Thursday, 5 October 2017

Chile's project: promoting, protecting and boosting traditional products

Through the ‘Sello de Origen’ program the Chilean presented to the legal representative of the Sociedad Agrícola Punucapa SA, producers of Cider. With the certification of a Denomination of Origin (DO) to ‘Sidra de Punucapa’. The successful application was the result of a collective effort to “recognize, distinguish and protect this traditional low alcohol drink, based on apple juice, whose history goes back to the middle of 1800.”

Sidra de Puncapa is totally handmade, and it is said to be derived from the traditions of the place. This, added to the “climate of the area, with humid oceanic characteristics with low thermal oscillation and considerable rainfall, allow to obtain a unique product that has led to its recognition.”

Looking at these characteristics one can see why this fall under DO and not just a geographical indication. The Chilean Industrial Property Law defines a Geographical Indication as aimed to “identify a product as originating in the country or region or locality in the country, when its quality, reputation or another property is fundamentally attributable to its geographical origin.” From here you can notice that the Sidra de Puncapa is not just a locality where the product is produced and manufactured and that it has a reputation but it goes farther than these factors. Following then the definition of DO under the Chilean Industrial Property Law we see that DOs “identify a product as originating in the country or region or locality in the country, when its quality, reputation or another property is fundamentally attributable to its geographical origin, also considering other natural and human factors that affect the product’s properties.” We therefore understand that Sidra de Puncapa has other special characteristics that are essentially due to the geographical environment in which they are produced. It bears a qualitative and stronger connection between the product and the place of origin which is determined by a set of natural factors (climate), and by a set of human factors (know-how such as in this case the traditional knowledge).

The Chilean Ministry of Economy together with the Chilean Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial (INAPI) launched the program ‘Sello de Origen’. The project aims to promote traditional products through the grant of Geographical Indication (GI), denomination of Origin (DO), Collective Trade Marks and/or Certification Marks.

Source INAPI. More information about GIs in Chile here. There is also a Factsheet specifically focused on the Chilean system to protect Geographical Indications produced by the Latin America IPR SMEs Helpdesk here.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

A legal battle over a ‘Champagne Biscuit’

Carozzi, a Chilean multinational company specialised in the food industry, won a legal dispute against the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (Inter-Professional Committee for Champagne Wine - CIVC) for the use of the word Champagne to identify one of its products.
The controversy began two years ago when Carozzi requested the registration of the mark ‘Costa Galleta Champaña’ (Coast Champagne Biscuit) before the National Institute of Industrial Property (Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial – INAPI). At that time, the Committee for Champagne Wine opposed the registration of the mark, claiming the non-authorised use of a French appellation of origin recognised by Chile and world famous sparkling wine.

Pouring the news...
The INAPI initially rejected the registration of the mark. However, Carozzi appealed the decision, and the Chilean Industrial Property Tribunal later granted its registration. Dissatisfied with the decision, the Committee for Champagne Wine filed an appeal (in cassation) with the Supreme Court. The Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Chile analysed whether the registration of the mark ‘Costa Galleta Champaña’ would affect the intellectual property rights of the French wine sector due to possible confusion among consumers generated by the use of the word ‘Champagne’, as alleged by the CIVC.

In that regard, the Court concluded that the mark and the appellation of origin could coexist peacefully on the market because there is no risk of misunderstanding, deception or confusion on the part of consumers. As expected, the Committee for Champagne Wine filled a revocation before the Constitutional Court, which upheld the decision.

In this way, all legal instances were used and, despite the utilisation of a protected appellation of origin, Carozzi can freely use the word Champagne as the name of one of its most popular products in Chile.

Sources here, here and here.

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

Monday, 2 October 2017

EU Piracy Study Finds No Connection between Piracy and Sales

Most of us have participated in a form of digital piracy in one form or another. Maybe you’ve downloaded a song off the internet, or even found a copy of your legal textbook online and paid less than what the published intended? Once you turned off your computer and found your reflection in the darkness of the screen, did it betray your abject feelings of guilt? Perhaps not. After all, a study in 2012 found that 57% of the world’s computer users confess to pirating software, and in April of 2017, a study found that 93% of millennials who pirate video content experience no guilt.

Piracy has become normalized in the modern world, despite efforts from publishers and online retailers to criminalize, at least morally, the act of digital theft. The premise of many such corporations, especially those involved in video games and audio-visual content, is that the use of piracy is directly proportionate to the amount of sales lost. In an attempt to clarify this connection, the European Commission paid over € 300,000 to initiate a study which examined the sales of copyrighted music, books, videogames and movies, and how piracy impacts them. The study itself was completed in 2015, but was intentionally prevented from going public, claims EU Law blogged Maren Schmid, because it did not suit the Commission's agenda. It has recently come to light thanks to Julia Reda, a European Parliament Member, representing the ‘German Pirate Party,’ who posted the study in her personal blog after gaining access using an EU Freedom of Information Request.

The study itself is remarkably clear in its findings, examining data from EU countries and concluding that the correlation between piracy and profit is nonexistent except when considering major blockbuster films. Interestingly, the study also confirms what prolific pirates have been claiming for decades, that access to a product at a reasonable rate using a reasonable platform encourages widespread legal consumption.

A study in March 2017 found that the eBook pirates are predominately old, educated and wealthy, making between 60,000 to 100,000 a year . Why would these wealthy individuals seek out illegal platforms when they can easily afford to purchase? Upon surveying contemporary eBook marketplaces, the general consensus is that eBooks cost more than their printed counterparts, even though they lack a physical condition. Even a wealthy individual may feel cheated or taken advantage of when considering purchases. This is highly discouraging to any prospective buyer, and pressures them into piracy. Changes to this confounded system would be mutually beneficial for all parties involved, giving reasonable prices to consumers at the same time as raising the profits of the publishers. For an example of when this works, examine platforms like Netflix for video consumption and Steam for videogames, which have streamlined access to content and have enjoyed massive consumer participation and profit margins.

If the publisher perspective was to be maintained, that piracy was a dominant force in limiting profits, why would Netflix and Steam have a combined userbase of over 200 million when all the content on their respective platforms can be pirated? This study confirms what has been recognized by the pirating communities for decades, that if the platform is accessible, and the price is reasonable, piracy becomes a non-issue.

Post written by Dalton Tucker
LLB University of Buckingham