Tuesday, 25 May 2010

United Nations (UN) addressed Colombia in IP matters

The UN Committee that monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, warned Colombia about the negative effects that a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) can have.

The UN advised (today 25th) that the Colombian authorities should review the points referring to the IP to ensure that prices of commodities such as medicines are affordable to low-income people. The UN was referring in particular to the FTA between Colombia and the United States which according to the news may have negative effects on the population's poorest country and it is the duty of the government to protect these areas.

I wonder what the UN saw in this FTA that did not see in the one recently signed between the US and Colombia-Peru. As far as I can see (please let me know if you notice something different) the protection of pharmaceutical product - patents & related processes and the period of test data exclusivity are pretty much the same in both FTAs. So, if they are, then the UN advice should consider this new FTA, don’t you think?

The FTA between the US and Colombia can be read here, and for the FTA-draft between the EU and Colombia-Peru click here.

I am off to the US for the Law and Society Association Annual Conference where I will be delivering a paper. I hope I can see you there and if not, I hope I can bring you some news (or two).

Friday, 21 May 2010

Argentina: Frenar el plagio, con plagio?

Si, así de incongruente es la noticia que nos llega desde Argentina.

Resulta que el diputado kirchnerista por Tucumán, Gerónimo Vargas Aignasse, presentó el pasado 6 de mayo de 2010 un proyecto de ley para endurecer las penas de quienes cometan plagio.

Hasta ahí todo bien, pero el diputado cometió un importante error, pues resulta que parte del texto que propuso está copiado íntegramente de la famosa enciclopedia virtual Wikipedia. Increíble pero cierto. Lo peor es que parece que no es la primera vez que lo hace.

Al legislador le vendría bien conocer primero del tema del que piensa hablar antes de hacerlo.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Regional and global policies – access to medicines

Thanks to Judit Rius Sanjuan, Attorney, Knowledge Ecology International for giving the IP tango blog access to the Declaration signed by civil Society organisations from Latin America, the European Union and the US which came together for a meeting in Quito (Ecuador), to discuss access to medicines.

The document starts as follows:
Organizations of the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) - Global Alliance for Access to Medicines reaffirm their commitment to work to ensure universal access to medicines, in the belief that medicines are enabling factors for the full exercise of the right to life. The LAC –Global Alliance has identified old and new policies and processes, some of which enable access to medicines, while others sustain commercial privileges that become obstacles to the achievement of public interest outcomes. Access to medicines should not be subordinated to commercial interests.

There were several issues that were dealt with in the decision but some of them are:
1.- Praising Ecuador’s recent decision to issue a compulsory license for Kaletra (lopinavir + ritonavir), a key medicine in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. It also welcomes the measure taken by the Colombia’s government by issuing Decree 1313 which authorizes parallel import.
2.- Rejecting ACTA because this agreement would limit the production and free movement of legitimate generic products.
3.- Expressing concern about TRIPS-plus and TRIPS-extra provisions. In the same vein, it rejects any pressure in negotiations for bilateral agreements which may represent negative effects on public health and patients’ rights. Specifically, it alerts Latin American governments of new provisions for intellectual property protection such as patent extensions, longer periods of data exclusivity, and enforcement measures.

The full Decision can be read here in English, and here in Spanish.

Note: while measures like compulsory licenses and parallel imports enable countries to expand access to medicines I am a little bit wary about compulsory licenses. The situation is that the majority of Latin American countries have Corruption Perceptions Index which are extremely high and added to this, governments appear to be using this measure to fulfill political aims. There need to be a better balance, don't you think?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

VI European Union-Latin America and the Caribbean: the Madrid summits

By tomorrow we expect two mayor events. The European Commission officials and ministers of the Central American countries have been negotiating in Madrid the details of another trade agreement. This morning the ‘nacion’ newspaper announced that the six Central American countries and the European Union has finished negotiating after an exchange of positions that kept awake the representatives of the two blocks. They intend to announce the final agreement on Wednesday. Also tomorrow the EU's trade agreements with Colombia and Peru will be signed. Meanwhile, MERCOSUR is resuming talks with the EU.

Definitely, May has been the month for FTA between EU and Latin America. I am waiting to see the draft of the FTA between Central America countries with the EU since the one between EU and Peru-Colombia regarding Geographical Indications was a rip off!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Software piracy rate: a see-saw effect?

A software study regarding the rate of illegal software showed a slight drop in some Latin America countries but also showed a rise in others. The study sponsored by Business Software Alliance (BSA), illustrates that even though a change in user behaviour is seen, this is not enough. Losses due to software piracy in Latin America have increased, from $4,311 million in 2008 to $6,210 million in 2009. This is so, because while there is a decline in percentage, the local market has growth – greater access to technology.

Venezuela, Paraguay, Bolivia, El Salvador and Nicaragua appear on the list ‘top 30 Highest Piracy Rates in 2009’. The Latin America region is the third with the highest use of illegal software.

Argentina, Brazil and Costa Rica are among the countries that have steadily decreased the rate of illegal software by more than 5% over the past five years (on the contrary, Venezuela has increased it by 5%).

The full report can be read here (in English – for a change!). You can also download the info by country - click here.

An early post covering only Mexico here.

Friday, 14 May 2010

The US Reporting on IPRs - the Watch List

The "Special 301 Report" issued by the Representative Office of U.S. Foreign Trade (USTR), has been published. This report provides a level of effectiveness of U.S. trading partners’ protection of intellectual property rights (IPR).

For this year report, USRR considered 77 trading partners and placed 41 countries on the Priority Watch List, Watch List, or the Section 306 monitoring list.

On the Priority Watch List are those countries that do not provide an adequate level of IPR protection or enforcement, they are China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, and Venezuela.

As you can see, Chile is included (for the fourth consecutive year) in the Priority Watch List which means that its efforts and improvements in the IP area have not been good enough. Note that a few weeks ago this blog reported that Chile was off the IP Red List in the EU.

Others Latin America countries that are in the report but on the lower-level Watch List are: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.

Finally, Paraguay is on the section 306 monitoring list.

Here for the full report.

México: Usa un 60% de software pirata

El estudio Mundial de Piratería elaborado por el grupo Businnes Software Alliance (BSA) reveló que durante el año 2009 la tasa de uso de software ilegal en México se ubicó en un 60%. Lo cual representa unas pérdidas económicas de mil millones 56 mil dólares.

Según el estudio de la BSA, por cada 100 dólares de software legal vendido (en México) en 2009, otros 75 dólares fueron software pirata.

Los factores que llevan al incremento de las tasas de piratería incluyen el rápido crecimiento del mercado de consumidores de computadoras personales y una mayor actividad sobre la base de computadoras viejas, donde el software sin licencia prevalece junto a sofisticados recursos de piratería.

Uno de los esfuerzos de la BSA para la promoción de un mundo digital seguro y legal durante el último año fue la creación del primer portal para la denuncia de piratería de software en América Latina: Basta de pirateria.

Esta plataforma es un espacio para denunciar la piratería en América Latina y al mismo tiempo incentivar la participación de los usuarios de computadores para reducir la ilegalidad del software y de esta manera reafirmar el respeto frente a la propiedad intelectual y los derechos de autor.

De acuerdo con los resultados, México figuró entre los 17 países que incrementaron sus indicadores de uso de software ilegal un 1.0%. En la misma lista figuran otros países como Alemania, Dinamarca, Austria, Irlanda, Italia e Israel.

Chile. Asociación Ilícita y Propiedad Intelectual

La piratería genera externalidades negativas para las empresas, los consumidores y el estado. En efecto, a los primeros les diluye la fuerza distintiva, el valor comercial y publicitario de sus marcas, mientras que a los segundos les genera un impacto perjudicial para su salud y patrimonios, especialmente en sectores como el farmacéutico, eléctrico y tabacalero.

Los estados se ven también afectados por este flagelo al ver mermados sus ingresos tributarios por la evasión que genera la piratería por un lado, y por el otro deben lidiar con el aumento del gasto público que implica el combate al crimen organizado de la piratería.

En este sentido resulta una buena noticia que la Ley 20.435 que modifica la Ley 17.336 sobre Propiedad Intelectual haya incorporado una agravante a los actos de piratería, cuando el responsable de los delitos haya formado parte de una agrupación o reunión de personas para cometer los mismos, sin necesariamente incurrir en los delitos de asociación ilícita tipificados en el artículo 292 del Código Penal y otras leyes especiales.

Es sabido que la piratería nunca se ha podido combatir adecuadamente recurriendo al delito de asociación ilícita puesto que su tipo penal describe una conducta que es muy difícil de probar, ya que como reconoce la Corte Suprema (sentencia de fecha 19 de noviembre de 2002 - rol Nº 1183-02): “…el delito de asociación ilícita contemplado en la Ley 19.366 debe estar constituida por dos o mas personas cuyas voluntades convergen para constituir un cuerpo organizado jerárquicamente, dirigido por uno o mas jefes, con reglas y directivas que deben acatar y hacer cumplir disciplinadamente (entre ellas el sigilo), con carácter mas o menos permanente en el tiempo, con la finalidad de cometer uno o mas de los delitos que contempla la ley 19.366.”

En consecuencia, cabe manifestar que esta reforma genera una agravante que constituye un desincentivo importante para los piratas, ya que permite castigar con mayor rigor punitivo a los individuos que se agrupen o reúnan para cometer los ilícitos que la ley describe, sin tener que recurrir al exigente artículo 292 del Código Penal.

Prepared by Rafael Pastor (Abogado de Baker & McKenzie, Chile), posted by Gilberto.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Colombia: Parallel import of Pharmaceuticals

There are certain rules that permit parallel import but this depends on the importing nation’s treatment of exhaustion of IPRs. Colombia seems to prevent parallel imports of pharmaceutical unless they are listed in the ‘Compulsory Health Plan’. However, later news from Colombia informs us that it appears that it will be possible to allow the importation of medicines without permission from the manufacturers which are not in the Compulsory Health Plan. The Colombia’s Government announces that this measure is to get them at lower prices.

The newspaper El Tiempo informs that this measure has started to show results since Products Roche SA (subsidiary of Roche Holding Ltd) has offered to reduce the prices of nine of its medicines. To this effect, the Ministry excluded these drugs from the list of subject of parallel imports, but left the door open to come to this facility if the prices increase again.

There is also another solution to high prices – compulsory licenses. However, I speculate that parallel imports are a good arrangement since Colombia is getting what its needed – to lower the price of pharmaceuticals.

Brazil Takes the EU to the WTO Settlement Dispute: Generic Drugs on the Agenda


It has been reported that yesterday Brazil and India have launched separate formal complaints at the WTO against the EU’s policy towards seizure of generic drugs manufactured in India.

One may wonder: What has Brazil to do with this matter? Isn’t it India that manufactures the generic drugs and exports them everywhere? Have not been the Indian pharma companies who suffered in the last two years with more than 18 seizures in the EU ports? The answer to all these questions is: Yes! Nevertheless, the Brazilian market has been the final destination to a great quantity of generic drugs coming from India.

The conflicts involving Brazil started back in November/December 2009 when a shipment of 500 kilos of the generic drug Losartan® was seized at the Rotterdam port. The cargo left India with Brazil as its final destination, but had a stop over at the Rotterdam Port. Soon after the Dutch customs authorities realized that the generic drugs manufactured in India had existing valid patents for Losartan® in the EU, they informed the company that holds the patents for that drug - Merck Sharp & Dohme - which quickly obtained an injunction to restrain the importation transit procedure.

The cargo was after released and sent back to India, not to Brazil. The Brazilian government did not like it and argued that Merck did not hold patents for the Losartan® either in Brazil or India. India has also informed that such shipment and others did not violate the TRIPS Agreement. On the other hand, the EU authorities highlighted their fight against piracy and illegal drugs.

At first, the involved parties will initiate Consultation proceedings at the WTO, so as to reach an amicable solution. If an amicable settlement is not reached, official WTO judges will examine the case and render a final decision. In the meantime, countries such as Peru, Nigeria and Colombia are patiently waiting the outcome of this dispute, since they are also regular importers of Indian generic drugs. Indian companies, at their end, have decided to move away from EU ports and may use the Panama Canal instead. As to Brazil, importation will continue since the government’s view is that they are not breaking any rules.

Further developments on this matter are, indeed, worth being watched.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Colombia: Court dismisses lawsuit against Garcia Marquez and his brother

The Ninth Circuit Civil Court in Barranquilla (Colombia) has dismissed a lawsuit filed sixteen (16) years ago against Gabriel García Márquez and his deceased brother Eligio Garcia, by a person who inspired two of their books.

The lawsuit was filed in 1994 by Miguel Reyes Palencia, born in the department of Sucre, and whose story inspired the book 'Chronicle of a Death Foretold' by Gabriel García Márquez and 'The third death of Santiago Nasar' by Eligio García. Miguel Reyes Palencia, claims to be "Bayardo San Román" in the two stories. Therefore, according to the lawsuit, he demanded to be paid 50 percent of the benefits of the books and films to compensate moral damage caused by the reported incident.

Reyes Palencia inspired the story of Bayardo San Roman, a fictional character who marries a young woman. The story was inspired by an actual event which happened on January 21, 1951, when, in their nuptial bed, Bayardo San Román (Reyes), discovers that his wife (Angela in the book) was not a virgin and the next day returned her to her parents. Angela's brothers stabbed 'Santiago Nasar' to avenge the loss of their sister’s honour.

In his opinion the judge found that while the story is based on real events it is a literal production “which involves a number of legendary figures." She also adds that the “honour of the applicant has not been affected by the writers for the publication of the novels...because the incident was widely known for 30 years or so ". Moreover, the applicant cannot access to the profit sharing of the works because he was neither the author nor the co-author of them.

According to the story, Angela's brothers' lawyer saw the act as “homicide in legitimate defense of honor,” which was upheld by the court. Perhaps, Mr Reyes was expecting the same luck.

In 1982 García Márquez, famous for his book 'One Hundred Years of Solitude', won a Nobel Prize for Literature.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

How much exactly is worth in economic terms, copyright business in Peru?

There is always the statement that IPRs has an enormous value to the national economy. To this effect theWorld Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the National Institute for the Defence of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) has decided to measure the value that comes from the protection of copyright in Peru. The study, entitled "Economic Contribution of the industries based on copyright in Peru," and run by the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, shows that the industries based on copyright do represent an important contribution to the national economy – well not rocket science.

However, what I like about the study is the fact that it gives numbers. According to the document, by 2005 the contribution of the copyright industry accounted for 2.67% of the national total. The study compares this industry with other such as the financial sector (accounted 2.56%), the economy of rental housing (2.98%), finance (2.56%), electricity and water (2.25%), communications (2.0%) upon others.

Adding to this, the study also shows that the copyright industry contribution of employment was 4.5% (nearly 600.000 jobs). Imports also contributed on the economy: it reached U.S. $ 652 billion in 2005, i.e. 5.4% of total imports of the country.

Certainly, this type of studies stimulates citizens so as to receive the benefits of the system – not only economic ones but also cultural and social.

There is no doubt that copyright represents an improvement in the national economy. The only thing that I question is that we are in 2010, so why the data from 2005? While it is good to see that data reveals the importance of copyright and its protection, I would like to see the contribution of this sector in recent years; or is it that is has decreased?

It is good to clarify that by copyright industry, the study included press and literature, music, film, radio and television, as well as software and advertising.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Brazil World Cup and Olympics

Last week, the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU) in Brazil launched two websites for the disclosure of expenditures and contracts relating to: first the 2014 World Cup and second, the Olympics in 2016.

It is reported that the tools “will allow the citizens a more effective control of spending the public resources invested”. This is so, according to the source, because through the websites all bids, contracts and projects will be available. Thus, any citizen who identifies any irregularity in the proceedings may make a complaint.

I cannot wait to start watching this. I honestly cannot believe that we will witness the ‘battle of the brands’. Who will be the higher bidder? Pepsi or Coca-cola; Adidas, Reebok or Nike; Visa or American Express; or are we going to see a national bidder or a Mercosur one like Coca-colla (from Bolivia)?

In the same line, Brazil and England signed on May 6, in Rio de Janeiro, an agreement that will allow exchanging information on the organization of the Olympic Games. As you know, any city that holds the Olympic Games needs to sign a contract between the International Committee and the Authority o the country and its Olympic Association. In this contract not only the general planning of the games are set up but all requirements including intellectual property rights.

Usually, the majority of the income of the operating budget comes from official sponsorship and marketing. Thus, to reassure official sponsors and commercial partners that their investment is worthwhile there is a set of rules (an Act) that must be introduced. For example, London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games is the one that grants exclusive rights to official sponsors, licensees and partner to use Olympic IPRs and to associate themselves with the games. To this effect they are also responsible for protecting the official brands in the UK. Special laws have been passed to give extra protection to some of the Games' Marks (Protection Act 1995 (OSPA)) not only protecting the Olympic and Paralympics’ symbols, mottos and various words; but also a more specific legislation that prevents the creation of an unauthorised association between people, goods or services and London 2012 (the ‘2006 Act’).

Brazil has already passed the Olympic Act (Law no 12035/2009) but I just wonder whether they are already working on a more specific legislation regarding the protection of brands.

A moment ago I remembered an old advertisement for the Winter Olympics at Lillehammer in 1994. The ad was promoted by American Express and the official sponsor was VISA. The ad went like this: ‘if you are travelling to Lillehammer, you’ll need a passport, but you do not need a VISA’. That is just classic!

Friday, 7 May 2010

What does go on when you have tango dancers together?

As mentioned in this blog, last Monday part of the IP tango bloggers were working together in a seminar. It was nice indeed to put a face to my cyber colleagues and I was not disappointed (a blind date that did not got wrong!)

The seminar, organized by Aurelio Lopez-Tarruella Martinez and LVCENTIVIS (Alicante University), took place in the beautiful settings of Alicante. The theme was “The protection of Industrial and Intellectual Property Rights in Free Trade Agreements”. The audience was a mixture of practitioners, officers, academics and students.

The seminar was divided in two parts: first Aurelio and myself presented two papers chaired by Eli Salis:
1.- The Processes of economic integration and free trade agreements in Latin America (Aurelio).
2.- Extending the coverage of geographical indications - the EU strategy in the Andean countries (Patricia).

The second part of the seminar was moderated by Dr Ricardo Antequera-Parilli from the firm Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez - recognized as the leading IP firm in Venezuela for the second year in a row by Chambers & Partners.

Following the same string, brave students presented seven papers. There were a variety of topics: five papers targeted particular IP issues (mostly patent, copyright and trade mark) in a named Latin America country; two other papers gave us a more general idea of FTA from the European and United States perspective.

I would like to give you a taste of what happen in there.

Clearly putting together three tangoneros (2 presenting and the other one (Gilberto) observing) and an audience full of Latin American and European people and one American, talking about trade, IP negotiations and legislations, dominant positions, politics and even colonization was expected to be a really hot debate. Thankfully, the moderator reminds us that it was not a ‘dialogue’ (the change of ideas was becoming extremely sizzling I have to admit).

What did happen inside the room?
After the delivery of the paper, Aurelio quite politely started the debate by saying that he sensed ‘frustration’ from the speeches. I could not agree more. The situation is very simple: we feel that at the IP -table of negotiations our countries fail(ed) to truly negotiate! We appear to put aside our ‘creation, innovation’ for better quotas in foodstuff– bananas, beef, sugar and so on. Aurelio then suggested that we should be more ‘regionalist’ as the MERCOSUR is doing. I totally disagreed. I believe that what is happening with this Block is not about being regionalist but it is more about bureaucracy and politics. We need a way to promote agriculture, biodiversity, science, and also culture.

Students also participate for both bands (sort of speak). Should we follow the leaning of the BRIC? Are we the same? At the end of the date, yes we are all developing countries, but as one of the students argued, we cannot compare for example Costa Rica with China – so, we are not equal. Another student suggested that we do not negotiate but we do as we are told: “if they ask us to jump, we do it!” uh?Are we puppets?

Ricardo Antequera remarked the fact that Latin American countries IP legislation appear to become more Anglo-Saxon due to bilateral agreements negotiated with the US. Is this good? The situation is that the change of legislation appears to be something that the Latin American countries are doing due to imposition rather that conviction.

To answer the question written in the title I will say that while the dancers were thinking of different moves, yet the dance was a joyful one.

Finally, I would like to finish this report by thanking Aurelio for the opportunity given. I also would like to thanks the students, moderators and the audience for keeping the room really warm in a windy/rainy day.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Materiales - Seminario la Propiedad intelectual en los TLCs en América Latina


SEMINARIO

LA PROTECCIÓN DE LA PROPIEDAD INDUSTRIAL E INTELECTUAL EN LOS TRATADOS DE LIBRE COMERCIO EN AMERICA LATINA

Universidad de Alicante, 3 de mayo 2010


Los ponentes y comunicantes del seminario ponen sus presentaciones a disposición de los usuarios de IP Tango

Ponencias

“Introducción: Propiedad intelectual y Tratados de Libre Comercio en América Latina”
Aurelio Lopez-Tarruella Martinez (Universidad de Alicante)

“Ampliación de la cobertura de las indicaciones geográficas - la estrategia de la UE en los países andinos”
Patricia Covarrubia (Brunel University, Londres)


Comunicaciones

1. “APC Colombia - Estados Unidos: Asuntos relevantes en materia de Patentes”
Natalia Franco/Mónica Restrepo/Carolina Calderón (Colombia)

2. “Los retos de la implementación de las disposiciones sobre derechos de autor y observancia de los derechos del CAFTA-DR en Costa Rica”
Francisco Gómez Fonseca (Costa Rica)

3. "Las modificaciones sufridas en la normativa dominicana sobre patentes y marcas a partir de la entrada en vigor del DR-CAFTA"
Taidi Muñoz (República Dominicana)

4. “Acción de Aduanas en el marco de Acuerdos Internacionales. Experiencia de la Republica Dominicana con el DR-CAFTA”
Carlos Atiles (República Dominicana)

5. “Panamá negocia”
Isabel Guizado (Panamá)

6. “La protección de la propiedad intelectual en los TLCs desde la perspectiva de los Estados Unidos”
Ryan Cobb (USA)

7. “TLC Colombia/Perú – UE: propiedad intelectual, biodiversidad y salud”.
Gloria Folguera (España)/Ruben Marano (Italia)

Honduras grants Denomination of Origin ‘tequila’ to Mexico

Tequila the oldest denomination of origin (DO) in Latin America has been successfully registered at the Patent and Trade Mark Office in Honduras.

Honduras is a Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) forms part of its domestic legislation. To this effect, the Honduran Law on Industrial Property, Decree No. 12-99-E affords protection in the form of denomination of origin, and prohibits the use, in the trading of goods, of a false or misleading appellation of origin.

Note that Honduras has one single protection regime for geographical indications, contained in the Industrial Property Law, Decree No. 12-99-E, mainly Chapter V, Articles 123 to 133, and Decree No. 16-2006, the Law to Implement the Free Trade Agreement between the Dominican Republic, Central America and the United States, Section III, Articles 14 and 15.

No more than one domestic DO has been registered: MARCALA, for coffee grown in a particular geographical area of Honduras.

This year two Tequila's drink were awarded golden and silver medals for spirit drinks by the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Others countries where this DO has been registered are: Canada, UE, China, Ecuador and Uruguay.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Telefonica redefines its brand

The telecommunication company has begun a ‘unification of trade marks for its telephone services, mobile and fixed, Internet and television’. From now on, all its services will be identified by the trade mark ‘Movistar’ accompanied by the type of service e.g. Movistar TV.

The initiate is starting in Spain and it will be followed by its markets in Chile, Colombia and Peru. This will see the end of local trade marks such as ‘Telecom’ in Colombia and ‘Cable Magico’ in Peru.

Movistar is placed at 60th by Millward Brown Optimor - it has recently published the ranking of the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands (here).

Ecuador licenses ritonavir patent to local distributor

In an earlier post ("Ecuador's compulsory licensing regime for medicines", here), IP Tango referred to Ecuador's Decree 118 -- the mechanism for granting compulsory licences in respect of patented medicines for both commercial and non-commercial used.

Writing for Intellectual Property Watch last month, Catherine Saez reports that the first such compulsory licence has now been granted. The product in question is ritonavir, an antiretroviral drug for which Abbott Laboratories hold the patent. The licensee is Indian generics company Cipla's local distributor, Eskegroup SA, and the compulsory licence will run until the expiry date of the patent, 30 November 2014.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Blurring, tarnishment, intent-to-use in Puerto Rico

"New legislation streamlines trademark regime", an article on International Law Office by Eugenio J Torres-Oyola (Ferraiuoli Torres Marchand & Rovira) summarises the trade mark regime operating in Puerto Rico following the passage into law of Act 169 of 16 December 2009. Something of a jurisprudential hybrid, Act 169 incorporates elements of the previous local trade mark statute, the US Lanham Act and the Model State Trade Mark Act.

Among other things, Act 169 introduces into local law some explicit provisions to deal with infringement through blurring and tarnishment, as well as stipulating that the registration of a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to a registered trade mark will be an infringement.

Greater protection is offered for registered intent-to-use trade marks, though a statement of use must be filed in the fifth year following registration. However, a trade mark will now be considered to have been abandoned after three years of non-use.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Costa Rica: rechazo el recurso de inconstitucionalidad contra leyes de implementación de CAFTA


La Sala V del Tribunal Constitucional costarricense ha rechazado el recurso de inconstitucionalidad presentado por los diputados del Partido de Acción Ciudadano contra una serie de medidas legislativas destinadas a implementar el Tratado de Libre Comercio con Estados Unidos, CAFTA-DR.

Este rechazo permitirá al gobierno de Oscar Arias terminar de implementar los últimos proyectos de Ley necesarios para adecuar la legislación costarricense a dicho Tratado. En particular, dichos proyectos afectan a materias de propiedad intelectual:

- Proyecto reforma la Ley de Derechos de Autor y Derechos Conexos.

- Ley de Procedimientos de Observancia de los Derechos de Propiedad Intelectual.

- Ley de Información no divulgada.

El próximo 8 de mayo, el gobierno someterá el proyecto a segundo debate legislativo para ratificar el expediente que los diputados habían aprobado el 23 de marzo.