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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Patricia Covarrubia

South America and PROSUR – will it be more than words?

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PROSUR’s members have met last week in Rio de Janeiro. The meetings took place at INPI’s office as well as at the headquarters of WIPO in Brazil in which they closed a draft regarding a formal cooperation agreement between PROSUR’s members (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay). The draft contains its objectives and its activities. This latest draft shall be signed in July 2012 in Chile. Basically, the aim is to promote the quality and alertness of intellectual property services in the region. The project is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The goal:
  • In the trade mark area: still in the initial phase members are looking at the possibility of a trade mark registration for the whole region. It also includes an information portal for citizens of the region with information about services in each country and how to get them.
  • In the area of patents: experts from the countries involved will test the tools available for the proposed collaborative examination (the Brazilian e-PEC and/or WIPO Case - WIPO).
The project as such looks a step forward in the evolution of IP. More importantly the target appears to be the citizens of the region i.e. the inventors, the consumers, the business. Latin America does have good legislations in place-- in black and white, but the problem has been lack of communication to the citizens. I am referring to not the procedure or administration BUT just the bare understanding of what IP protection is. I recently finished an article for publication regarding Colombia and the Trade Mark legal system and the feeling I got is that consumers as well as manufacturers do not quite understand it, meaning why the need for registration (registration is not quite common (statistically speaking). In this regards, I do not think that looking and discussing at a communal registration system is the way to go - We are all familiar with the proverb “charity starts at home”, and therefore every country needs to bring up the culture of trade mark registration in their own nation before going for a communal one.

Source INPI.

    Patricia Covarrubia

    Patricia Covarrubia