Thursday, 17 August 2017

Pisco: Cultural Heritage of Peru

The Peruvian denomination of origin (DO) 'Pisco' has been declared Cultural Heritage of the Peruvian Nation.

Law 30639 which was published yesterday in the Official Gazette of Peru, aims to elevate to the rank of law the Resolution Jefatural 179-88/INC-J. The Peruvian Congress therefore, has declared Pisco as Cultural Patrimony of the Nation.

Law 30639 only contains two articles: Art 1 which establishes the purpose of the Law, that is to raise the rank of Resolution 179-88 / INC-J; and Art 2 which covers the compliance with the declaration granting power to the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Production to monitor and comply with this law.

What is the Law of cultural heritage for?
The Peruvian Law for the Cultural Heritage of the Nation (Law No. 28296) in its Preliminary Title, Art 5 establishes that “…assets belonging to the Cultural Heritage of the Nation, regardless of their private or public status, are protected by the State”. Also Chapter II, Art 24 institutes that the protection of intangible property includes its “identification, documentation, registration, research, preservation, promotion, valorisation, transmission and revitalisation.”

Last month we reported that Peruvian Pisco was granted (by INDECOPI) the character of reputable mark due to its well-known status (here).

In regards to the status of cultural heritage, the newspaper notes a remark made by INDECOPI (which is the national IPO office) that “Peru is here (in Spanish)).
moving forward with its strategy of obtaining the original name of Pisco, taking into account that it currently shares it with Chile”. But is this relevant? How will anything change by obtaining the official status of ‘cultural heritage’? Pisco is original to Peru as it is original to Chile. Both of them has obtained DO in their respective jurisdiction. There are some states that recognise Pisco as coming from Chile and Peru. Other states will recognised as only coming from Chile and others only from Peru (see this report from La Republica

Moreover, this goes in line with something that we reported recently i.e. that Peruvian Pisco could not compete in the category of ‘Pisco’ but of the ‘aguardientes’ in the international contest "Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles" (Brussels Competition), taken place next week in La Serena, Chile.

Sources here, here and here.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Franchise: rights over trade marks

The Colombia Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) has issued an important understanding when drafting franchise contracts. While it was specifically addressed to trade marks it also extended to other intellectual property rights.

Basically, the understanding establishes that franchise contracts and “license agreement can only be concluded through the effective owner, that is, the person or company to which that entity authorises the registration of the mark.” In other words if there is no registered trade mark there is no right to be given by the franchisor. According to Prof Germán Darío Flórez (Colombia National University) the franchisor must be the owner of the trade mark in the territory in which the figure is to be exercised. He also extends to say that "when a contract is made between a franchisor and a franchisee, the trade mark is the main element that is transferred because it includes knowledge or 'know-how', and the secret in order for the business to thrive." While indeed the trade mark is the main element in a franchise to what extend can we say that the know-how is attached to the trade mark?

A trade mark is the sign that distinguishes one good or service from those of another company. Its function is the origin and we connect this with quality as well. A trade mark does not include the know-how. A company can authorise another one to use its trade mark or logo without imparting any knowledge but establishing quality standards. For example if I use the trade mark ‘banana’ for
mobile phones and I authorise another company to use ‘banana’ for mobile charges, there is no need to disclose the know-how of the company – let alone any trade secret. Yet going back to the case of franchise contracts, the franchisor owns the overall rights and trade marks of the company and allows its franchisee to use these rights and trade marks to do business.

Recently in a training session I was asked what the best way to draft an IP licence agreement is - there is not straightforward answer. But there are crucial things to consider depending on the IP wanted to be shared. In a franchise the franchisee not only would like to use the trade mark but actually the know-how of the company…that is the point. Therefore in such type of contract different clauses are included: use of trade marks (limitations), know-how, trade dress and the like; each one is independent of the others. Moreover, a franchisor may have other know-how and trade secrets that in this particular contract do not want to disclose.

Franchise| Colombia - Juan Valdez Cafe

missing London
The standard noted by SIC also includes “inventions, models, processes, image and constant advice, among other aspects protected by intellectual property and industrial secrecy.” This understanding goes in line with national IPO offices in Latin America. For example in Brazil INPI neither annotates agreements nor issue certificate of registration for the license of non-patented proprietary technological knowledge. In Mexico IP license/assignment must be registered with the IMPI and will not register if the IP registration had expired or if the agreement is longer than its IP valid term.

In Colombia there is no legislation on franchising and thus according to Prof Flórez “companies have made contracts in this modality without being the owners of the trade mark".

Source El Tiempo.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Uruguay and Chile: new agreement in the region

Economic and trade relations between Chile and Uruguay are currently governed by the Economic Complementation Agreement between Chile and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) which comprises also Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. In order to deepen and stimulate trade relations, both countries agreed to start negotiations in early 2016 to set up a Free Trade Agreement.

This project has now reached the Chilean Chamber of Deputies for its First Constitutional Process.
This Agreement in general will coexist with the international agreements in which both countries are parties. Therefore in regards to Intellectual Property they reaffirm the commitment of both parties to the Berne Convention, Paris Convention, the TRIPS agreement and to its amendment protocol contained in the Doha Declaration (re. access to generic medicines).

If you are looking at the agreement, see chapter 10 (at page 183) which is the one that covers IP.
Article 10.5 covers ‘principles’ which refers to a balanced treatment between the rights of innovators on their creations and the social component of the use of knowledge for the benefit of citizens – provided they are compatible with the IPRs provisions. In this we observed that Article 10.5bis refers to the commitment to public health acknowledging the Implementation of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and public health WT/L/540; and furthermore, the commitment to support the agreement presented by WT/L/641: inserting Article 31bis after Article 31 and by inserting the Annex to the TRIPS Agreement after Article 73.

Article 10.11 covers ‘denominations of origin and geographical indications’. In this, it asserts that each party must ensure in its legal system the protection of DOs and GIs and this to be in line with the TRIPS. The agreement further contains an Annex, if you look at Annex 10.11 it only covers Pisco and it contains this disclaimer “The foregoing shall be understood without prejudice to the recognition that Uruguay may grant to a country which is not a party in relation to homonymous geographical indications and denominations of origin.” According to MENSAJE Nº 348-364/ Pisco then has automatically secured access to the Uruguayan market without any geographical identifier.

Annex 10.7 has a list of DOs and GIs from both parties. From Uruguay is is mainly wines while Chile shows others such as ‘Limón de Pica’, ‘Sandía de Paine’, ‘Aceituna de Azapa’, ‘Dulces de la Ligua’, ‘Oregano de Putre’, and ‘Cordero Chilote’ to name a few.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

New Geographical Indications on the Sight

From various jurisdictions we received some Geographical Indication news:
Flag, Mexico, Mexican Flag, Sky
Mexico: The Mexican Industrial Property Institute (IMPI) informed that under International Register No. 1062, published in the Bulletin ‘Appellations of Origin’ No. 45, the WIPO has granted international protection for the Mexican ‘Cacao Grijalva.’ This cacao has been protected as denomination of origin in Mexico since August 2016.

For its part, the diary El Economista reported that the National Association of Designations of Origin (ANDO) of Mexico is seeking legal protection for the red octopus ‘Pulpo Maya,’ as well as international recognition for the appellation of origin ‘Arroz Morelos.’


Flag, Chile, Chilean, America
Chile: Lst Friday was inaugurated the ‘First Festival of the Longaniza’ in Chillán, Chile. According to the Regional Diary EDÑUBLE, this is one of many actions developed in the search for an appellation of origin to present this product to the world. Before the festival, local producers of 'longaniza' participated in a talk on geographical indications, featuring speakers from the INAPI. As reported by this news agency, at this stage, 20 local producers of longaniza have received the first general outlines to obtain the geographical indication ‘longaniza de Chillán.’


Post written by Florelia Vallejo Trujillo
Assistant Professor, Universidad del Tolima, Colombia
PhD Candidate University of Nottingham, UK

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Concurso: 5ta edicion del Premio Antonio Delgado

Fredy Adolfo Forero Villa Coordinador Jurídico del Observatorio Iberoamericano de Derecho de Autor (ODAI) nos trae esta gran noticia para los investigadores. Se trata del nombrado premio Antonio Delgado sobre estudios de investigación en torno al derecho de autor y a los derechos conexos.

La nota de prensa:

El Instituto de Derecho de Autor (Instituto Autor) y el Observatorio Iberoamericano de Derecho de Autor (ODAI) convocan la 5ª edición del Premio Antonio Delgado (PAD) sobre estudios de investigación en torno al derecho de autor y a los derechos conexos; los cuales deberán de ser abordados desde una perspectiva internacional, siempre que la materia lo permita. Se admitirán también estudios de derecho comparado. La convocatoria está abierta hasta el próximo 10 de enero de 2018. Los trabajos han de remitirse antes de esa fecha por correo electrónico a la cuenta pad@institutoautor.org, con copia a fforero@cerlalc.org.

El premio tiene una dotación económica de 3.000 euros para el estudio ganador y un accésit dotado con 1.500 euros para el estudio finalista. Además, el estudio ganador será publicado por el Instituto Autor.

Con la convocatoria de este premio, el Instituto Autor trata de honrar la memoria y el legado de Antonio Delgado Porras, maestro de generaciones de profesionales de la propiedad intelectual, tanto en España como en Latinoamérica. Territorios donde tuvo un importante papel en el desarrollo de buena parte de sus legislaciones en materia de derecho de autor, derechos conexos y gestión colectiva.

El jurado del premio estará compuesto por tres juristas de reconocido prestigio, que tendrán en cuenta como criterios de valoración la originalidad y altura creativa, la actualidad o la aplicación práctica del tema, entre otros. El fallo del Jurado será comunicado, tanto en la web del Instituto Autor como del ODAI, el 16 de febrero de 2018.

Las bases reguladoras del concurso se encuentran en este link (aqui)

Asi que...pon tus manos a la obra! Suerte.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Brazil: shaping the examination process

Collective marks, certification marks and 3-D shape trade marks require specific requirements in Brazil. Additional documentation is needed for these type of marks and thus, the application process and its examination takes time and expertise.

"I spy with my little eye..."
As it is expected these applications have a long process – adding to the backlog that the INPI already has. Yet, the INPI acknowledges that since 2013, it has been adopting administrative measures to remedy this. It now affirms that applicants may expect to receive the first review in about six months.

The data released by INPI shows that approx. 900 applications for collective marks per year are received; 300 for certification marks and; 160 3-D. However, it admits that in cases of collective and certifications marks 90% of applications are wrongly classified or do not submit certain and crucial documentation. In regards to 3-D marks it notes that applicants need to submit images of all views of that object which needs to have a ‘specific format’ be ‘unique and different from the competition’ and more importantly, the shape cannot be dictated by a technical utility (technical function). It also elaborates that a 2-D draw of a mark ‘with shadow or volume effect does not configure a three-dimensional mark.’

Finally it informs that there are currently 476 3-D marks, 273 collective marks and 68 certification marks registered.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Peruvian Pisco: Renowned reputation

From the Peruvian Institute for the Defense of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi) we read the news that Pisco, a denomination of Origin, has been given the character of reputable due to its well-known status (Resolución N° 13880-2017/DSD-Indecopi).

INDECOPI recognised that Pisco has ‘reached a relevant level of knowledge, recall, great quality and positioning that put it at same level of other famous denominations of origin and world-wide marks.’ Giving this distinction means that Pisco ‘reinforces its protection and extends it to the countries of the Andean Community of Nations.’ [Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador are the other members of the Andean Community]

The director of INDECOPI’s Distinctive Signs, Mr Meloni García, noticed that 'in order to determine this notoriety, attention was paid to a number of factors, including sales volume, advertising of the denomination of origin, intensity and duration of use, prestige and value achieved over time, among others aspects.’

The notoriedad en grado de renombre (literal translation would be renowned reputation) is given to signs that are known by consumers belonging to diverse markets and, in addition, it enjoys of high prestige and reputation.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Los Derechos de Propiedad Intelectual como especie de «activos intangibles»

En la economía contemporánea la importancia de los activos intangibles ha sido creciente como recursos generadores de valor para las empresas, aunque sus contornos no son del todo nítidos. ¿Cómo surge esta clase de bienes? ¿Son los derechos de propiedad intelectual los únicos activos intangibles?


El término «activo intangible» es un nomen juris. Su raíz es económica y se ha estandarizado con las prácticas y normas de contabilidad empresarial. Es la faz no-material de los activos de una empresa, puestos en relación con los activos tangibles, y se definen en la Norma Internacional como un activo identificable, de carácter no monetario y sin apariencia física (NIC 38).

Jurídicamente se vincula con la clasificación de las cosas en corporales e incorporales que ya aparecía en la Instituta de Gayo (2.12). Corporales se decía que eran aquellas cosas que podían ser tocadas (sunt quae tangit possunt), e incorporales (res incorporalis) aquellas que no podían ser tocadas (sunt quae tangit non possunt) y cuya existencia surgía del derecho, tales como una herencia, un usufructo, las obligaciones de cualquier modo contraídas y las servidumbres. Esta clasificación, mutatis mutandi, ha pasado a los sistemas modernos de propiedad sobre los bienes. El uso intercambiable o en relación género-especie de los términos cosas y/o bienes varía según cada ordenamiento jurídico, y el uso de los pares de adjetivos corporal/incorporal y material/inmaterial es usual verlos relacionados con las voces cosa y bien, respectivamente. Según los usos doctrinarios se ha reservado la expresión «bienes inmateriales» a aquellos productos del talento o del ingenio, también conocidos como Derechos de Propiedad Intelectual o Derechos Intelectuales (DPI).

Sin perjuicio que el criterio de la tangibilidad de la cosa determine su naturaleza (tangible o no-tangible) para los efectos jurídicos la (im)posibilidad de ser palpable no agota los requisitos para ser considerado normativamente como activo empresarial intangible. Algunos activos intangibles pueden estar contenidos en, o contener, un soporte de naturaleza o apariencia física, como un disco compacto o pen drive (en el caso de un software), de documentación jurídica (en el caso de una licencia o patente) o de una película y conservar su carácter inmaterial.

Las cosas intangibles pueden ser objeto de propiedad (en sus distintas formas, v.gr. en Chile art. 19 Nº 24 y 25 CPR) si forman parte de patrimonios (vg.r. empresariales o profesionales). En el soporte material confluyen la propiedad clásica sobre los bienes corporales y la propiedad sobre los incorporales, como los derechos intelectuales. Así, estos activos son, básicamente, derechos subjetivos.

La fuente de estos activos es normativa. Existen fenómenos económicos que son conceptualmente bienes incorporales (en tanto aportan bondad económica al titular) como una cuota de mercado, una posición regulada, un modelo de negocio, una solución técnica, un algoritmo, un mercado potencial, un método, o una posición de monopolio, los que prima facie no son susceptibles, per se, de ser calificados como «activos intangibles». 

No obstante, para determinar cuándo se está en presencia de esta clase de bienes –y de dónde surgen- se hace necesario distinguir entre hechos brutos y hechos institucionales. Lo que Searle denominó «hechos brutos» implica que existen muchas clases de hechos, algunos que son obviamente hechos objetivos y no asuntos de opinión, sentimiento o emoción, como contraer matrimonio, crear una obra, firmar un contrato, aprobar una investidura en el Congreso, mantener un secreto o registrar una patente. Estos hechos pueden incluir variedad de movimientos físicos, pero una descripción de estos hechos «brutos» es siempre insuficiente, pues su significado completo sólo puede comprenderse sobre un trasfondo de instituciones que forman parte de un sistema de reglas constitutivas, de manera que la existencia de los «hechos institucionales» dependen de ese tipo de reglas subyacentes que son fruto de la convención.

Así, una cosa incorporal será un activo intangible si y solo si existe una regla subyacente que le confiera tal carácter. Un escrito original en tanto obra será por la sola creación (como «hecho institucional») un bien inmaterial propietarizable como derecho autoral, quedando protegido su uso exclusivo en beneficio del creador y sus cesionarios. Una solución técnica (como hecho) en tanto invención que cumple los requisitos estándar será objeto de propiedad como patente otorgada por el sistema de propiedad industrial que conferirá un «monopolio» de explotación excluyente. Un isologotipo original será tanto una obra como un diseño bidimensional y una marca registrada según los requisitos normativos cumplidos para cada tipo de derecho intelectual que condensará los méritos y deméritos reputacionales del objeto marcado. En consecuencia, los derechos de propiedad intelectual (y otros derechos) son creaciones convencionales, que surgen por acuerdos legislativos (lobby mediante) a través de normas internacionales, supranacionales y nacionales. Según el tipo de bien inmaterial con valor económico corresponderá un tipo o tipos de derechos de DPI aplicables según un determinado procedimiento normativo (por la sola creación o registro), nacional, supranacional o internacional, con cobertura temporal y territorial. Si surge el DPI nace el activo intangible para la empresa pues puede ser objeto de dominio pleno, quedar bajo su control absoluto y ser objeto de responsabilidad patrimonial universal (derecho de prenda general).

En este sentido, para que esta clase de intangibles sean contablemente estimados como «activos intangibles» deben ser controlables, medibles, aportantes de beneficios económicos e identificables: Controlables, porque se pueden controlar por la organización bajo el control propietario; medibles porque para su control es necesario cuantificarlos y medirlos de forma fiable; aportantes de beneficio económico implica que su valor es apreciable desde un punto de vista económico e identificables, porque deben ser separables. La separabilidad se vincula con su alienabilidad, esto es, con ser aptos para su venta, cesión, explotación, arriendo o, en general, aptos para su intercambio, sea individualmente o en conjunto con otros activos o pasivos con los que guarde relación (como un derecho de traspaso de un arriendo, o un valor de marca), o que surjan de derechos de naturaleza legal o contractual, con independencia de que sean transferibles o separables de la empresa o de otros derechos y obligaciones, como es el caso de los derechos de propiedad intelectual.

Una clasificación estándar de los activos intangibles distingue dos tipos: identificables y no identificables. Los no-identificables no pueden ser objeto de propiedad intelectual, aunque sí pueden ser objeto de otra clase de derechos personales, como por ejemplo la obligación de abstención de contactar antiguos clientes o de competir con la empresa de la que se formaba parte, a cambio de una contraprestación por un tiempo determinado. Esto último integra el denominado «conocimiento tácito», que es inseparable del poseedor en tanto agente racional vivo. Esta separabilidad es requisito para la identificación de un activo intangible de propiedad intelectual.

En lo relativo al conocimiento tácito, no constituye un activo intangible de la empresa identificable, aunque sí forma parte de lo que se conoce como «activo oculto», que forma parte del capital intelectual, formado por recursos humanos (poseedores del conocimiento), capital estructural (referido a la organización de la empresa) y relacional (referido a su esquema de relaciones internas y externas). Este tipo de activos no son susceptibles de identificación salvo que se reduzcan a formatos tales como manuales, memorias, documentos, fórmulas, algoritmos, bases de datos que, indirectamente, permitan que puedan ser objeto de protección dominical intelectual.

Para saber si un activo es identificable desde un punto de vista financiero-contable según el estándar IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards), es necesario que tenga al menos una de las siguientes cualidades: (i) separable, susceptible de ser separado o escindido de la entidad y vendido, transferido, dado en explotación, arrendado o intercambiado, ya sea individualmente o junto con un contrato, activo identificable o pasivo con los que guarde relación, independientemente de que la entidad tenga la intención de llevar a cabo la separación; (ii) o ser fruto de un derecho, esto es, cuando surge de derechos contractuales o de otros derechos de tipo legal, con independencia de que esos derechos sean transferibles o separables de la entidad o de otros derechos y obligaciones.

A nivel de organizaciones cada entidad tiene distintos niveles de uso y producción de activos intangibles. Algunas tienen un escaso uso y producción de activos intangibles aunque siempre el «saber hacer» de su propio negocio constituye un bien intangible en sí mismo, incluso en commodities y actividades artesanales. Otras empresas, como las de Base Tecnológica o de Industrias Creativas, tienen uso y producción intensivos de activos intangibles, y constituyen el principal activo de su operación empresarial.

En síntesis, existen bienes/cosas incorporales susceptibles de ser considerados como activos intangibles y, como tales, valorizables como integrantes de un patrimonio y objeto de propiedad exclusiva. No todos los bienes incorporales son bienes inmateriales y no todo activo intangible es un derecho de propiedad intelectual. Hay bienes incorporales, como derechos contractuales (no competencia, arriendos, seguros, franquicias, derecho de imagen), fondos liberales o de comercio, capital relacional (relaciones laborales y comerciales) o cláusulas radiales que son activos empresariales intangibles algunos normativamente ocultos para la norma contable y, a su vez, distintos de los derechos de propiedad intelectual, que constituyen, por su parte, una especie paradigmática pero no única de estos activos intangibles.

Publicado originalmente en Lvcentinvs.
Imágenes 2/3: Cortesía de IPR Helpdesk Latam

Well-Known Marks in the Andean Community of Nations

Well-known trade marks have special protection under the IP regime of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN). Its evolution, as explained by Francisco Villacreses, can be observed through history. Initially, well-known trade marks partially exceeded the principle of speciality in the Decision 85/1974, by the prohibition to grant a register to a similar sign than a well-known trade mark even if belonging to a different class of the Nice Classification. Decisions 313/1992 and 344/1993 added international protection within CAN members and in those countries conceding similar protection. Finally, well-known marks as recognised by the Decision 486/2000 are supported on both the TRIPS Agreement and the Joint Recommendation Concerning Provisions on the Protection of Well-Known Marks of 1999.

Hence, nowadays, as explained by the Andean Tribunal of Justice (ATJ), the protection of this kind of marks are beyond the basic principles of speciality, territoriality, and real and effective use of a sign. Consequently, a register identical or similar to a well-known mark cannot be achieved: i) in any class; ii) in any CAN Member State, even if it has not been registered in the country where the new register has been filled; and, iii) a well-known mark will not be cancelled due to its lack of use (the cancellation of a mark is a step in the process of acquiring a sign that is not being used). This last aspect has been established to avoid that one party takes advantage of another’s reputation.

The use of personal names is another aspect of their protection. Overall, any person has the right to register their name, pseudonym, signature, caricature, or portrait as a trade mark. If such a sign is sufficiently distinctive and does not generate confusion or the risk of confusion in the consuming public, even when another similar trade mark has already been conceded for the same class. Nevertheless, the ATJ stated some limitations to this right: i) the unduly affectation of the rights of third parties; ii) the affectation of the identity or prestige of natural or legal persons; and, iii) that this kind of trade marks can only be granted to the person whose name is the sign.

However, well-known trade marks constitute another limitation to the use of personal names. On this matter, the Colombian Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) recently refused the registration of the mark ‘Andrés Parrilla’ (class 43), requested by Andrés Martínez Zapata to identify his steak house. This decision was taken because of the trade mark ‘Andrés Carne de Res’, registered previously for the same category, was acknowledged as a well-known mark while the other mark was in the process of registration. The brands clearly are distinguishable enough to avoid confusion in the consumer public. Nonetheless, the application of the mark ‘Andrés Parrilla’ was denied invoking the status of well-known mark of ‘Andrés Carne de Res.’


Image result for bavariaDespite the extensive protection of well-known marks, the practice has shown some exceptions to these rules. One case is the register of the sign ‘Babaria’ in class 3 to the Spanish Company Berioska S.L. by the Colombian Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (SIC). Bavaria has been recognised as a well-known mark in Colombia. It is a Colombian brewery company founded in 1889 with dozens of trade marks registered to identify its products, most of which include the word ‘Bavaria.’ The concession of a sign using a word that sounds the same (in Latin-American Spanish "b" and "v" are pronounced the same way) has been a huge controversy.

It is worth to mention that the ATJ explained in its preliminary interpretation of this case that a well-known trade mark could be cancelled for lack of use, and subsequently been conceded to a different person if ‘this meets the function and effect to clear the register of marks and to make the right of preference possible’ (own translation). Maybe we are here in front of a shift in the case law referred to the scope and exercise of the well-known mark rights.

Post written by Florelia Vallejo Trujillo
Assistant Professor, Universidad del Tolima, Colombia
PhD Candidate University of Nottingham, UK


Monday, 24 July 2017

Patent Prosecution Highway: The Justice ‘Speedy’ League

This month Colombia joined the network of the Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH). This network has 22 members from Europe, North America, Asia, Oceania, and now Latin America. From that side of the pond United States and Canada are members [full list of members can be found here].
Patent applicants who have obtained protection in Colombia may request that the same application be reviewed in any of the other members that are part of the GPPH. This global pilot was launched back in January 2014 allowing ‘patent applicants to request accelerated examination at any of the offices involved in the pilot if their claims have been found to be acceptable by any of the other offices involved in the pilot’.

Upon the advantages published by the Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (SIC) are:

  • Offices involved in this type of agreement are recognized as their ‘peers’: this is so because they have a harmonious patent law (patentable subject matter, substantive and procedural law are similar).
  • Rely on quality systems that guarantee the Seriousness of its acts (ISO 9001).
  • For applicants there is a greater chance that the patent will be approved because it has already been approved under same procedures and techniques; and the procedure is run in less time and there would be less transaction costs.

Latin America is part of some PPH. For instance Mexico has a PPH with the European Patent Office (the only office in Latin America to have such agreement with the EPO), with Japan (JPO) and has another one with the USPTO. The National offices of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay have also launched a PPH pilot program among themselves (these countries are members of PROSUR). Brazil has one with Chile, and another one with the USPTO. Peru and Spain do have a PPH in place.

While superman is not involved, the league still flies!

Source SIC.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Global database: Chile is in!

The cooperation agreement between the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Chilean National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI) makes Chile the first South America country to participate in the Global Brand Database. Mexico has also an agreement with WIPO and making Chile the second Latin America country to do so.

This ‘Global Brand Database’ as the name implies, is a database (with open access and free of charge) providing access to trademark data from 33 countries plus data from the European Registry and the international Registry kept by WIPO. As of today WIPO Global Brand Database has 30,082,405.

By joining this system Chile is incorporating data corresponding to approx. 500,000 applications. Its counterpart Mexico has over 1,200,000.

INAPI notes that it will update the data every month.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

PROSUR lanza nueva plataforma web con herramientas que facilitan la tramitación de marcas y patentes


A siete años de su creación, PROSUR puso a disposición de la comunidad, una renovada plataforma online (www.prosur.org) que entrega en forma gratuita herramientas digitales para buscar, analizar y gestionar de mejor forma los derechos de propiedad industrial y promover sus beneficios. 

La iniciativa surgió como un trabajo conjunto de 12 países, en el marco del sistema de cooperación de PROSUR, que incluye a: Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Perú y Uruguay, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panamá y República Dominicana.
El nuevo sitio fue presentado en Panamá por Luis Jiménez S., presidente Pro Tempore de PROSUR, en el marco de la reciente reunión del comité directivo. La instancia que además de contar con la presencia de los máximos representantes de las oficinas de propiedad industrial de Latinoamérica, tuvo especial relevancia debido a la participación del Director General de la Organización Mundial de la Propiedad Intelectual-OMPI Francis Gurry y el ingreso oficial de las oficinas de Nicaragua, Panamá y República Dominicana.

La nueva plataforma de PROSUR está disponibles en los idiomas español, portugués e inglés y es adaptable a todos los soportes (computadores y móviles). Entre sus novedades, destacan:

- Comunidad POSUR: espacio de encuentro y conversación entre todos quienes se desempeñan habitualmente en torno a la propiedad industrial a nivel mundial, a través de la cual se puede acceder a la experiencia y el intercambio de información entre los miembros, estableciendo redes de colaboración e innovación.

- Clasificador de productos y de servicios de marcas: permite buscar términos y su respectiva clase(s) (de Niza), con la finalidad de conocer la correcta descripción de los productos y/o servicios asociados a una marca. La búsqueda se efectúa en un catálogo de términos que las oficinas del PROSUR han puesto a disposición de los usuarios.

- Buscador de dominio público: ofrece búsquedas en bases de datos de todas aquellas patentes cuya protección ha expirado; o se abandona en ese país; o en un país en que no se haya otorgado; o en el que no tenga efectos jurídicos y por tanto han pasado a formar parte del dominio público. 

- Mapa estadístico: contiene información de marcas, patentes e indicaciones geográficas, para identificar de forma rápida los mercados relevantes para la presentación de solicitudes. 

- Acuerdo piloto sobre Procedimiento Acelerado de Patentes (PPH): hace más expedito el procedimiento de examen de patentabilidad de las oficinas, y reduce los costos asociados, evitando dobles esfuerzos en acciones administrativas, búsquedas y exámenes de patentes.

Este hito se traduce en un importante avance en materia de cooperación entre los países que integran PROSUR, a fin de potenciar el uso de la propiedad industrial, en todas sus dimensiones, como motor de desarrollo regional. En definitiva, se busca que los ciudadanos de los países participantes de PROSUR y de países que quieran relacionarse con la región, puedan beneficiarse de un mejor sistema regional.


Fuente: Constanza Zülch (Encargada comunicaciones INAPI)


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Free Webinar: Protecting your Brand Abroad: Understanding the IP Landscape of Latin America


Webinar: Protecting your Brand Abroad: Understanding the IP Landscape of Latin America
Speaker: Patrica Covarrubia

Date: Thursday, July 20, 2017

Time: 15.00h (Brussels time)

Location: Online

Admission: Free (registration required here)

Language: English

Eligibility: Small and Medium-sized enterprises (Less than 250 employees) or SME intermediary associations from the European Union only

This webinar aims to give an overview to the European SMEs on how they can best protect their brand on Latin-American markets. The speaker will provide practical information on how to register, protect and enforce trade mark rights in Brazil, Colombia or Mexico, among other regions and how to effectively protect the logo of the company or the product.

SMEs will also be provided expert tips and watch-outs to bear in mind before, during and after entering the markets in those territories.

Moreover, any queries that the EU companies might have, shall be answered by the experts during the training session.

During the webinar you can expect:

- Detailed overview of trade mark registration, protection, and enforcement in Latin America 
- Overview of various possibilities of protecting the logo of the company or the brand
- How to benefit from the Madrid System
- Various case studies involving EU SMEs experiencing and overcoming issues with brand protection in Latin America.

About the Speaker: Ms. Patricia Covarrubia Patricia Covarrubia is a Venezuelan qualified lawyer, an academic, author, and commentator in Intellectual Property Law. She is Lecturer in Law at the University of Buckingham, UK. She has an LLM in European Law from Southampton, UK and a PhD from Brunel, UK. From 1993 to 1999 she worked as a lawyer in Venezuela. 

Dr. Covarrubia is manager and blogger in IP Tango (Intellectual Property weblog – Latin America). Her ongoing research interests and written publications include geographical indications and indications of origin, compulsory licenses in the pharmaceutical industry, genetic resources, trade marks, free trade agreements, and the protection of traditional knowledge. 

Latin America IPR SME Helpdesks is a European Union co-funded project that provides European SMEs with free, practical, business advice relating to IPR in Latin America. 

Source: Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Brazil: refining procedures

On July 11, INPI Resolution 199/2017 brought to the public a new examination guidelines for the registration of industrial property license agreements and registration of integrated circuit topography, technology transfer (TT) and franchising.

The new guidelines are in line with the amendments implemented through Instrução Normativa No. 70/2017 (effective since July 1st). According to the guidelines the process of registration is simplified, and also, it warranties the legal autonomy to the parties' will.

Chapter I covers ‘agreements signed or registered by INPI’. Some of the eye catching are three since they were not regulated before:
INPI will register: a) ‘Know-how’ contracts which includes the acquisition of knowledge and techniques not covered by IPRs or the provision of technological information for the production of goods and services [before this new Norm INPI neither annotated agreements nor issued certificate of registration for the license of non-patented proprietary technological knowledge]; and b) The contract or invoice for the provision of technical and scientific services that stipulates the conditions for obtaining techniques, planning and programming methods, research, studies and projects for the execution or provision of specialized services.
Technology export contracts are exempted from registration.

Chapter II covers ‘the application for registration or registration of contract’. Chapter III covers ‘the parties to the contract’. Of relevance is: ‘The contract must identify the parties to the contract and their legal representatives, name or denomination and the complete addresses, including, city, federation and the country’. In relation to parties domiciled abroad, they ‘must constitute and maintain a duly qualified attorney domiciled in the country, with powers to represent it administratively and judicially, including to receive summonses.' Note that contracts (license/assignment) regulated by this chapter will be granted by way of title and to be submitted to INPI. Chapter IV, V and IV cover 'the  terms', the certificate' (specifications that the certificate should contain), and finally the 'general and transitional provisions' respectively.

Source INPI.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

'Desperados' for Tequila?

For some years, the Mexican producers of tequila have manifested disagreement with the use of the word ‘tequila’ in ‘Desperados’ one of the brands of the company Heineken Enterprise. ‘Tequila’ is an alcoholic beverage native from Mexico, specifically, from the region comprising part of the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Tamaulipas, Michoacán and Guanajuato. It is obtained by distillation and rectification from the agave tequilana blue variety or tequila agave. References to its production date back to 1943, but the efforts to secure legal recognition started in the 1970s after some countries began to produce spirits to whom they called ‘tequila.’ As a result, in 1974 the appellation of origin Tequila was declared.

For its quality and particular flavour, the tequila has earned international recognition as a symbol of the Mexican cultural identity. Since 1993, the Mexican Tequila Regulatory Council (Consejo Regulador del Tequila – CRT) has been the organisation dedicated to safeguard the appellation of origin, and to verify and certify as to whether or not a product complies with the Mexican Official Standard of Tequila (NOM-006-SCFI-2012).

The question in dispute is that the beer ‘Desperados’ does not contain tequila but ‘flavours’ of which 75% is tequila, and yet it uses the word tequila in its trademark. It is noteworthy that such word is highlighted in the trademark because of the high-contrast made by its red letters over the beer’s yellow colour.

Two weeks ago, CNN in Spanish reported the disapproval of the tequila industry with this situation. According to the news agency, the CRT considers that the use of ‘tequila’ in the trademark misleads consumers as the beer Desperados neither has tequila nor is a CRT’s certified product. Consequently, the CRT affirms that ‘tequila’ should no longer be used in the trademark, or that tequila must be one of the ingredients of Desperados. In the same news is informed that a representative of Heineken stated that the flavouring utilised for the production of the beer contains genuine tequila, which is purchased from a member of the CRT.

Apart from the appellation of origin achieved in 1974, in June this year, under the registration number 5225126 the United States Patent and Trademark Office - USPTO granted the Certification Mark ‘Tequila.’ This was the result of a joint action of the tequila industry and the Mexican Government. It would be expected, thus, that the concession of this trademark is presented as another argument against the use that Heineken has been making of the word tequila. Nonetheless, it is important to highlight that Heineken has also achieved recognition of the brand Desperados by the USPTO.

In this state of affairs, no end to this dispute is in sight. However, there is no doubt that whatever its outcome may be; this case is of relevance for trademark law.

Post written by Florelia Vallejo Trujillo
Assistant Professor, Universidad del Tolima, Colombia
PhD Candidate University of Nottingham, UK

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Peru: Electronic Publication System for IP Applications is at your service

On 28 June this year, by means of the Supreme Decree No. 071-2017-PCM, the Peruvian Government approved the implementation of the Electronic Gazette of the National Institute for the Defence of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI). According with the Decree’s Complementary Transitional Provision, in this Gazette will be published: ‘(t)he trademark applications and the other industrial property elements included within the scope of the Decision 486, Common Industrial Property Regime governing Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, which are at the stage of issuance of the order of publication (…)’ <own translation>. This means that, from now on, all the applications for the different kinds of industrial property covered by the Andean Decision 486 will be published in the Electronic Gazette of the INDECOPI. In addition to trademarks, Decision 486 regulates patents, utility models, layout-designs of integrated circuits, industrial designs, trade names, labels or business signs, geographical designations (appellations of origin and indications of source), and trade secrets.
 
The extract of the publication includes:
a.    The application number and, if it be the case, the date of submission of the application;
b.    Name and country of the applicant; and,
c.    Complete date of any priority claimed, or a mention if a right of pre-emption has been exercised.

Depending on the type of the intangible good requested for IP protection, among others, the publication may also include the name and description of the patent, the description and/or representation of the trademark, the indication of the class and the products or services covered by the sign, and the geographical area covered by the geographical indication.

The implementation of this system represents a substantial step forward in the administration of IPRs in Peru due to its great potential for time and cost reductions. On the one hand, electronic publications can undoubtedly be done more efficiently than paper publications. Moreover, the legal terms for the IP administrative actions and procedures could be reduced, as this system operates on a daily publication basis and the legal terms start counting since the business day following the publication, thus, this would speed up the process. Consequently, as the time for the publication is reduced the time for granting an IP is reduced as well. On the other hand, before this, IP applications were published in the Official Journal el Peruano, which unlike the Electronic Gazette of the INDECOPI, is not specialised and is not free. However, unpublished applications with publishing orders issued before the Supreme Decree entered into force, can be published in either the Official Journal or the Electronic Gazette.

Given the above, the change of the publication system, from the Official Journal el Peruano to the Electronic Gazette of the INDECOPI, will certainly be of benefits to users of IP in Peru.

Post written by Florelia Vallejo Trujillo
Assistant Professor Universidad del Tolima, Colombia
PhD Candidate University of Nottingham, UK

Monday, 3 July 2017

The Pendency of Brazilian Patent Application and What You Can Do About It

Image result for brazilBrazil is notorious for the long pendency of patent application. Currently, the average amount of time for a typical Brazilian patent to be issued with two office actions is more than 12 to 14 years. Therefore, the majority of Letters Patent are automatically issued with the minimum 10-year term of protection counted from grant as provided for in Section 40. As Brazil takes long-term steps to reduce the pendency of its patent applications in the short-term applicants can, in some cases, seek expedited grant.

The primary reason for the long pendency is a sustained increase in patent filings in Brazil over the years, which the federal government did not follow with investments in human resources.

Aiming at a reduction of said pendency to levels similar to other large economies, the National Institute of Industrial Property has reacted with rapid-results initiatives like:

  • a streamlined review of formal aspects during the admissibility examination of BR Phase Entries and not PCT applications within the period January 1, 2013 - December 31, 2016, as provided for in Normative Instruction #02/2017 of June 6, 2017;
  • the e-filing system already in use for some years, which has extended to all services with the Brazilian PTO;
  • the shelving of applications with unpaid maintenance fees before the examiner takes the file for examination; and
  • more examiners working in a home office and new examiners trained “on-the-job."

This author does not expect the new processes to have an immediate impact on pendency. While the new rules take effect, certain applications can jump to the front of the line and begin examination in the short run instead of languishing for what can be 8 -10 years to start the examination process in the ordinary course. Applicants are eligible for an expedited examination for any of the conditions set henceforth and provided that examination has not begun.

1. Expedited Examination for Infringed Claims
In cases where claims are being infringed, the applicant can file a petition for expedited examination. The petition must include evidence of infringement that takes place in Brazil, and a notarized copy of the cease-and-desist letter served to the infringer. The results of the Board of Examiner’s review of the evidence and allegations by the applicant are published in the IP Electronic Bulletin.
2. Expedited Examination for Patents Needed for Financing
Expedited treatment can be obtained in cases where obtaining a patent is a condition to receiving financial resources from an official credit institution;
3. Senior Status or Illness
Expedited status can be obtained if the Applicant is a natural person over 60 years of age or if the applicant suffers from certain diseases or has certain mental illnesses.
4. Green Technology
Image result for green technologyInitially a Pilot Program in 2012 and granting patents with substantive examination within 2,5 years in average, the program became permanent on November 5, 2016 (see early post here) . Patent applications directed to environmentally beneficial technologies are afforded expedited examination. The definition of Green Technology is relatively broad and includes technologies related to Energy Generation; Energy Storage; Energy Efficiency; Energy Infrastructure; Transportation; Water & Wastewater; Air & Environment; Materials; Manufacturing/Industrial Agriculture; and Recycling & Waste Management, Transportation, Alternative Energy, and Agriculture. Rules have been promulgated defining "Green Technology" in more detail.
5. Oil and Gas - PPH-BrPTO-USPTO pilot program
Oil and Gas related inventions claiming the US or BR priority qualify for expedited examination under a pilot program when the applications relate to oil prospecting, refining, transportation and other related oil and gas techniques. (IPC B01, B63, C09K8, C10, E02, E21, F15, F16, F17, G01). This pilot program is valid until January 11, 2018, and is limited to the first 150 patent applications.
6. IT and Telecommunications and other akin technologies - PPH BrPTO-JPO pilot program.
Inventions relating to IT, telecommunications, semiconductors, computer and audiovisual technologies, certain electric machines, and other akin technologies claiming the earliest priority to JP or BR may qualify for expedited examination. The pilot program is limited to 200 patent applications and valid till April 1, 2019.

Except for pharmaceutical products and processes - which seemingly have been left out for raising too much controversy between the BrPTO and ANVISA (Brazil National Health Surveillance Agency) - the aforesaid initiatives are cutting down the patent pendency. For applicants in certain fields of technology defined by the claims, there is now a window of opportunity to expedite applications.

Post written by
Claudio Szabas, Director
Dennemeyer & Associates Propriedade Intelectual Ltda.
Av. Nilo Peçanha 50/1516, 20020-906 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil
Mobile: +55 21 98171 7076
Phone: +55 21 2215 9550
Fax: +55 21 2210 1042
E-mail: cszabas@dennemeyer-law.com
Website: www.dennemeyer-law.com