Thursday, 19 February 2015

Collectives marks may develop the region - looking beyond the economic factor

The Brazilian Intellectual Property Office (INPI) has recently granted a collective mark to the ‘Associação dos Agricultores Familiares e Amigos da Comunidade de Vargem Alta’. The 17 local farmers who grow and cut flowers will be using and trading under the mark AFLORALTA. This information was previously published here.

Today the point is focused on a particular sentence that was published by INPI. The collective marks was granted to farmers in the community Vargem Alta in the state of Espiritu Santo with a population of 19.130 habitants. According to INPI, this collective mark is aimed to the “reconstruction and development of the region.”

Image result for collective people
Indeed, one can acknowledge that a collective mark is a ‘club asset’ shared by a group who act on a specific territory in the production of a good and/or service. In this particular case the group consist of farmers operating in the territory of Vargem Alta. But, would the collective mark develop the region? Are we just talking about economic growth?

Vast literature covers educated economic analysis of collective trade marks and geographical indication protection. In a nutshell we can establish that collective marks and/or GI do not guarantee an economic success –that is a fact. The success depend on many other things, such as reputation of the good, dynamics of the group, market structure, strategies, etc. Added to this, it could be argued that when you come from a small community a collective mark and/or GI could have a cultural impact – this goes beyond the economic effect. Whether you are a producer or a consumer, you start to be more aware of the goods and do try to preserve and maintain the value of the intangible – the name that reflects not just the good, but the community.

Would a collective mark then reconstruct and develop the region? I believe yes - of course my thought is not based on economics. A collective mark may help to provide recognition to traditional production methods and could promote conservation of natural vegetation. It is therefore argued that a collective mark may reflect a strong link between a good and culture and this at the end benefit rural development.

Do you believe that INPI's sentence refer to economic growth or cultural value?


Anonymous said...

Actually these collective marks could have very negative impacts in the communities, mainly related with their culture. In the real world, so in the daily life practice in Latinamerica the benefits of these collective marks are just for few members of the community and IP law firms, many members of the community are in fact suffering bad consequences (cultural and economic) of the granting and management of these rights.

Patricia Covarrubia said...

Anonymous, would you be so kind as to provide some examples and literature on this issue? I was recently invited to give a conference in this area and while I do agree that marks and GIs are not for everyone, it would be important to me to have some data from Latin America. I have already got hold from a case in Peru re. potatoes(ie Potato Park).Thanks

Anonymous said...

I think in Mexico you can find many cases,