Welcome to our blog for Intellectual Property Law and Practice in Latin America!
¡Bienvenidos a nuestro blog de Derecho y Práctica de la Propiedad Intelectual en Latinoamérica!
Bem-vindo ao nosso blog sobre Direito e Prática de Propriedade Intelectual na América Latina!

Sunday, 21 November 2021

IPTango

Encounter 17: Licensing Standard Essential Patents


On 24 November 2021, FIDE (Legal and Business Research Foundation) and TIPSA (Transatlantic Intellectual Property Academy) will hold the Encounter 17: Licensing Standard Essential Patents.

The panellists are Ruud Peters (Peters IP Consultancy), Professor Jorge L. Contreras (University of Utah) and Elena Kostadinova (European Commission). Dr. Jorge Padilla (Compass Lexecon) will moderate the session.

The suggested readings and the report on the session will be available on the Global Digital Encounters (GDE) website as time goes by.

The Encounter is offered free of charge, but registration is required. Register here now!

If you missed previous Encounters or you want to watch them again, click here.

Credit: The image is courtesy of FIDE.
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Friday, 19 November 2021

Patricia Covarrubia

Brazilian IPO – weekly news roundup

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Patricia Covarrubia

"Cómo proteger y promover su cultura - Patentes" - OMPI webinar

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Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Patricia Covarrubia

Re-schedule: geographical indication, definition, management, sustainability and consumers

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 Will you be there?

I just go news from the Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) about its international conference. I published the invitation a while ago but due to the pandemic, it did not take place....NOW IT WILL :)

by Kenny Stoltz
The conference is on the 12th to 15 th July, 2022 and the location...oh my!...Montpellier, France [I honestly do not know if I am excited because it is finally taking place or because of the location]. The conference will be in person (so we can raise a glass - or two :)) but will provide 'virtual' access for those that cannot travel due to health concerns.

So tell us, what is the most recent research you have been discussing with your peers in the GI world? Would you like to share this with us? The deadline is 1st Dec,2021.

What are we expecting, what topics?

Nature and legal definition, public and private management, impacts in the marketplace and outside the market, sustainable development including social dimensions and the protection of biodiversity and environment, relationships with other intellectual property rights, engagement with other formal and informal forms of norm-making, consumers’ welfare, competition policies, technical innovation and terroir effect, collective organization and collaboration, participation and empowerment of local actors: these are some of the topics that will feed the debates in this conference.

For more information click here (English) and here (Spanish



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Tuesday, 9 November 2021

IPTango

[Guest Post] Brazil: Bill No. 12/2021 on compulsory licensing of patents


IPTango is pleased to publish a guest post by Pedro Matheus and Leonardo Cordeiro (Gruenbaum, Possinhas & Teixeira), discussing the Brazilian bill No. 12/2021 on compulsory licensing of patents in cases of national or international emergencies, public interest or public calamity nationwide.


On 11 August 2021, the Brazilian Senate approved the Bill No. 12/2021 to amend the Brazilian Industrial Property Law and regulate the compulsory licensing of patents in cases of declaration of national or international emergencies or public interest by the Executive, or recognition of a state of public calamity nationwide by the National Congress.

The Bill No. 12/2021

The Bill establishes “rules and deadlines compatible with the urgency of the situation”, as well as a “power-duty of action by the Executive when facing the declaration of a National Interest Emergency”.

However, despite the alleged noble purposes, it seems the Bill does not imply significant changes to the compulsory licensing procedure already set forth via decree No. 3.201/1999. Likewise, it’s difficult to foresee how it will objectively solve the problems concerning the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines in Brazil.

The Bill establishes some new rules and sets deadlines regarding the compulsory licensing procedure, such as a duty of the Executive to issue a list of the patents and patent applications that could be potentially useful during an emergency or exceptional situation (article 71, §2), as well as the participation of public organizations, research, and education institutions (such as universities) and other entities in the procedure (article 71, §3). However, it is not yet clear which patents could theoretically be subject to compulsory licensing since no previous studies point out which patents could be listed to be licensed due to the new Bill.

Moreover, Brazil is not a producer of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), mainly imported from India and China. Thus, it is also not clear how to license pharmaceutical technologies to “manufacturers with proven technical and economic capability”, according to article 71, §6 of the Bill, especially considering that the vaccines currently being produced in Brazil are already subject to transnational contracts, such as the ones between Instituto Butantã and Sinovac, and Fundação Oswaldo Cruz and AstraZeneca.

In this sense, even if there are patents regarding COVID-19 vaccines to be potentially licensed, Brazilian manufacturers would still depend on importing foreign APIs and know-how, which is one of the bottlenecks of the Brazilian COVID-19 vaccination program.

The logistics of importing foreign vaccines and APIs is the main bottleneck of Brazil’s vaccination and not the exclusivity of certain products due to the issuance of patents. It is important to note that Brazil has an exemplary vaccination program due to the capillarity of its system. According to the data of the National Plan for the operationalization of the vaccination against COVID-19, there are approximately 38 000 vaccination locations around the country and a population that, majority, responds positively to the call to receive their vaccine jabs.

As mentioned above, the licensing of any patent does not seem to tackle this issue since merely licensing a technology does not necessarily provide the means to reproduce such technology immediately.

In the view above, the Bill may also have an electoral connotation. Indeed, 2022 will be an electoral year in Brazil, and one of the main criticisms of the current Brazilian government has been the acquisition of vaccines and the handling of the pandemic.

The Bill became Law No. 14.200/2021 on 2 September 2021. However, the President used his veto to override a few provisions, such as the requirement for a patent owner to transfer know-how and provide supplies of medicines and vaccines, which, according to the veto’s text, would be challenging to implement and could discourage investments in technology and the formation of strategic commercial partnerships, such as the ones already mentioned above.

Comments

The new Law aims to clarify and establish rules for a procedure that already existed in Brazilian Law (the compulsory licensing of patents), and which has been reserved for moments of crisis when a patent holder is unable to properly provide the object of a patent that is strictly necessary to tackle and overcome such situation. Nevertheless, it is not yet clear how such a procedure would apply to the current COVID-19 pandemic and if it was indeed necessary to face the current situation since compulsory licensing was already established and could have been used if it was indeed essential.

On a final note, it is necessary to highlight that the Brazilian Congress opted to establish these new rules and regulations through amendments to the Industrial Property Law. In contrast, the previous regulations were set forth via presidential decree No. 3.201/1999, following a proper legislative technique.

Thus, if there is a need to establish new rules and deadlines in the future or to amend any other provision of the regulations, such amendments would require a new bill to be approved by the Congress (Federal Senate and the Chamber of Deputies), which could take more time than the issuance of a new presidential decree.

The Law has already entered into force, but the Brazilian Congress can still maintain or overrule the Presidential decision regarding the vetoed provisions.

Credits:
Fist image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay.
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Friday, 29 October 2021

IPTango

INTA’s 2021 Annual Meeting: Registration closes soon!


The International Trademark Association (INTA) will hold the 2021 Annual Meeting Virtual+ from 15 to 19 November 2021.

The hybrid event includes virtual education sessions, business development opportunities, and social networking activities.

Likewise, one-day in-person mini-conferences featuring top-notch speakers and informal networking will take place as follows:

  • 16 November: New York, USA.
  • 17 November: Berlin, Germany.
  • 18 November: Los Angeles, California, USA.

This year, more than 150 speakers from 30 countries are on the agenda. The program covers the following topic tracks: building a better society through brands, the business of brands, enforcement and anticounterfeiting, innovation and the future of IP, and regional updates. Review here the virtual program.

The registration closes on 29 October 2021 at 11.59 (EDT). So far, more than 2 600 professionals from 100 countries have already registered. Out of these, 650 will also be attending the mini-conferences.

More information here.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

Update 29 October 2021: The registration deadline has been extended. New deadline: 8 November 2021 (EDT).
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Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Patricia Covarrubia

The IPTango Experience in IP Studying and Teaching

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I have the wonderful experience and indeed the privilege to have been invited to participate in the European Intellectual Property Teachers’ Network (EIPTN). The aim of the network is to share good practices and ideas that benefit in not only the classroom but also education in general. My contribution was on how the IPTango blog has helped me as a student, researcher and teacher in the area of IP. As you can see, I needed to start from who I am, and share my journey. 

Blogs as communication technologies
I can confidently say that today we apply communication technologies in our classrooms, in our networks and even with family. It has become part of our lives. On education, it has improved our classroom with spaces that are open and flexible in the learning and teaching process. While we may agree that such tools can be used as ‘learning tools’ as the literature assert, I wanted to bring something else to the table, that of ‘inclusivity’.

Me and blogs 
I am from Venezuela and of course I am a minority in the English classroom but also I have a learning difficulty, I have dyslexia – again an ‘existing’ minority in the classroom. Certainly, as a student I felt alienated. Consequently, the impostor syndrome hit me (and still does, I am not going to lie) until the beautiful journey of a blog started. My formed LLM supervisor introduced me to the IPKat and the most new (at the time) Latin America blog IPTango. 
These were my steps:
1.- Knowledge construction: I used the blogs for education purposes. I learnt from them, as they were short pieces (digestible to me) – they were readable, the layout, colour and images were appealing to my mind. Once I felt comfortable, I move to the next stage 
2.-Collective Knowledge: reading the comments was in another league! So many ideas, controversial opinions, discussions where I started to open with confidence my ‘critical analysis’. The blog provided me with a space to do so by the construction of knowledge from different perspectives. 
3.- Reflective writing: I was brave enough to write a comment myself :) - but hey, making sure that mine was not the first one. The reflective writing came by acquiring the collective knowledge from both blogs, mainly I was enlighten by the legislation in Europe but reflecting on how on EARTH are we planning to practice this in Latin America, let alone in Venezuela. Why do we keep ‘borrowing’ legislations? Can we just not take good practices and see how we can build proper procedures to our society? 

The whole process made me feel a part of a community. I started to feel that I was included in the conversations, I felt representing a region – we did have a voice.

From a student to a teacher
I notice that a blog is more conversational (although I do not see many comments in the actual IPTango post, I do receive private messages, invitations, collaborations, etc apart from 99% junk messages). I also feel that the relationship between teacher and student becomes better using this tool, as a student I have great conversations with my teachers about recent post and now as a teacher there is not a class that someone will note a ‘recent post’. To extend the area, I invite my students to follow blogs as part of the further reading, my natural instinct is to follow the IPKat cousins (or friends) but I am sure everyone have their own favourite. 

Facilitating bridges
Blogs are a knowledge generator, it is a learning tool, it includes everyone and in all honesty, there is so much info out there that is not ‘legit’, that I rather guide them before they go surfing in troubled waters. Foreign students in EU classrooms come to this region to learn and therefore the information and knowledge must be of the region. However, are we as teachers not facilitators too? We need to encourage students at large to reflect in their learning. In the classroom, it works both ways: the foreign students may find their own voice by reflecting on their society. Local students get to know other societies and cultures. We then facilitate the classroom, corridors and cafeteria for that rich dialogue start among students. The use of a blog then creates a bridge in the students’ community. It allows the participants to create arguments, contradict practices, express hypothesis, or if to shy, by just reading and listening a blog builds on them knowledge and acknowledge their presence. 

The full EIPTN Conference papers can be found here.
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Monday, 25 October 2021

Patricia Covarrubia

Guest Post: El Ámbito de Protección de las Indicaciones Geográficas bajo los Acuerdos Comerciales de la UE con América Latina

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Los acuerdos comerciales de la UE con los países de América Latina presentan importantes diferencias en lo que concierne a la protección de las indicaciones geográficas (IGs, término utilizado en el derecho comercial internacional para identificar diferentes tipos de indicaciones, como las indicaciones geográficas protegidas/IGPs, o las denominaciones de origen protegidas/DOPs). Una de estas diferencias atañe al ámbito de protección que las partes contratantes tienen que acordar a las IGs bajo estos acuerdos. Por lo tanto, cabe preguntarse cual es el ámbito de protección de la IGs con base al lenguaje adoptado por estos acuerdos. Esta pregunta es actual a la luz de las recientes decisiones del Tribunal de Justicia de la Union Europea (UE) basadas en la normativa europea de referencia. 

En particular, justo para citar tres casos recientes, en 2019 el Tribunal de Justicia de la UE aclaraba en su sentencia sobre el ‘Queso Manchego’ (asunto C- 614/17) que “la utilización de signos figurativos que evoquen la zona geográfica a la que está vinculada una denominación de origen […] puede constituir una evocación de esa denominación”, evocación prohibida por la normativa europea. Además, en 2020 en su sentencia sobre el queso ‘Morbier’ (asunto C- 490/19), el Tribunal de Justicia indicaba que queda prohibida “la reproducción de la forma o de la apariencia características de un producto amparado por una denominación registrada cuando dicha reproducción pueda inducir al consumidor a creer que el producto en cuestión está amparado por esa denominación registrada”. Finalmente, en su más reciente sentencia sobre el uso del nombre comercial ‘Champanillo’ (asunto C-783-19), el Tribunal establecía que la evocación “por una parte, no exige, como requisito previo, que el producto amparado por una DOP y el producto o el servicio cubierto por el signo controvertido sean idénticos o similares y, por otra parte, queda acreditada cuando el uso de una denominación hace surgir, en la mente de un consumidor europeo medio, normalmente informado y razonablemente atento y perspicaz, un vínculo suficientemente directo y unívoco entre esa denominación y la DOP.”
Manchego by ciclonebill


La cuestión del ámbito de protección de las IGs en los acuerdos comerciales surge exactamente a raíz del lenguaje utilizado en las disposiciones sobre el ámbito de protección de las IGs en los acuerdos comerciales de la UE. Al respecto, cabe subrayar que las IGs han sido en ciertos casos objeto de difíciles negociaciones, como en el caso del ‘Queso Manchego’ en el Acuerdo Comercial de principio entre la UE y México, cuyas negociaciones se concluyeron en 2018 (acabando las partes contratantes de debatir algunas cuestiones técnicas pendientes en 2020). El Acuerdo incluye, de hecho, la indicación ‘Queso Manchego’ entre las IGs de la UE protegidas en el territorio de México pero establece, al mismo tiempo, que los productores mexicanos podrán seguir usando esta denominación especificando que el queso se hace con leche de vaca (y no de oveja), evitando usar elementos que aludan al ‘Queso Manchego’ español (gráficos, nombres, dibujos y banderas), y aclarando su origen y composición. 

Es preciso destacar que el Acuerdo Comercial de principio entre la UE y México no utiliza el mismo lenguaje que los reglamentos europeos sobre las IGs. En efecto, el Acuerdo Comercial obliga las partes a adoptar las medidas jurídicas para evitar el uso de las IGs en incumplimiento del pliego de condiciones (incluso si la IG es traducida y/o acompañada de términos como ‘estilo’, ‘tipo’, ‘imitación’, etc.); el uso de cualquier medio de designación o presentación del producto que indique o sugiera que el producto se origina en un área geográfica diferente al lugar de origen verdadero de una forma que confunda el público; y cualquier acto que constituya competencia desleal bajo el Artículo 10bis del Convenio de Paris para la protección de la propiedad industrial. 

Al contrario, el Acuerdo Comercial de principio entre la UE y el Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosur) así como la propuesta de la UE para la modernización del Acuerdo Comercial con Chile son más fieles a la normativa de la UE, ya que las IGs identificadas en estos acuerdos estarán protegidas, entre otras prácticas, contra cualquier uso indebido, imitación o evocación y cualquier otra práctica que pueda inducir a error al consumidor acerca del verdadero origen del producto (actualmente, Artículo X.33 de la propuesta de la UE sobre PI para el Acuerdo con Chile, y Articulo 7.4 del capítulo sobre PI del acuerdo con el Mercosur).

Por otro lado, el Acuerdo entre la UE y Colombia, Ecuador y Perú (Artículo 210), cuya negociación se concluyó en 2011, entre otras prácticas, protege las IGs listadas en el Anexo del Acuerdo así como las que se añadan con el tiempo contra cualquier uso indebido, imitación o evocación cuando esto cree confusión al consumidor. En el caso de las IGs que identifican vinos, vinos aromatizados o bebidas espirituosas, queda prohibido en general cualquier uso indebido, imitación o evocación, al menos, para productos de ese género. En este sentido, aunque no sea igual, también este Acuerdo se acerca a la normativa de la UE sobre IGs en lo que concierne a la protección contra la evocación de la IG para productos no amparados. 

Está claro que algunos de los textos de los acuerdos citados pueden sufrir modificaciones antes de su entrada en vigor definitiva. De no ser así, es probable que la UE y/o los productores y exportadores europeos de productos protegidos por las IGs identificadas en estos acuerdos intenten acogerse a la jurisprudencia del Tribunal de Justicia de la UE sobre el ámbito de protección de las IGs. Por consiguiente, queda por verse cuan amplio es en verdad este ámbito de protección que podría ser, por lo tanto, mucho más extenso de lo esperado durante las negociaciones de estos acuerdos.

Written by Gabriele Gagliani
Lecturer at Bocconi University. Adjunct Professor at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland (Ohio, U.S.A.).
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Monday, 18 October 2021

Patricia Covarrubia

Collective Marks - a follow up

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From Argentina our friend (member of the IPTango community) Claudio Iglesias Darriba writes:

In Argentina, since 2008, the Collective Trademark Act (Law 26.355) provides that the registration of collective trademarks is free of charge before the Argentinian Instituto Nacional de la Propiedad Intellectual INPI (art. 14). In addition, it provides that oppositions against these trademarks pay double the tariff provided for common commercial trademarks (art. 10).

Aside, the Act contains an advanced provision for its time: it provides for the possibility of filling a collective mark through the multi-class system. This is because it was not until the 29th March 2019, that the Argentinian Government issued Decree No. 242/19 regulating provisions of the amended Trademark Law opened the possibly to file “multi-class” trademark applications in Argentina.  

In accordance to the Act, collective marks are defined as those signs that distinguish products and/or services made or provided by associative forms aimed at the development of the social economy. (art. 1) In addition, the Law’s Regulatory Decree (Decree 1384/2008), provides that collective marks are applied to indications of cultural, ethnic, historical, anthropological origin and any other that serves for the better differentiation of products and services. (art. 1) 

A friendly hand
by Jesús Dehesa 
The Collective Trademark Act establishes that the Ministry of Social Development must provide free and specialized assistance during the registration procedures for collective trademarks (art. 15). Besides,  according to the Law, the ministry together with the National Institute of Industrial Technology, and the National Institute of Agricultural Technology, shall facilitate access to quality programs, training and technical assistance for holders and users of collective trademarks, which ensure better processes and products, and better socio labour conditions (art 16). 

The numbers - applications 
These figures developed strongly since 2009, reaching more than 350, both urban and rural, until 2016, when a change in government administration led to a decrease in its use as an instrument of social promotion. Yet INPI confirmed that there are 718 collective marks and the last one recorded was in 2018. Currently, they are expected to resume their boom with the arrival of the new government authorities. 

Collective Marks - a tool
Every year, Las Huellas del Vino, a well-known collective trademark from the city of Lavalle (in the Province of Mendoza) organises an international event attended by dozens of homemade wine makers and hundreds of people (more info here, and this 'From Mendoza to the world: Lavalle exports its know how about homemade wine' here

Thanks Claudio for this insight . IPTango members, is this something that is  happening in your jurisdiction? I remember Ecuador also run a project like this for national geographical indications (GI)- any one else out there? 

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Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Patricia Covarrubia

Peru on Collective Marks: aiming to create a link among communities

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Searching on the Peruvian Instituto Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia y de la Propiedad Intellectual (Indecopi)

webpage, I noticed that one of the most popular events and campaigns have been on ‘collective marks’. I was curious indeed, and perhaps to learn more on the trend I clicked on the news – to my surprise I became overwhelm by the great job that the IP office is doing. As a starting point, they have friendly videos covering what a collective mark is, and how they can be an instrument of economic value but crucial to my later discussion, associations. 

Then, it is good to see that since December 2020, Indecopi eliminated the fees for the registration of collective marks. A report published by Indecopi shows how the registration of this type of marks has blossomed. For instance in the 90s and until 2017 there were 236 marks, while during 2017 and 2019 there were 4,442 registrations. The report also notes how women are leading on this type of projects especially in the artisanal sector. [here and here] A remark that I could not miss was to see collective marks for traditional handicrafts and thus, promoting cultural identity and the diversity of national flora and fauna. 

QR Code

I also note with content the use of QR for the collective marks registered. Such QR Code allows “consumers to quickly obtain information related to the characteristics of the product, its history, the association that markets them, its members, the commercial contact information, in which market the products are traded, etc.” Indecopi permanently updates such information. 

Associations – what is the fuzz, if any? 

Collective marks are used by a collective group to distinguish a good or service (a product) from others that do not form part of such collective group. The pre-phase recognition or granting of such marks, invites the members to group the producers. Usually, as in the case of the collective marks recently registered, come from groups and communities where there are fewer resources. Therefore, the establishment of an association of producers is one of the crucial steps taking by the group and or communities. While this may sound easy, the first challenge is how to motivate the community to join a ‘group’. In addition, to build and follow membership rules. At the end, the goal is to have a harmonious group. How to find such balance? A recommendation would be by producing codes of conduct and practices early on the conversation, that is the pre-phase, but also that the guidelines should be feasible so can be used in the post recognition-phase, that is, after the collective mark is granted. Aside from the association been built to organize and prepare a collective mark, the idea goes far from this. Associations help a group to be and feel part of a community – creating a sense of belonging, and to work on the same aim, that of protection, as in the case of traditional knowledge, preserving cultural heritage.
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