spoil my mind and think of IP! I am afraid I cannot wait for the World Cup to start.


Back to the news. Today, a partnership is solidified between Brazil and the UK with the inauguration of Labex Europe unit (here in England), a virtual lab of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) . Brazilian and British scientists are building a new team focusing on technology and innovation to meet the challenges of sustainable agriculture.

For the entire information here.

I was looking for a picture to download and I found out this: ‘There is a saying in football that “the English invented it, the Brazilians perfected it” ; will it be the same for this new team?

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

.co Priority Registration

As announced previously in this blog, the priority period for registration of the .co domain is still in place but until tomorrow ( March 31). The period, which has been running since 01 March, is only for those that possess domain names under extensions .com.co, .net.co and .org.co for example, and which have been registered before July 30, 2008.

Hence, this period provides the opportunity for those owners to register the same domain but with just the extension .co.

Gerardo Aristizabal, mi.com.co manager, and official from the national domain registrar .co said: “it is disturbing to note how, despite widespread information, many companies have yet not value this priority period”. He also adds that after the 31st of March, the domain .co will increase and also, that all requests made over a domain will go through auction between brand owners.

The newspaper EL tiempo reports that the Association of Intellectual Property in Colombia - ACPI is also advocating for businesses and people to see the magnitude of the subject.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Mexico: Ley de protección de datos personales


Según nos cuenta Juan Ángel Garza Vite (Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León), la Comisión de Gobernación de Mexico ha aprobado recientemente el dictamen por el cual se expide la Ley Federal de Protección de Datos Personales en Posesión de Particulares.

Esta ley "coloca al país a la vanguardia en la protección de derechos de tercera generación, y lo pone a la altura de una democracia moderna". Ahora bien, el proceso para su adopción ha sido largo. El 30 de abril de 2009 se publicó en el Diario Oficial de la Federación de México la modificación de la Constitución Mexicana por la cual se faculta al Congreso de la Unión para legislar en materia de protección de datos personales:

"Artículo 73. El Congreso tiene facultad:
I. a XXIX-N. ...
XXIX-O. Para legislar en materia de protección de datos personales en posesión de particulares".

De acuerdo con el artículo segundo transitorio de dicha publicación el "Congreso de la Unión deberá expedir la ley en la materia en un plazo no mayor de 12 meses, contados a partir de la entrada en vigor del presente Decreto". Por lo tanto, el plazo termina el 30 de abril del presente año y para su promulgación todavía es preciso el visto bueno de la Cámara de senadores.

La necesidad de llevar a cabo esta reforma legislativa viene también provocada por presiones externas: Mexico es el único país junto a Turquía de la OECD que no cuenta con una legislación en la materia. Gracias a ella "toda persona tendrá la facultad de decidir quién, cómo y para qué usa su información personal, por lo que es indispensable abatir el mercado negro de la información que actualmente prevalece en el país, para dejar de ser considerado como un paraíso de datos personales".

Asimismo, la Ley permitirá ampliar la oferta de servicios en sectores como “outsourcing” para servicios de tratamiento de datos de empresas trasnacionales; servicios de almacenamiento de datos; de telecomunicaciones.

Desafortunadamente, en IP Tango no hemos tenido acceso al texto de ley pero estaremos encantados de recibirla de algún miembro de la audiencia.


Costa Rica IP Law Reform

Changes in IP Law are the last of the requirements for Costa Rica to enjoy the benefits of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic in the country (named CAFTA).

From past months, the U.S. has imposed certain burdens on Costa Rica (see early blog here) to pressure to accept the measures agreed in the FTA on IP issues.

Last week, the project was approved on first reading by 26 deputies of the 39 present; yet, it must be approved on second reading by the full legislature. Only then, the Executive may sign. The next step is publication in the official Gazette.

The initiative amends Article 25 of Law 8039 (Law on Procedures for Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights) and Article 2 of Law 6683 (Law on Copyright and Related Rights). The amendments provide economic penalties and even imprisonment for those imparting musical performances without the respective copyright permissions. According to one newspaper, “... owners of karaoke, musicians, bar owners, restaurants, hotels and entertainment halls that do not pay the copyright in that broadcast music are exposed, besides imprisonment, to economic sanctions which reach 500 basic salaries.”

Friday, 26 March 2010

Patent protection in Brazil: is this the end for Viagra?

According to PRÓGENÉRICOS, the Brazilian Association of the Generic Drug Industry, more than 7 million pills of Viagra were sold in Brazil in 2007, representing a market value of approximatelly BR$ 210 millions. It is estimated that, with the end of patent protection of Viagra, its current price will decrease from betwen 35% and 50%.

The discussion on whether Viagra will turn into a generic drug this year or in 2011 has probably reached its final stage, and a final court ruling by the Superior Justice Court is expected soon.

The issue may be summarised as follows: did the twenty-year patent protection for Viagra in Brazil, commence on June 20, 1990, when the patent application was originally filed in the UK (and later abandoned), or did it start only on June 7, 1991, when that application was filed at the EPO?

If, in one hand, Pfizer claims that the patent protection for Viagra started on june 7, 1991, (ending in 2011), for the Federal Government the twenty year term commenced already on June 20, 1990, thus falling into the public domain this year.

The Federal Regional Court of Rio de Janeiro (as Appelate Court) ruled in favour of Pfizer, but the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BPTO), unwilling to accept this decision, filed an appeal to the Superior Justice of Court.

Last Wednesday, the Superior Justice of Court (2nd Chamber) opened the session and three judges already voted against Pfizer, arguing that the patent protection for Viagra ends this year. The session was, however, suspended and will be resumed within two weeks, when six more judges will have the chance to express their vote.

From the news made available so far, it appears that the Federal Government and other federal Agencies, such as the BPTO, do not expect other ruling than the falling of Viagra patent into public domain this year.

The final decision on this suit is awaited with great expectation, since it may represent an historical ruling, a leading case for all remaining ones and an emblematic victory for the federal government and other federal agencies, taking into account the fact that the presidential elections will take place this year.

Posted by Jeremy for Jorge Miguel Arruda da Veiga (DiBlasi)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Brazil: Google and its legal trouble


While the IP community is still digesting the Google AdWords ruling, one always wonder about the Internet Service Provider active or passive role (see case comments by our cousin IPKat).

In the same vein, I found this news in today's newspaper. A Brazilian court in the northern state of Rondonia fined Google for not blocking pages of dirty jokes on its social networking site Orkut. In an appeal to the High Court (Superior Tribunal de Justiça (STJ)), Google Brazil argued that the company did not have the technical means or employees needed to police Orkut. The STJ observed that Google already implements such control on its pages in China.

The story began when the prosecutor brought civil action in defence of teenagers who were allegedly offended by virtual communities on Orkut. The communities questioned were: 'Pimenta Fofocas' (spicy gossip) and 'Pimenta Fofocas o Return' (spicy gossip return).

The High Court of Justice (STJ) reported that Google was ordered to pay a fine of approx. $2.800 for each day that the contents remain available.

I can observe that in this particular case, the court saw the ‘active’ role of Google.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Chilean earthquake damaged wine production and science

Three weeks ago, Chile suffered two incidents - an earthquake followed by a tsunami.The wine production was the most affected in terms of damages. The Chile Wine Association estimates a loss of $250 millions in just spilled wine (does not account for infrastructure damages and the current state of the plantations – approx $600 millions). A study made by the broker BCI believes that ‘Concha y Toro’ winery is the company most affected by the earthquake(newspapers here, here and here).

It has also affected science. Carlos Padilla, vice-chancellor of the University of Talca, explains that many projects and investigations have being affected. For instance, he has being developing research in plant breeding at the Institute of Plant and Biology and Biotechnology. Because genomes are materials that take years to collect they are keep in freezers and with the earthquake they were unfrozen and now unusable. Many others experiments were lost and according to Mr Padilla, this ‘could mean a drop in 5 years of science’.

While the IP blog relates only to news in a particular area of law, I cannot close this article without mentioning the social impact of the earthquake. Our sympathies to the people of Chile.

Reflexiones sobre la piratería en Perú


Alejandra Castañeda ha hecho llegar a IP Tango un interesante artículo publicado en El Comercio en relación con la piratería en Perú. Según reza el resumen: "La piratería aparece ante una necesidad no satisfecha (por precio, variedad o inexistencia de la alternativa formal), pero puede poner en peligro una industria o dinamizar las existentes".

Entre otros aspectos, me parece muy interesante la fórmula ideada por la editorial Norma para combatir la piratería de sus libros: “Hay que reconocer que los piratas han armado una red de distribución descomunal. Por eso me senté con uno de los líderes de la piratería, y le propuse un trato: que venda el libro que yo estaba por lanzar a través de sus canales de distribución”. En la práctica, los piratas iban a seguir comercializando libros piratas, pero, a partir de ese pacto, no piratearían el título que Norma lanzaría al mercado.

El artículo incluye también preguntas interesantes: "¿por qué, pese a que la piratería está tan extendida, han crecido las ventas de libros originales? ¿Por qué, mientras que en el resto de América Latina las salas de cine se siguen desocupando, en el Perú el número de espectadores ha venido incrementándose, hasta alcanzar los 20 millones el año pasado?".

En definitiva, sin menospreciar los problemas que conlleva la piratería, el artículo da pistas para combatirla: los empresarios deben aprender de los "modelos de negocio" de los piratas para, así, favorecer una mayor comercialización de sus obras (aún conviviendo con copias piratas). Una reflexión muy interesante.

Dominica issues notice on publishable events

This January, Dominica's Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property published a notice clarifying the types of events relating to trad emark registration that will be published in the Journal of Intellectual Property. The following now require publication:
• New applications for trade mark registrations
• Applications for entry of a disclaimer (at the Registrar’s discretion)
• Granting a trade mark registration
• Invalidation of a trade mark registration by the High Court
• Renewal of a trade mark registration, or its expiration if not renewed
• Recordation of a licence agreement
• Assignments or other changes of title.
The notice is intended to put agents on notice that fees for the publication of disclaimers, licences, assignments and renewals will now be collected.

Source: Vol. 65, No. 6 of the INTA Bulletin

Monday, 22 March 2010

Costa Rica: 'Do not risk your business using pirated software'

Business Software Alliance (BSA), a non-profit entity created by the computer industry against piracy in the world, informs that since its campaign 'Do not risk your business using pirated software', there has been auditing companies in Costa Rica. As a result, Rodolfo Barrera (BSA lawyer) explains that eight out of ten companies in the country use illegal software.

Officers and officials from the IP Office, as well as specialist from BSA have been involved in the searches.
Barrera adds that those companies using pirated software have been fined $20,000 to $ 50,000. He says that “the penalties depend on the firm size and type of software they are using. It also provides an account of the program and the profits they might have for their illegal use”. While the latter is the normal – account of profit, I am not quite sure about the size of the company. In fact, I cannot see why.
In other words, does it count that I do not have extra cash to buy a CD and so I get a pirated one? Should the law penalise harder Bill Gates if he does the same?

In the same news, the newspaper informs that according to a BSA report, Guatemala ranks first in software piracy (81%) in Central America but third together with Bolivia in Latin America. Venezuela (86%) is in the first place followed by Paraguay (83%).

Chile off the EU's 'red list'

The decision of the European Union to drop Chile from its Intellectual Property 'Red List' in its 2009 enforcement report represents an important acknowledgement of the efforts made by Chile in that regard, according to a News Flash from Chile IP law practice Studio Federico Villaseca. Says the News Flash, the creation by Chile of its National Institute of Intellectual Property (INAPI) and an IPR-specific Police Division (BRIDEPI) are recognized as positive improvements, sufficient to justify omitting Chile from the Red Lift.

So who are the countries to fear, in terms of IP infringements? The EU's report lists China at the first level, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Turkey, in the second level and Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, United States of America and Vietnam at the third level.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Paraguay: The Customs Department created a trade mark Registry

The National Directorate of Customs (DNA in Spanish), in order to combat piracy and facilitate foreign trade, has set up a register of marks. On 25 February 2010, the DNA has issued Resolution No 130 which regulates customs procedures in cases of entry into the country of suspected counterfeit products.

Trade marks owners must register their marks at the DNA - not registration fees involved. That said, upon suspicion of products (counterfeits), automatic alerts will be delivered to legal representatives of the affected trade marks, so that they can take action.

This is, in my view, a transparent exchange of information between the DNA and the trade marks owners. The measure, according to the DNA, also deletes the improper withholding of imported goods.

For more info click here and here.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Brazil Announces Public Consultation on Possible Retaliation of IP Rights and Awaits the US Proposal

The Brazilian government did not wait for the set deadline of March 23 (see it here) to address the cross retaliation against the US IP Rights and therefore it was published last Monday (March 15) CAMEX Resolution no. 16, of March 12, 2010 (see the full text in Portuguese http://www.mdic.gov.br/arquivos/dwnl_1268663608.pdf).

This Resolution specified a group of 21 measures that will be taken into consideration to retaliate on IP Rights owned by American citizens or American companies that are protected and/or exploited into the Brazilian territory. The measures may be applied cumulatively or the government may pick one bullet and use it against the condemned US subsidies to cotton producers. The total retaliatory sanctions on IP rights cannot surpass the amount of US$ 270 million.

The measures range from “denial, for a limited time, of the protection period for rights over medicine (including veterinary) product or process patents”, “grant of compulsory licensing” to “suspension of the owner’s exclusive right to prevent the import and commercialization on the domestic market of medicines, veterinary and agricultural chemical and biotechnology” (see attached Appendix III – Draft Measures in English http://www.diblasi.com.br/information.pdf).

However, the measures to be used by the government will follow the indication and contribution of the Brazilian people, since the aforementioned Resolution 16/2010 opened up a public consultation procedure and gave 20 days to whom it may concern to manifest its opinion and propose recommendations on the 21 measures.

This means that foreign people besides the Brazilian may be able to present its recommendations on the possible retaliatory sanctions. Further to that, the Resolution gives preference to the opinions rendered by class associations, as stated on Item 1 of Annex 1.

As reported, Brazil is awaiting the involvement of American companies of different activities and associations to participate in the Consultation and to press the American Congress.

Let’s see if the Brazilian strategy will work out.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Brazil - looking forward to increase creation by innovation and technology

News comes this date from Brazil. The first one, the governments of Brazil and Iran signed this week an amendment to the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation of Science, Technology and Innovation, which was settled last November.

The new government web reports that “The memorandum, as an attachment, provides a list for bilateral cooperation in areas of science and technology, more precisely in Nanotechnology; Biotechnology and agriculture; Bioethanol, Information Technology and Communication, Mathematics and Physics, Policy and Planning in Science, Technology and Innovation, Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Engineering.” (a goody bag full of IPRs).

The other news, also reported by so-called Brazilian google (see early post here), mentioned that Brazil has reached the threshold of 2 million ‘.br’ domain.

Bom dia.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Solicitudes de marcas de mala fe en Perú

El artículo 137º de la Decisión 486 de la Comunidad Andina establece que “(c)uando la oficina nacional competente tenga indicios razonables que le permitan inferir que un registro se hubiese solicitado para perpetrar, facilitar o consolidar un acto de competencia desleal, podrá denegar dicho registro”.

El Indecopi ha emitido hace poco un pronunciamiento en el que aborda la cuestión de forma algo preocupante porque parece orientarse hacia una corriente que parece presumir la mala fe. La autoridad siempre ha recordado que el examen de registrabilidad es independiente de pronunciamientos anteriores y que constituye una facultad discrecional que se ejerce caso por caso. No obstante, el Indecopi, en una resolución que cuenta con dos votos en contra del pronunciamiento de la mayoría, concluye, valiéndose de pronunciamientos en otros expedientes y que versaban sobre otros signos que no eran exactamente el que era materia de análisis en este caso, que el signo solicitado había sido solicitado de mala fe.

En el caso, tanto los elementos denominativos como gráficos eran distintos, pero la impresión de conjunto sería similar, a decir del Indecopi, en virtud a la ubicación de los elementos (que eran diferentes) del signo. Con tres votos a favor y dos en contra, la Sala de Propiedad Intelectual del Indecopi parece haberse inclinado por una línea algo cuestionable dado que la buena fe siempre debe presumirse y la mala fe, por el contrario, debe ser acreditada por quien la alega de forma fehaciente.

Venezuela: is a new regulation for Internet and satellite TV at the door?

Last Saturday, the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias, demanded for measures to control the content delivered via Internet and satellite television. These are the last media that have not been regulated by the Government.

Certainly, the freedom of expression is again threatened by President Chavez, who has already applied the Law of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television and thus closing one television and several radio stations (see early blog here).

The newspaper EL Universal, refers to the fact that the announcement came weeks after the visit of Cuba's Minister of Science, Ramiro Valdes, who is responsible for monitoring what the Cubans may or may not see or read on the Internet (is this a coincidence?).

El Nuevo Herald also reported that President Chavez quoted German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Chavez explained that what she has said about the internet is true: "the Internet cannot be a free thing where they do and say anything, no, every country must make its rules and standards”.

Two weeks ago, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) wrote a report entitled Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela, where affirms that “the punitive power of the State is being used to intimidate or punish people on account of their political opinions.” (is this the case?)

In terms of this IP blog, what is the point of being creative if the author/creator/producer cannot express his views?

This measure sounds like the Government is trying to ‘shoot the messenger’. And as always, I have a said (or better say, my father used to have one): "don’t shoot the piano player; he is doing the best he can".

I hope we can keep accessing the Venezuelan population for the years to come.

Friday, 12 March 2010

INTA Latin American session

The 132nd Annual Meeting of the International Trademark Association takes place in Boston, Mass., from 23 to 26 May. From the programme (which you can view in full here) it can be seen that the Latin American session ("Regional Update – South America") takes place on Tuesday 25 May from 3.30pm to 4.45pm.

Last year I attended the Latin American session and was greatly impressed with the quality of the presentations and the amount of hard work that had gone into their preparation. I was also dismayed at the fact that this session was held in a vast, cavernous room that could have accommodated a couple of thousand people and which was almost empty.

I plan to attend the corresponding session this year and hope that as many readers of this blog who are coming to Boston will be at this session too. If we want people to believe that what's going on in this politically and economically volatile region is important, they're not going to believe us if we don't bother to turn up ourselves.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement – the EU Parliament’s view

Yesterday the EU Parliament voted in favour of a demand to be kept fully informed about the secretive Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which is being negotiated by the EU, Mexico, Japan, and the US among others (early blog here).

Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, "the Commission has had a legal obligation to inform Parliament immediately and fully at all stages of international negotiations". Therefore the confidentiality clause that the negotiating parties have agreed upon appears to extend, as in the case of the EU, to include the Parliament.

I would not say that this is a step back for the ACTA. I believe that this is a wakeup call over the lack of transparency in the negotiations.

The Ministries for the European Parliament call also for an evaluation to be carried out with regard to fundamental rights and data protection. They also disagree with the so-called ‘three-strikes’ procedures where internet users can lose their internet access as penalty for three infringements of online copyright.

More info here.

Paris Hilton's sexist beer ad scandal

For the past weeks some of us have heard about the raunchy ad made by Paris Hilton in Brazil. The investment made by the Shincariol Group over its beer ‘Devassa Bem Loura’ has put the label on everyone’s lips (not only nationally but also in the international arena).

The campaign was commissioned to Agȇncia Mood who hired Paris Hilton as the star of its commercial. The National Advertising Self-Regulation Council (CONAR) in Brazil considered banning the ad because it was too sexist.

The debate over the advertisement is said to have given more power to the label that harming it. The Agȇncia Mood decided to go ahead with another ad with extreme irony. In the new advert the agency offers apologies to those that felt offended by the original ad and invites the people that were not offended to watch the original one in the Internet!

There is always a fine line in censorship – in trade marks for example this situation is seen in moral and/or immoral signs. The same happened here- what is to be catalogued as sexist? Every case is studied on its own merits, and it very much depends on the culture of the population. That is the reason why the ad has caused so much controversy.

I believe that the agency and thus the trade mark have obtained more than what was expected. Or, perhaps I am naive and this is what they were looking for. What do you think – was the campaign planned to do so?

You can watch the original ‘banned’ ad here and for the new ‘allowed’ ad click here.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

US-BRAZIL DISPUTE: LIST OF RETALIATION PRODUCTS IN ENGLISH

As informed yesterday (here), the Brazilian government published the list of 102 American products that will suffer import tariff increase. IP TANGO provides herein the list in English for examination and comments here.

The Final Retaliation List of American Products is Published by Brazil: Where have the Suspension and Limitation of IP Rights gone?

It was with high expectation that Brazil published yesterday the final list of American products that will be subject to increased import duties, following the WTO’s decision that upheld Brazil’s move against the cotton farmers subsidies granted by the American government.

Those expecting Brazil to take the chance and strongly strike back the United States were disappointed, since the country preferred to adopt a more realistic approach in view of the already intricate commercial relationships with the American government. Further to that, the excellent export results and the stunning US investments in the past years should be preserved. Brazil cannot afford suffering stringent collateral effects from the retaliation.

In this perspective, from the 220 products initially previewed, only 102 items were finally contemplated (the full list in English will be provided tomorrow). Also, retaliation will start in 30 days but only in case a new round of negotiations is not successfully concluded.

Further to that, the retaliation list also focused on luxurious goods (such as cosmetics, sailing boats and refined cars) and it encompassed different categories. See below the categories of goods, as provided by the Ministry of Development, Industry and International Trade:

This fact has called the attention of the critics who have been arguing that the list has limited effects to the American cotton producer and to the subsidies.

The Brazilian government has argued at its end that the objective is to increase the pressure on the American Congress by finding opposing groups to cotton producer. For example, Brazilian subsidiaries of American companies are still evaluating the impact of the retaliation, but it is believed that some of them will be very much affected by it. One should take into consideration the electronics, hygiene products and foodstuff field sectors, as the Americans suffer fierce competition to conquer the Brazilian consumers. Therefore, the subsidiaries will soon start complaining to the American government and opposing strongly to the subsidies, as they will lose profits in Brazil.

Some Brazilians have argued that a heavier contender to the cotton producer would be the patent and innovation sector, especially in the pharma industries. But the government has not referred to patent limitation or IP restrictions yet; neither has it mentioned to the temporary prohibition of royalty remittances.

Is the government saving the most aggressive player for the 2nd half, like in football? Maybe, but the patent limitation runs the risk of never being called upon to the game due to the pressure of the opponent or the moment of the game. The 2nd. half will start on March 23 next when the government will render a final decision on whether or not it will use cross retaliation on American IP matters.

Till then, new rounds of negotiations are to start, but they are not set to end.

Monday, 8 March 2010

MARCH 2010: A MONTH FOR HIGH EXPECTATIONS ON IP IN BRAZIL

While Summer time slowly drifts away in Brazil, unresolved issues in 2009 recommence to arise and take most of the recent headlines. IP matters have once more been catching the attention of the Brazilian population. This is mainly due to two important events yet to be debated in this March 2010 that may affect the pharma industry and international trade.

According to the website of the Ministry of Development, Industry and International Trade, CAMEX will make public today the final list of the American products that will suffer tariff increase of up 100% of the value when imported into Brazil. The American patents affected by the WTO’s decision that allowed the Brazilian government to cross retaliate American IP rights will be also published tomorrow.

Unofficial sources state that the retaliation list of products has been reduced from 220 to 130 products, since the government wants to prevent side effects, such as the interference of importation of components and other materials in Brazil’s exportation. Further, it is believed that the retaliation will not reach the maximum amount of US$ 560 million on products and US$ 270 million on services and IP rights.

Therefore, today is a big day as the international community awaits Brazil’s final decision: Retaliate or not against the US?

March 24 is another important day for IP in Brazil. The Superior Court of Justice in Brasilia will rule about the Viagra patents. The generic pharma companies, as well as consumers, are anxiously waiting the decision on this matter. The decision may open up the possibility for local generics production. For the consumers, this could represent a price reduction of up to 50%. As a whole, this means consumer’s accessibility, increased market for the generic industries and, ultimately, big profits. The size of the Brazilian market can be partially measured by looking at the results of the Brazilian subsidiary of Pfizer: Viagra alone resulted in 2009 in a profit of around USS$ 95 million in Brazil.

Yet, the decision on Viagra is only one among others that will be rendered by the local courts in 2010 concerning patent protection. There are more than 80 medicines awaiting confirmation on patent extension under the pipeline rules. 2010 is definitely a year to pay attention to regarding Brazilian decision on IP.

Friday, 5 March 2010

A Brazilian Google?

Brazil has launched a multimedia portal. This new Government website, groups all the information and services offered by the State that can be useful both for residents and foreigners. It is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, and was considered by President Lula as a "Google Brazileño”.

The site offers content for different audiences (employees, students, entrepreneurs, press and tourists interested in visiting Brazil), but the Goverment intends to differentiate them more, for instance, according to other audiences: children, elderly, government officials and women. Moreover, the site also offers other type of division, this time according to the user interest, for example health, education, science and technology, culture, economics, sport, tourism, geography, history and environment.

President Lula said, "I think today we reached a new communication level with the Brazilian society. We are offering through the Internet all the information and the services that we have ".

You can try the new site at http://www.brasil.gov.br/

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Law against violent games and toy weapons

Early on this year, the blog announced Venezuela’s intention to ban any violent video games and toy weapons. Today, the law against this type of games enters into force throughout the national territory.

Wilmer Iglesias, a member of the national Assembly, explained that today the INDEPABIS (Institute in Defence of People's Access to Goods and Services – in other words, consumer protection institute) will begin to audit stores. He affirms that the law "strikes one of the elements that generate violence in the world."

As mentioned in the early blog, a total ban on the "manufacture, importation, distribution, sale and use" of violent video games and toy weapons will restrict the flow of products which are IP protected. I do not imply that because it is protected it should be allowed, but I wonder why such a drastic decision was taken when a more flexible one could have done the same trick, i.e. rating.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Brasil: La Iglesia Católica demanda a Columbia Pictures

La sede de la Iglesia Católica en Brasil ha demandado a Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures), compañía que creó la película ”2012”, por haber incluido imágenes del Cristo Redentor siendo golpeado y destruido por una gran ola.

Aquellos valientes que vieron la película, recordarán que llegado el momento del fin del mundo se observa como la estatua se desploma y se destruye.

Según información de la Iglesia, se denegó el permiso a Columbia para utilizar la estatua en su película, pero Columbia paso de dicha prohibición. Según la Iglesia, sus fieles dijeron haberse sentido sorprendidos por la imagen de la destrucción de este santuario que la arquidiócesis quiso preservar, de ahí la demanda.

Acaso pretenden que creamos que en caso de que llegue el fin del mundo la estatua seguirá en pie?

En fin, como Aurelius dixit, con la propiedad intelectual no nos aburrimos nunca.

Más información aquí y aquí.

Convenio contra la entrada de Mercancía Ilegal al País

El Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial (IMPI) y la Asociación de Agentes Aduanales del Aeropuerto de México, A.C. (AAADAM) refrendaron el Convenio de Cooperación y Coordinación que mantienen desde el 2009.

El interés de ambas instituciones por refrendar este convenio nace del creciente comercio internacional de mercancía pirata que, de acuerdo con el estudio de la Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económico (OECD) sobre el Impacto Económico de la Falsificación y la Piratería, en el 2005 ascendió a $200 billones de dólares.

Durante el acto, Jorge Amigo explicó que "la labor que realizan los Agentes Aduanales es de suma importancia, como coadyuvantes de las autoridades y asesores de los importadores, por lo que es necesario que conozcan la legislación aplicable en materia de propiedad intelectual y, sobre todo, su observancia en nuestro país”.

Entre los objetivos planteados en el convenio IMPI-AAADAM se encuentran:
  • El desarrollo de programas conjuntos para la colaboración en actividades de consultoría, y desarrollo de cursos, seminarios, conferencias y simposiums, orientados a difundir la propiedad intelectual.

  • Asesorías y Concientización en Materia de Propiedad Intelectual.

  • Un programa de capacitación en materia aduanera.

El texto completo del comunicado de prensa aquí.

‘Agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries’

This is the title for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United States (FAO) international conference taking place in Guadalajara, Mexico during 01 -04 March.

“The focus of modern and conventional biotechnologies should be redirected so as to benefit poor farmers in poor countries and not only rich farmers in rich countries”, FAO said on Monday. Modibo Traore, FAO Assistant Director-General adds, "at present, there is a lack of appropriate and useful technologies, policies, technical capacities, and requisite infrastructure for their development, evaluation and deployment in most developing countries."

Hopefully, the conference will give a push to major players and so developing countries can find support. The international community can help by “fostering partnerships and providing a framework for international cooperation and funding for the generation, adaptation and adoption of appropriate biotechnologies”.

For more information about the conference here.

INDECOPI tries to stop counterfeited book

A pirated version of 'La Guia de Gaston - un dato para cada antojo' (Gaston’s Guide – a note for every craving) by the renowned chef Gaston Acurio, is being marketed directly on the streets of Lima and the southern beaches in Peru. The INDECOPI, through the Directorate of Copyright, requested the intervention of the Provincial Criminal Attorneys Specializing in Intellectual Property, municipalities and the National Police to combat the reproduction, distribution and sale of this pirated version.

While I support the INDECOPI’s action, I wonder what the editor, publisher and/or the author are doing to stop the infringement of the book. There is clearly a cause of action in here, don’t you think?

Monday, 1 March 2010

México: Conocida página web cerrada por “Cyberpiratería”

La página web “Dark Ville” ha sido cerrada y su administrador puesto a disposición del Ministerio Público de la Federación.

La detención se realizó dentro del marco de acciones que realiza la autoridad para desalentar los delitos de piratería. El Ministerio Público de la Federación, en coordinación con peritos en materia de informática, electrónica y comunicaciones y elementos de la Policía Federal Ministerial aseguraron equipo de cómputo y lograron la detención de una persona en Estado de México.

En el domicilio cateado se sorprendió a una persona en la comisión del delito flagrante, previsto en el artículo 424 bis fracción I del Código Penal Federal, por lo que se ordenó su detención y traslado a las oficinas de la Unidad Especializada en Investigación de Delitos de Derecho de Autor y Propiedad Intelectual, para determinar su situación jurídica.

Según la información proporcionada por la PGR, “Dark Ville” comercializaba membresías que permiten al consumidor descargar videogramas, fonogramas y juegos de video previo pago en depósito a la cuenta bancaria propiedad del inculpado, por lo que una vez efectuado éste, se les proporcionaba una clave de acceso que les permitía realizar las descargas.

Sin lugar a dudas se trata de un buen golpe, pero ya le han salido sustitutos rápidamente

Fama de America expropriated

IP Tango has received from Richard N. Brown (De Sola Pate & Brown, Abogados) this newspaper report (from El Nacional, 24 February 2010) that the Venezuelan Government has expropriated the 120-year-old Venezuelan coffee roasting company Fama de America. According to Richard, all the company's property, including the trade mark Fama de America, has been expropriated. It appears that the government plans to export coffee under the expropriated brand.

Says Richard, "Venezuela’s government has expropriated many companies but this is the first case of expropriation for a trade mark".