Tuesday, 29 September 2015

How explicit a logo can be?

Checking the Peruvian newspaper La Republica, I encountered with the recent registration (No 618011-2015) of the word mark ‘Guti’  and its respective logo in Class 10 of the Nice classification system (including in particular: hygienic rubber articles). The registration refers to condoms under the sub-title product. Now so far so good….but wait…who is Guti? What is the logo?

Image result for guti condom
INDECOPI
Guty Carrera is a famous Peruvian model who has participated in modelling for underwear labels; he also has participated in reality tv shows, and even took part in a campaign celebrating the International Condom Day aiming to encourage the responsible use of condoms reducing sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. He is renowned as a love rat and his lovers claim that he is ‘gifted’, alluding to his manhood. Then, appreciating Guty’s story we acknowledge the clever use of the ‘t’ in the logo.

The analysis comes towards Art 135 of Decision 486 CAN referring to signs that are not capable of been registered. In this case Art 135(p) refers to signs that are contrary to public order and morality. Is the logo against morals? This simple question open a Pandora box: who can actually determine if a sign breaches the public order and morality clause? Should it be a centralized definition of what is to be caught under this bar? In reality we open the debate:  what is considered to be profane or vulgar? The beauty of this blog is that we come from different backgrounds, religion, sexual orientations, ages (and eras) and what can be moral to me, it may be vulgar to you (or vice versa).

The logo

Is the logo vulgar? Offensive? Objectionable? One need to analyse who will be expose to the logo.  While the logo may contain quite a ‘graphic’ representation, it may be approved (as it was). Q&A go in the line that children and elderly are not the target market; they are not sold in toys shops; tv advertisements would be limited. A mere offence to a section of the public cannot be enough to bar a sign from registration. It has to be something that causes outrage, or it is considered by the society that it is against social values. In this case, the logo has sexual implications but it works for the goods applied for. A different story would be if the logo is for clothing, don’t you agree?

Friday, 25 September 2015

La anomia marcaria


La OAMI ha publicado el informe The economic cost of IPR infringement in sports goods donde nos habla del coste económico de la infracción de derechos de propiedad intelectual en el sector de artículos deportivos con pérdidas de ingresos para la industria, merma de empleos e impacto en las finanzas públicas, atribuyendo estos efectos a la presencia de productos falsificados en el mercado.

Este tipo de informes periódicos arrojan casi siempre similares resultados, lo que nos lleva a dos cuestiones: ¿Es la propiedad intelectual un bloque normativo de observancia más débil que otros? ¿Es la falsificación de productos un tipo de infracción que no tiene sanción social?

Uno de los rasgos de la moral es la autonomía manifestada por la aceptación de las normas por sus propios méritos, y no por haber sido dictadas por alguna autoridad, o por las circunstancias particulares en que deben ser aplicadas. No obstante, gran parte de nuestras acciones no tienen eficacia propia, sino como parte de prácticas sociales enmarcadas en un telón de fondo institucional. Una de esas acciones es el respeto a las normas de propiedad intelectual y más precisamente a las normas marcarias y de diseño.

En ese campo de acción (y principalmente de omisión) es perceptible a diario un constante incumplimiento del jus prohibendi marcario sin visos de sanción social. Es lo que podríamos denominar la anomia marcaria.

El término anomia es un concepto de raíz sociológica popularizado por Durkheim, aunque su sentido no es unívoco. Se puede entender – como lo hace Nino- como la falta de respeto a las normas. Y este desdén normativo, en sus distintos niveles, tiene agregadamente una incidencia directa en los niveles de productividad, eficiencia y crecimiento. Seguir leyendo...

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

En Chile ratifican por un nuevo período a Maximiliano Santa Cruz a la cabeza del INAPI

De acuerdo con la Ley Orgánica Constitucional Nº 20.254 de 2008 el Director Nacional del INAPI es el Jefe Superior del Servicio dependiente del Ministerio de Economía, Fomento y Turismo, y tiene la calidad de funcionario de la exclusiva confianza del Presidente de la República, y designado por éste. Tiene la calidad de alto directivo público, de conformidad con las normas pertinentes de la ley Nº 19.882, y le corresponde administrar, controlar y velar por el cumplimiento de los fines del Instituto. Para este cargo ha sido ratificado don Maximiliano Santa Cruz Scantlebury para un tercer período. Este nombramiento tiene lugar a casi un año de cumplirse la designación de INAPI como Autoridad Internacional de Patentes (ISA) por la Organización Mundial de la Propiedad Intelectual (OMPI). Hasta la fecha, INAPI en su rol de autoridad ISA, ha recibido 132 solicitudes internacionales PCT. 

El funcionario recién ratificado es un abogado de 45 años que le ha correspondido impulsar el proyecto de la nueva Ley de Propiedad Industrial, que busca reemplazar la actual normativa, vigente en Chile desde 1991. Durante el presente año INAPI llamó a una consulta pública sobre Estrategia Nacional de PI, a fin de recoger ideas y propuestas que apunten a mejorar el sistema. Además en los seis años anteriores el INAPI lanzó la plataforma de servicios en línea, que en la práctica permite la casi total tramitación de marcas y patentes vía internet; se trasladó a su nuevo edificio; lanzó InapiProyecta, plataforma con casi 20 herramientas para aprender, usar y transferir PI, además de ser una comunidad con alrededor de 3.000 usuarios inscritos; funciona con expedientes digitales; lanzó el programa Sello bajo el cual ya se han creado 16 denominaciones de origen; publicó las primeras directrices de marcas y de patentes; y es un activo participante en el sistema nacional de innovación.

Fuente: Francisco Carrasco/ Área de Comunicaciones INAPI

Monday, 14 September 2015

Symposium: Geographical Indications in the EU -- Policy aspects and future regulation

Image result for geographical indicationStarting a new week and I am still not able to detach from a symposium that I attended last week. The reason could be that the high standard of the speakers and the friendly debate have woken up my Latin passion. While I am not an expert on GI, I followed every single speaker with such an understanding and desire that I may have found my topic for years to come [watch up Nick!]

Image result for geographical indicationYet, you may wonder why I am covering GI in the EU since this blog is dedicated to Latin America. Well, for a start I was invited to speak in the symposium (I am not sure why if as I said I am not an expert on GI) but it was not until the end of the debate that I realised a key point (I will come to this later on). The majority of speakers while assessing the situation in the EU some extended as to cover international law, bilateral trade agreements, and the basic understanding of what is protected and why, and thus, relevant to any other jurisdiction. Generally, speakers when covering GIs provided opinions on: territorial development and the creation of public goods (Dev Gangjee – University of Oxford)); the principle of coexistence between trade marks and GIs (Gail Evans – Queen Mary University of London); insight field work and stories from farmers and the registration process (Funda Lancaster DEFRA); consumer confusion (Vito Rubino - Universita del Piemonte Orientale); the controversies between EU legislation and national protection (Nicola Coppola aka Nick – University of Bournemouth); the protection of non-agricultural products (Natasha Chick – UK IPO); and the Lisbon system and the Geneva Act (Matteo Gragnani - WIPO). While the speakers focused on these issues there were also some comments or remarks noting sustainable development, know-how, and biodiversity. Actually there were two questions from the audience that were identifying cultural heritage (one coming from a heritage consultant). By writing this remarks you can just grasp the different approaches that one system (GI) may have.

Image result for geographical indication aguadeno hatI was the last speaker and been not an expert on the area I was getting nervous by the minute. My topic was the protection of non-agricultural products in Latin America and perhaps what I brought to the table was something that maybe was not fully addressed by the previous speakers i.e. to preserve and safeguard culture. The point been that while it is important to ‘protect’ meaning preventing unauthorised or inappropriate use (IP negative right), it is also important to connect this protection to conservation of biological diversity and the rights of indigenous peoples. As I undertook to cover Latin America I gave examples from Brazil, Panama, the Andeans countries and Chile. I also indicated that GIs are not for everyone and gave the example of ‘chulucanas’ in Peru (see Rosemary Coombe). Other jurisdictions use IPs as a way to improve their quality of life (trade mark: Coopa Roca (Brazil)); or helping to reconstruct a region (Collective marks: Afloralta (Brazil)); adding value -tourism (Sello de Marca (Chile)); while for example Panama is using a specific sui generis right that helps protecting non-agricultural products GIs. Another issue that I needed to put across was that in some of the Latin American GI’s systems, the product/service become part of the goods of a nation i.e. become state property. This is an important issue since there exists amongst farmers, artisans and indigenous peoples mistrust -- resulting in having less GIs and more collective marks or nothing at all. Many of you may believe that actually when covering cultural heritage the IP regime is actually not appropriate at all, I may be of the same thought, however it is important to realise that for some products, it has helped. It has helped communities into social unity and it has helped us as citizens/consumers to create a sense of pride.

Indeed the conference raised a number of fascinating questions and I thank Nick for putting this symposium all together and for the generous sponsors that made it a reality (Grana Padano and CIIPM).

Friday, 11 September 2015

Jornada sobre Propiedad Intelectual en Latinoamérica para PYMES


El próximo lunes 28 de septiembre, las PYMEs europeas interesadas en conocer cómo gestionar su Propiedad Intelectual en América Latina tendrán ocasión de ahondar en la materia de la mano del Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk.

El proyecto, de financiación europea, desarrollará en colaboración con la Cámara de Comercio, Industria y Servicios de Madrid un taller sobre las particularidades de la PI en Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, México y Perú bajo el título “Propiedad Intelectual en Latinoamérica: recomendaciones y experiencias”.

La jornada está dirigida a todas aquellas empresas con interés en hacer negocios en América Latina. En ella se explicarán las principales cuestiones relativas a la protección de propiedad intelectual e industrial en el momento de acometer su proceso de Internacionalización en estos países.

Tras las ponencias las empresas tendrán la oportunidad de concertar una reunión individual con alguno de los expertos del Latin America IPR Helpdesk para recibir asesoramiento gratuito en cuestiones relacionadas con la protección de los activos de Propiedad Intelectual.

La participación es gratuita, pero las plazas, limitadas.

Más información aquí. Agenda aquí. Inscripciones aquí.

Monday, 7 September 2015

CADE rules in Eli Lilly Sham Litigation

Here's a guest post from our Brazilian friend Magda Voltolini, on the topic of what is termed "sham litigation" -- and which can be explained as a form of litigation which appears to be objectively unjustifiable in terms of protection of one's intellectual property. This is how she explains the topic:
Does anti-competitive conduct mean “don’t breach loyalty and diligence and don’t abuse your litigation rights”? 
Following an extensive investigation involving administrative and legal proceedings, leading to the assessment of serious harmful effects on competition, the Brazilian Competition Authority (CADE)’s answer is “yes”. In light of doctrine, legal opinions and jurisprudence, Reporting Commissioner Ana Razao held that Eli Lilly infringed competition rules by unduly obtaining a monopoly to commercialize Gemzar and by distorting market prices for gemcitabine hydrochloride. 
Eli Lilly, who had argued that the antitrust authority had no power to replace the judiciary or to recognize that there was an error in judgment and/or that the judge was wrong (see CADE ruling at [379]), will now apparently file an appeal to overturn CADE’s findings. 
This was the first time that CADE held a company liable on the ground of sham litigation in Brazil (Administrative Proceeding (AP) N.  08012.011508/2007-91), imposing a BRL 36.6 million fine on Eli Lilly calculated according to criteria established in Article 45 of Law 12.529 of 30 November 2011. The Advocate General still can examine consumer damages. 
Background and sham litigation analysis 
Eli Lilly filed patent application PI 9302434-7 in 1993 for the process of preparing gemcitabine hydrochloride, the active ingredient of cancer treatment medicine Gemzar, before the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI); this application did not however relate to Gemzar itself.  In 1996, Eli Lilly presented the first request to examine the merit of its patent application on the basis of TRIPS, but INPI rejected this request on the basis that TRIPS was inapplicable.  Eli Lilly then filed a lawsuit, in result of which, in 2004, the 2nd Region Federal Regional Tribunal (TRF-2) set aside INPI’s decision. In December 1996 INPI published the continuation of its analysis of the patent concerning the process. This lawsuit was not considered sham litigation, as explained by the Reporting Commissioner Ana Razao at [252]. 
After INPI again rejected the patent application on the ground of the lack of inventive step, Eli Lilly provided technical opinions from university professors and added a new request, including claim 14 concerning the patent process. INPI denied this request in its technical opinion on the basis of lack of inventive step of claim 14.  In response Eli Lilly filed an administrative appeal before INPI, seeking to amend its second technical report concerning claim 14, and presenting two more claims -- 15 and 16: these dealt with the product gemcitabine hydrochloride, thus effectively changing the application from a process to a product. 
Additionally, in 2005, Eli Lilly had brought action N. 2005.51.01.506948-1 before the 39th Federal Court of Rio de Janeiro to overturn INPI’s opinion and validate the patent application, including claim 14; the court was also asked to assess claims 15 and 16 and to stay the INPI administrative proceedings in the INPI, seeking an order that the court to stay the INPI examination of claim 14 for inventive step until the issuance of the court decision. A stay of the administrative proceedings was ordered. 
Concerning the examinations of claims 15 and 16, INPI finally presented its conclusions to the court, explaining that claims 15 and 16 had not been subjected to its examination since the administrative proceedings had been stayed, and adding that the scope of the patent application could not be enlarged to include claims 15 and 16 since they concerned a product, not a process as initially disclosed. Consequently, the Court held that only INPI’s opinion concerning the analysis of the first 14 claims were the object of its judgment. 
Eli Lilly then filed an interlocutory appeal before the TRF-2, seeking inclusion in its judgment of claims 15 and 16, as if they had been part of INPI’s opinion concerning claim 14.  At this point, ProGenéricos joined the battle on INPI’s side. In 2007 the TRF-2 made its final decision on the Interlocutory Appeal and upheld refusal of the patent. The Federal Judge of the 39th Federal Court then refused to deal with claims 15 and 16. An expert nominated by that Court therefore only examined the requirements for patentability of the 14 process claims, finally determining the possibility of the grant of the patent as such. Claims 15 and 16 relating to product were not analyzed, following the TRF-2’s decision. 
Eli Lilly then filed another action before the Federal Justice of the Federal District against INPI, to reverse the TRF-2 decision, seeking a declaration that claims 15 and16 fulfilled all the requirements for patentability on the basis that there had been no change in the initially disclosed matter. 
The CADE investigation 
The CADE considered that Eli Lilly practised anti-competitive conduct by enlarging the patent’s scope to include matter which had not been disclosed at the time of the original patent application, and by submitting new matter after INPI had confirmed its refusal to register the patent in its administrative appeal, on the basis of Art. 32 of Law 9.279/96 which allow only changes in the patent application in relation to matter which is clear or already known before the final assessment of the patent registration [277].  Accordingly Eli Lilly acted strategically by adding claims 15 and 16. However, the CADE decided not to deem such conduct as sham litigation in light of the principle of in dubio pro reo (when in doubt, hold for the accused) [285]. Reciting that Art.70.9 TRIPS only admits grant of Exclusive Marketing Rights (EMRs) for patented products, not for patented processes, CADE found that the conduct in seeking to enlarge the scope of the patent was the first strategic step to obtain an undue degree commercialization of Gemzar in Brazil [286]. 
In Brazil, proceedings to obtain EMRs are less rigid than the process of obtaining a patent grant, in the sense that EMRs are based on a pending patent application request: the grant of exclusive rights stems purely from an expectation of rights, which is what Eli Lilly sought to obtain. 
The CADE decision also reports that in 2006 Eli Lilly brought a lawsuit before the Federal Justice of the Federal District against the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) to obtain EMRs for the product Gemzar on the basis of Article 70.9 TRIPS, affirming the patent was for a product but omitting pertinent information.  Eli Lilly disclosed that proceedings were stayed but not that claims 15 and 16 had been excluded from the patent’s scope. Indeed, it omitted pertinent information concerning the action before the 39th Federal Court, the TRF-2 and concerning the INPI opinion. In any event, the Federal Justice dismissed the case. 
However, an appeal was made before the TRF-1 asking for a preliminary injunction, which it obtained. This decision ordered ANVISA to refrain, until the end of proceedings, from granting EMRs for commercialization of a product similar to GEMZAR while INPI had not examined the object of the patent application, including those relating to the second amendment (claims 15 and 16). This action before the Federal Justice was deemed sham litigation. CADE took into account the abuse of the right to petition, considering that Eli Lilly demonstrated lack of good faith and diligence [345], based on the diversion of the purpose of the law, identified from the breach of duty of care and of objective good faith [348]. 
Sandoz intervened in the case to inform the TRF-1 of the TRF-2 decision of 2007, which had rejected the addition of claims 15 and 16 to the patent’s scope and to request the revocation of the preliminary injunction granted by the TRF-1. Importantly, the TRF-1 decision had authorized Eli Lilly to sell GEMZAR but exclusively for the treatment of cancer in Brazil. Subsequently, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice suspended the preliminary injunction considering there to be a distortion of market prices. Also, Sandoz brought a lawsuit before the Court of Sao Paulo requesting that Eli Lilly discontinue the fake accusations concerning the cancellation of its rights to commercialize the drug GEMCIT and indemnify Sandoz for incurred damages. However, for a period of three months the Sao Paulo Court prevented the commercialization of GEMCIT, which served to treat any type of cancer, on the basis of Eli Lilly’s responses. In December 2007 though, it overruled its decision on the basis of an acknowledgement of the TRF-1 judgment.

Against this background, CADE considered as sham litigation the filing of other lawsuits in different jurisdictions with the goal to circumvent the unfavourable decisions given earlier on.