Thursday, 24 March 2011

Tropicalization time in Brazil?

Is Brazil  serious IP player, or
leading the world a pretty dance?
"In Brazil And The IP World, It’s Tropicalization Time!" is the intriguing title of a piece, posted earlier this month on the excellent Intellectual Property Watch and penned by Benny Spiewak (KLA-Koury Lopes Advogados, Sao Paulo, Brazil). In the course of his narrative on the rise of Brazil he says
".   While Brazil celebrates the Carnival and the claim that it is the fifth largest economy in the world, some data-mining highlights that the Brazil may be all but relaxed when it comes to IP and knowledge-related policies. In a well-developed and absolutely focused strategy that resembles a goal-resulting soccer play, Brazil became a major stakeholder in the world’s IP and trade-related policies. From the drug transit case, which brought the BRIC’s B and I even closer, to the analysis of WHO’s relationship with the IMPACT taskforce, Brazil’s takes on IP and international trade are duly noted.

For instance, one cannot help recalling the valuable WTO decision on the longstanding upland cotton case that entitled Brazil also to seek to suspend certain obligations under the TRIPS Agreement [the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights]. The decision clearly leveraged the Brazilian position towards its commercial relationship with the US. However, instead of materializing the wishes of an angry crowd that wanted Brazil to cross-retaliate Brazil-based US IPRs, Brazil concluded with the US the so-called Framework for a Mutually Agreed Solution to the Cotton Dispute. Brazil’s position on the matter was a clear statement that Brazil is not an anti-IP guinea pig, but rather a strong strategist and consistent international player. ...

All in all, it is a fully acceptable argument that the current Brazilian position in the international arena is new, and thus, hard to measure. However, it is not commercially acceptable – and could be a mistake – to disregard Brazil’s up and coming importance, mainly in the IP field. In brief, it is Tropicalization Time. Have you tropicalized yourself already?"
A read of the full article is a persuasive affirmation of Brazil's importance in the world of IP and IP's importance to Brazil -- but there's something that troubles this blogger.  The author writes " Brazil became a major stakeholder in the world’s IP and trade-related policies" -- which is true, but the content of his article appears to support the contention that Brazil's stake is solely that of a consumer, or at best a policeman, of others' rights but not an IP rights owner itself.  One might argue that, until Brazil has as much interest in protecting its own IP as it has in consuming the IP of others, that exciting country is only an overgrown and overheated developing economy which a vested interest in staying that way.

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