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!

Thursday 24 December 2009

Patricia Covarrubia

Ecuadorian government creates public pharmaceutical and drug company

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By an executive Decree (No 181), the Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, ordered the creation of a public drug company called ENFARMA PA. The purpose of this company includes research and development of active ingredients for the manufacture of drugs for human use, veterinary and agronomic. Besides, it will produce medicines already patented – relating to the recently announcement of compulsory licenses. The company also will be involved with the marketing, import, export, packaging, labelling, and distribution of drugs.

It looks like the government is trying to monopolize the drug industry.

Ecuadorian Decrees can be accessed here. See executive decree 181.
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Monday 21 December 2009

Patricia Covarrubia

Short note - the Audiovisual Media Law in Argentina

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For the third time in less than a week, a Court in Argentina suspended some of the articles of the Audiovisual Media Law. No much information is given on the case as such but certainly the law is receiving challenges by different media enterprises.

Click here to read the newspaper.
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Friday 18 December 2009

Patricia Covarrubia

Audiovisual Services – the Media law in Argentina has found a barrier

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Weeks ago we brought to your attention the sets of regulations seeking to control the content of the media and its activities in Latin America.
Yesterday, a Court in Argentina suspended two articles of the Audiovisual Media Law for considering that they could affect retroactively property rights and legal rights. Moreover, it considers that the articles are unconstitutional. This precautionary measure, requested by the Clarin Group, the largest media conglomerate in the country, is the first ruling against the controversial media law; however, the ruling which is provisional, will surely be appealed by the Government.

The law was enacted in October this year. The government, which promoted the initiative, has interpreted the law as a way to democratise the media in Argentina, while some sectors of the opposition and newspaper groups saw the new law as giving the executive higher power over the media.

The resolution suspends the application of Article 41 and 161 of the law. The first Article regulates licenses and shares in the audiovisual communication service. That said, companies can only transfer and/or sell licenses and or shares through permits granted by a new Authority in which the government has a majority of five directors on a total of seven. The issue is that the text states that a company cannot have more than ten licenses of radio and television (Article 45 (1)(b)), and cannot hold a broadcast television channel and one of cable in one locality (Article 45 (1)(a)). So, it means for example that those companies with more licenses than those permitted by the new law are obliged to sell and need to do so following the procedure – by authorisation.

Article 161 sets the minimal period of one year to media owners to be suited to the limits set by law. This week, the government has already put in place the Enforcement Authority, with the intention to begin forcing the media to sell within a year.

I believe that the judge rightly ruled that the law produces "irreparable damage", not to mention that it violates the right of ownership over the investment made in the sector.

You can read the newspapers here and here.
Audiovisual Media Law here.
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Thursday 17 December 2009

Patricia Covarrubia

Wikipedia to be distributed on DVD for schools without Internet

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Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA: Jimmy Donal Wales, Wikipedia’s co-founder and co-creator, announced that by January there will be a Wikipedia on DVD. The initiative was introduced by Wikipedia Argentina and Educ.ar which is an online learning resource for children and parents.

The DVD will be distributed in schools in Argentina. This version of Wikipedia will be used by schools that have computers of different generations.

The point to be raised is that there is no information regarding fees. Is this a donation? Bearing in mind that this 'free education idea' is not new I will think so. In the UK, Wikimedia and SOS Children’s launched a Wikipedia DVD, which is distributed free of charge in some schools in England. However, observed that since 2004 Wikipedia CDs and DVDs have been released in Germany. They can be bought in amazon.de; for new software you will be paying around €25. Yet observed that they can be downloaded free of charge.

Now, looking at the payment, I cannot see the transparency of the fees. Wikipedia is free online, so a DVD should be priced according to material costs and taxes. But looking at the price it is sold, I guess that the price reveals more than what I was expecting. So that, I speculate that there are some kind of royalties involved. Certainly, this latte issue may be tricky since Wikipedia has thousands of hundreds of editors.
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Wednesday 16 December 2009

Gilberto Macias (@gmaciasb)

Información importante sobre Nombres de Dominio en Argentina

Según informa el NIC Argentina durante el 2010 se implementará un nuevo sistema de registro y administración de nombres de dominio.

Por tal motivo, se informa que todas las Entidades Registrantes deberán regularizar sus datos registrales. Aquellas que al 1º de marzo de 2010 no hayan regularizado sus datos registrales serán dadas de baja al igual que los dominios que estuvieran registrados a su nombre.

En concreto se refiere a 3 apartados:

Datos registrales
Estos datos (domicilio, teléfono, etc.) deben estar actualizados dado que la falsedad o inexactitud de los mismos puede derivar en la pérdida de nombres de dominio y/o bajas de Entidades Registrantes.

Correo electrónico
Es obligatorio para todas las Entidades tener asociada una dirección de correo electrónico válida y que se encuentre activa.

Es obligatorio para todas las Entidades registrar su CUIT, CUIL o DNI. Debido a ello,

Asimismo, NIC informa que el 1º de diciembre de 2009, entró en vigencia la nueva legislación aplicable: Resolución Ministerial 654/2009.
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Tuesday 15 December 2009


Who are you calling a weir.do?

I've just learned from my friends at Lexsynergy that the .do top level domain (TLD) is making the Dominican Republic an attractive place for the registration of second level domains which make a pun on the English word "do". Registrations opened last Thursday, 10 December 2009 and .do domain names are allocated on a ’first come, first served’ basis without formal restrictions. As Lexsynergy comments:
"This TLD will play an important role in the domain name and branding industry because it constitutes a word in several languages. In English there are endless branding opportunities such as please.do, weir.do, how-do-you.do and hair.do".
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Monday 14 December 2009

Patricia Covarrubia

An illegal whisky gives you more than a dishonest hangover

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Bogota, Colombia: el tiempo newspaper reports that yesterday about 1,000 counterfeited bottles of whisky were found in a house. The bottles are said to be from well-known foreign trade marks. According to preliminary investigations, the bottles are original and were purchased in recycling centres. Moreover, it is explained that the seals and labels are not original, but are pretty similar. This, according to officials, will make it more difficult to find any of these illegal bottles that may already be in the market.

The building was closed by the Metropolitan Police of Bogota and two people were arrested in the raid. The authorities recommend users to buy liquor in chain stores and recognised places, to also review very well the stamps and labels, and any symptoms other than the normal hangover to go to the nearest health centre!

I wonder if the recycling centre has committed any crime. At the end, their business is to recycle so, what do they do with the products? Do they washed and put it again in the market?

A few days back, I reported in this blog a measure taken by the INDECOPI. This involved the recycling of bottles and packages for medicines in Peru; the intention was to stop people reusing these materials and therefore stopping potential counterfeit medicines. This practice is well known in Latin America, to reuse original packaging. I therefore propose that authorities must start working to build certain policies where recycling companies need to take responsibility – just a thought.
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Saturday 12 December 2009

Patricia Covarrubia

Colombia reports millions in losses from illegal software

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The New Herald newspaper informs the statement given by Microsoft. It is reported that Colombia alone registered more than US$ 136 million in losses from illegal software in 2009.

The Microsoft’s manager for Colombia explained that "while the software piracy rate dropped two points (from 58% to 56%) the economic losses increased”. He added that this issue was not only because of the growth of the domestic market but also because of “the use of the Internet as a means of product promotion and illegal distribution". The manager also said that in Latin America, the piracy rate remained at 66% last year, with losses equivalent to US$ 4.311 million.

If you think the number are high, wait for the whole report.
The country (in Latin America) with the highest rate of counterfeiting is Venezuela, with a whooping rate of 86%. The other two are Paraguay with 83% and Bolivia with 81%. To my surprise, the lowest rate was reported to...Colombia, with 56%. Brazil reported 58%, so good news to those who are planning to develop new software to run and smooth things at the Olympic games in 2016 (I am not trying to be sarcastic).
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Friday 11 December 2009

Gilberto Macias (@gmaciasb)

La falsificación y la piratería ponen en riesgo la recuperación económica mundial

Durante la clausura del 5º Congreso Mundial para Combatir la Falsificación y la Piratería , que tuvo lugar en Cancún, del 1 al 3 de diciembre pasados, se alentó a empresarios y políticos, tanto nacionales como internacionales a participar más activamente en la lucha contra la falsificación y la piratería, como uno de los principales esfuerzos para la recuperación económica

El evento contó con más de 800 delegados de 80 países, quienes compartieron iniciativas que permitan reducir el impacto del tráfico de productos falsificados alrededor del mundo, identificando las soluciones más innovadoras y efectivas, que apoyen las estrategias que ya han sido implementadas en este rubro.

El 5º Congreso Mundial organizado por la INTERPOL y el Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial (IMPI), contó con el apoyo de la Organización Mundial de Aduanas (WCO), la Organización Mundial de la Propiedad Intelectual (WIPO), la Cámara de Comercio Internacional (ICC), a través de Acción Empresarial para Detener la Falsificación y la Piratería (BASCAP) y la iniciativa de la Asociación Internacional de Marcas (INTA), así como la Asociación Internacional de Seguridad Administrativa (ISMA).

La Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económico (OCDE), presentó datos actualizados que indican que el comercio internacional de productos piratas y falsificados, ha aumentado a más de 250 mil millones de dólares, casi el 2% del comercio mundial, por encima de los 200 mil millones de dólares, que se reportaron en 2007.

Más información aquí y aquí
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Thursday 10 December 2009


Hypermarcas consolidates its position in Brazil's generics market

It seems that the market for generic pharma products in Brazil -- estimated to surge 26% per annum -- is a lively and profitable one, judging by one recent deal. According to Pharma Times ("Pfizer beaten in battle for Brazil’s Neo Quimica") yesterday, major Brazilian company Hypermarcas -- which trades in hygiene and cleaning, beauty and food products and over-the-counter medicines -- has agreed to pay around 1.3 billion reals (about US$750 million) in cash and stock for Neo Quimica, one of the first laboratories to sell generics in Brazil. Earlier this year Neo Quimica opened a state-of-the-art factory in Anapolis; full-year revenues are expected to be 380 million reals, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation coming in at around 95 million reals.

This deal will make Hypermarcas the fourth biggest company in Brazil's $4.5 billion pharmaceutical industry, with a pipeline of 150 new products for the next three years. In securing Neo Quimica, Hypermarcas fought off a $525 million takeover bid from New York-based Pfizer, which had previously contemplated a joint venture. According to Pharma Times,
"Neo Quimica would have ticked a lot of boxes for Pfizer which, like a number of big pharma players, is looking to the emerging markets, not least Brazil, as a growth driver as US and European sales of patent-sensitive drugs begin to fall. Pfizer has also expressed its interest in boosting its generics presence".
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Tuesday 8 December 2009

Patricia Covarrubia

Perfume industry – a Mexican business that does not smell right!

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In Mexico, the volume of counterfeit perfumes is superior to genuine ones. According to William Hidalgo, National Chamber of Industry of the Perfumes and Cosmetics (Canipec)’s president, reveals that data collected from suppliers of raw materials and packaging, producers, traders and official sources indicated that between 55% and 60% of items on offer are out of formality. This situation hits heavily the fragrance industry since the formal market of perfumes and fragrances is valued at 12 billion pesos.

Mr Hidalgo informed that between 2008 and 2009, the Attorney General's Office (PGR) alleged to have confined more than 400 tons of fragrance of illegal origin. The main practices identified, he continued, is the filling of bottles of original brands, piracy, theft, auction stale perfume and contraband.

Smelling something fishy:
Canipec asserted that they sent to the Asset Management and Disposition Agency(SAE)a letter requesting the destruction of over 400 tons of illegal perfume, but has received no response about what will be the destination of the goods.

The version of the SAE is the opposite. They explained that they have received lots of goods transferred by the PGR in the past two years and some of them containing perfumes, among a diverse range of items. However, the perfumed total was 184.3 tons. The perfumes were auctioned off and they have informed the Canipec.

Usually, the SAE place the products they have received to the market through auctions. However, Mr Hidalgo complained that this act “would legalize what is illegal," and moreover, it is unfair competition.

I really do not like the smell of this! The Institutions should be working together against piracy. Collaboration is needed between different sectors to combat illegal practices. In that way they will be smelling success.
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Friday 4 December 2009

Patricia Covarrubia

Google blocks several of its internet tools in Cuba


The Cuban newspaper ‘Juventud Revelde’ reports that Google has blocked the webpage navigator Zeitgeist. Added to this, the Cubans Google Earth, Google Destktop Search, Google Code, Google Toolbar and Chrome are also upon those that cannot be accessed from the island.

In May this year, the newspaper criticised Microsoft for blocking MSN Messenger, which was functioning in the island since 1999. According to Microsoft the reason was that its services were limited (as for many other companies) because of the US blockade on Cuba. At that time, the newspaper questioned why after so many years of services they decided to obey such rule.

Today’s measure is again criticised by the newspaper. They rightly mentioned that this new measure “goes against the pronouncements of the current U.S. president, Barack Obama, who said he was committed to facilitate access to new technologies to the Cubans."

I cannot turn a blind eye to this type of news. For the last couple of weeks I have been criticising the administrative procedures and politics of certain countries in Latin America. This time however, I will have to agree with the fact that Google’s measure is out of order. Since 1962, Cuba suffers from a commercial and financial embargo from Washington. The question is: Didn’t Google know about it? Or...?? I honestly cannot think of any reason why after so many years they decided to block those programs.
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Thursday 3 December 2009

Gilberto Macias (@gmaciasb)

Malasia reconoce denominación de origen "pisco" a favor de Perú.

Según ha informado el Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, la Corporación de la Propiedad Intelectual de Malasia inscribió la denominación de origen “pisco” a favor de Perú.

El registro rige desde el 3 de noviembre y durará 10 años, tiempo durante el cual la denominación tendrá una protección exclusiva contra la utilización de terceros para productos que no sean originarios de Perú.

Me pregunto si el Gobierno de Chile intentará o ha intentado obtener la misma protección para su Pisco.

Mejor no hablar mucho del tema, que los recuerdos que tengo del Pisco Sour en el Chicha me quitan las ganas de seguir escribiendo…

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Wednesday 2 December 2009

Aurelio Lopez-Tarruella Martinez

Argentina: modificación del plazo de protección de los derechos de autor

El miércoles 25 de noviembre se dio sanción en la Cámara de Diputados a la modificación de la Ley 11723 de Propiedad Intelectual agregando el art. 5 bis donde en la misma se establece especialmente el aumento del plazo de CINCUENTA (50) a SETENTA (70) años sobre las interpretaciones grabadas en fonogramas así como también el plazo de SETENTA (70) años para los productores de los fonogramas. El el articulo modificado asimismo se verifica que establece la extensión de los plazos para aquellas obras que habían entrado al dominio publico y que recuperan el carácter de exclusivas para quienes eran titulares de los derechos económicos.

La modificación de la ley permitirá entre otras cosas evitar que algunos temas de Mercedes Sosa como por ejemplo el disco “La voz de la zafra” de 1961 pasen al dominio publico.

Otros fonogramas que estaban o que pasaron al dominio público durante el plazo de protección de 50 años, cobrarán nuevamente su vigencia privada por el plazo de diferencia entre 50 y 70. Se pueden citar a los artistas Edmundo Rivero, Aníbal Troilo, Osvaldo Pugliese y Atahualpa Yupanqui entre otros, que en la década del 50-60 realizaron sus grabaciones y que debido a la modificación volverán a disfrutar –sus herederos en estos casos- de los derechos de autor en su fase económica.

Articulo Modificado:
Artículo 5° bis: La propiedad intelectual sobre sus interpretaciones o ejecuciones fijadas en fonogramas corresponde a los artistas intérpretes por el plazo de SETENTA (70) años contados a partir del 1° de enero del año siguiente al de su publicación. Asimismo, la propiedad intelectual sobre los fonogramas corresponde a los productores de los fonogramas o sus derechohabientes por el plazo de SETENTA (70) años contados a partir del 10 de enero del año siguiente al de su publicación. Los fonogramas e interpretaciones que se encontraren en el dominio público sin que hubieran transcurrido los plazos de protección previstos en esta ley, volverán automáticamente al dominio privado por el plazo que reste, y los terceros deberán cesar cualquier forma de utilización que hubieran realizado durante el lapso en que estuvieron en el dominio público.

La modificación ha sido celebrada por algunos sectores y repudiada por otros entendiendo en el sector contrario a la reforma que la misma afecta el acceso a la cultura.

Un dato importante para aclarar es que la ley de Propiedad Intelectual de Argentina sostiene que el fonograma es una “obra” protegida.

Prepared by (Abogado en Argentina), posted by Aurelio
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Patricia Covarrubia

Venezuela to examine all pharmaceutical patents

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The forum titled "The patents as element of exclusion and limit to the health of the town", which was lectured in Venezuela, saw the head of different institutions united. Last Thursday, the Venezuelan Minister of Commerce, Eduardo Samán, the Servicio Autónomo de la Propiedad Intelectual (SAPI)’s director Arlen Piñate and the Cámara de Medicamentos y Afines (CANAMEGA)’s president , Jorge Rivas, declared their views regarding pharmaceutical patents.

Eduardo Saman, declared that “all pharmaceutical patents are to be examined to see if they have fulfilled the corresponding proceeding”. To this view, Jorge Rivas added that the SAPI needs to scrutinize all pharmaceutical patents that have been granted under Andean Community (CAN) Decision 311, 313, and 344.

The situation comes after two Bayer’s pharmaceutical patents were annulled by the government. As reported early in this blog here and here, the procedures under which these two patents were annulled caused controversy.

The crucial point of this is based on the fact that there is not clarity on how the examination is going to be done. In one hand, the Industrial Property Act of 1956 prohibits this type of patents. In the other, the Andean Declaration 344 does allow so. Venezuela withdrew from the Andean block in 2006 (a member since 1973). So that, the debate is: will it be scrutinized under the law in force at the time the application was filed or at the time it was examined?

As observed in the Bayer case, the government has a convenient way to declare that certain pharmaceuticals patents are ‘illegal’. Thus, it seems that if a pharmaceutical patent was filled or examined while the Industrial Property Act of 1956 was in force, then the patent will be annulled. From this statement, one can conclude that the Andean Community Declaration appears not to have existed! Or, is it a case that the Venezuelan government is not recognising general principles of law such as ‘non-retroactivity’ and the ‘protection of legitimate expectations’?
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Tuesday 1 December 2009

Patricia Covarrubia

Peru: toys that play without a mark

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Christmas time appears to be a good moment for the National Institute for the Defence of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) to launch a security check campaign. The institution is working on the street by doing inspections on different shops, specifically those that sell toys. The objective is to check the marks and labelling of these products. The mark is the one needed to identify the product and the latter, involves a sanitary authorisation.

This campaign is a clear reminder of what a mark signifies to consumers. Later on we have been absorbed by so many advertisers that marks have become a social status, a style of living, a representation of what we want to be or are. However, we must not put aside the principal function of a mark, that of origin. While I do agree that today’s function of a mark is more than origin and quality, I cannot stress enough the importance of recognising that a mark tells us that the product comes from a particular manufacturer.

That said, the INDECOPI rightly reports that with a mark, consumers indentify the importer, or manufacturer, or the responsible for the commercialisation of the product and so, the responsible, if a query and/or claim is brought.

Those toys that are found without a mark or labels, can be fined up to 1 million 65 thousand Peruvian Nuevos Soles (approx. 366 thousand American dollars)

To watch the INDECOPI working in this operation click here
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