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!

Monday 23 February 2015

Patricia Covarrubia

Colombia: association is enough

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The Colombian Superintendence of industry and Commerce (SIC) granted the registration of the word mark PLANICAN after finding without cause the opposition made by PLITICAN’ s mark’s owner.

The application was made by Chalver Laboratorios de Colombia S.A. on 6th February 2014 in Class 5 i.e. for "syrups for pharmaceutical use; supplements dietary and nutritious; fortified products; nutritional supplements" and other medical products. When the dossier No 14 025216 became published in August 2014, Sanofi, opposed to the registration on the grounds of lack of distinctiveness [absolute grounds of refusal Article 135(b) Andean Community (CAN) Decision 486] and similarity of its registered trade mark PLITICAN (No 92 209061) for identical products (Class 5) [relative grounds of refusal Art 136(a) CAN Decision 486].

The opposition
Who is Sanofi? According to the Colombian newspaper La Republica, Sanofi “is the leading company in the pharmaceutical industry in Europe, the fourth worldwide and number one in the Colombian pharmaceutical market”.

Sanofi argued that the sign PLANICAN did have visual, orthographic and phonetic similarities with its mark PLITICAN. The two words ended in an identical expression i.e. ‘ican’; both word have the same number of letters; the accent on the last syllable. Moreover, the two signs identified pharmaceutical products. It is then argued that the examiner ought to have made a more “in-depth analysis, because it represented a risk to the consumer.” It then explained that “consumers could be induced to an error concerning the origin of the product, as being aimed at the health care it implied that they shared marketing and distribution channels.”

While SIC found similarities in the use of the ending words “ican”, it explained that the analysis is focused on the whole sign and that the additional elements given to the sign “generated a different impression on the consumer”. Therefore, the signs should coexist on the market as there was no likelihood of association required by Art 136(a) -which requires confusion OR association. Observe that the EU case law requires confusion rather than association. Moreover, it is established that likelihood of confusion incorporates the likelihood of association but association alone is not enough (Wagamama).
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Thursday 19 February 2015

Patricia Covarrubia

Collectives marks may develop the region - looking beyond the economic factor

The Brazilian Intellectual Property Office (INPI) has recently granted a collective mark to the ‘Associação dos Agricultores Familiares e Amigos da Comunidade de Vargem Alta’. The 17 local farmers who grow and cut flowers will be using and trading under the mark AFLORALTA. This information was previously published here.

Today the point is focused on a particular sentence that was published by INPI. The collective marks was granted to farmers in the community Vargem Alta in the state of Espiritu Santo with a population of 19.130 habitants. According to INPI, this collective mark is aimed to the “reconstruction and development of the region.”

Image result for collective people
Indeed, one can acknowledge that a collective mark is a ‘club asset’ shared by a group who act on a specific territory in the production of a good and/or service. In this particular case the group consist of farmers operating in the territory of Vargem Alta. But, would the collective mark develop the region? Are we just talking about economic growth?

Vast literature covers educated economic analysis of collective trade marks and geographical indication protection. In a nutshell we can establish that collective marks and/or GI do not guarantee an economic success –that is a fact. The success depend on many other things, such as reputation of the good, dynamics of the group, market structure, strategies, etc. Added to this, it could be argued that when you come from a small community a collective mark and/or GI could have a cultural impact – this goes beyond the economic effect. Whether you are a producer or a consumer, you start to be more aware of the goods and do try to preserve and maintain the value of the intangible – the name that reflects not just the good, but the community.

Would a collective mark then reconstruct and develop the region? I believe yes - of course my thought is not based on economics. A collective mark may help to provide recognition to traditional production methods and could promote conservation of natural vegetation. It is therefore argued that a collective mark may reflect a strong link between a good and culture and this at the end benefit rural development.

Do you believe that INPI's sentence refer to economic growth or cultural value?

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Monday 16 February 2015


MARQUES trade mark coexistence workshop comes to Buenos Aires

It's not often that this English-speaker would dare post anything on this blog in Spanish, but here's his big chance to do so. MARQUES, the European trade mark organisation, is running a Coexistence Agreement Workshop next month in the lovely, vibrant city of Buenos Aires. The date is Thursday 5 March 2015 and the venue is the office of Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal, Leandro N. Alem 928 7th Floor, Buenos Aires, Argentina. for Anglophones the news is that the aim of this workshop will be to sensitize participants in commercial and legal issues that arise when a potential conflict of two or more business with similar marks can be avoided by negotiating a contract Priority Rights ("Agreement coexistence"). However, for Spanish lawyers, MARQUES announces the following:
Taller sobre Acuerdos de Coexistencia
Jueves 05 de Marzo 2015
Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal, Leandro N. Alem 928 7th Floor,
Buenos Aires, Argentina
El objetivo de este taller será el de sensibilizar a los participantes sobre las cuestiones comerciales y jurídicas que surjan cuando hay un potencial conflicto de dos o más negocios con marcas similares que podría evitarse mediante la negociación de un contrato de Derechos Prioritarios ("Acuerdo de coexistencia").
El taller tiene un precio de 25,00 EUR.
Este taller se celebrará en Español
The registration fee for this meeting is €25. The seminar will be conducted in Spanish. You can check out the programme here and access the registration details here.

If you can't wait till March, there's a MARQUES Coexistence Agreement Workshop coming up in Mexico in a week and a half (details here).
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Monday 9 February 2015

Rodrigo Ramirez Herrera @ramahr

Chile: Positivo balance del INAPI como ISA/IPEA del PCT en dos meses de 2014

Desde el 22 de octubre de 2014 el Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial (INAPI) de Chile está en operaciones como Administración encargada de búsqueda y examen preliminar internacional (ISA/IPEA) del PCT, tanto para los solicitantes chilenos como para aquellos pertenecientes a los países de Latinoamérica y el Caribe, que designen a la Oficina chilena.

A partir de esa fecha las solicitudes presentadas en INAPI o en alguno de los países que lo han designado en su cometido como Oficina Receptora de PCT (Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, México, Panamá y Perú), han podido elegir a la Oficina nacional para que realice sus búsquedas y examen preliminares internacionales. 

Como balance de esa gestión como ISA/IPEA de PCT, en los poco más de dos meses de implementación (22 de octubre - 31 de diciembre de 2014), 37 solicitudes internacionales PCT eligieron al INAPI para que realizara su informe de búsqueda internacional, 35 de las cuales fueron chilenas y 2 de El Salvador. De estas 37 solicitudes, 14 fueron del área Mecánica, 11 de Química, 7 de Biotecnología, 3 de Farmacia y 2 de Eléctrica, correspondiendo a 18 universidades chilenas, 8  personas naturales y 11 personas jurídicas.

Según el INAPI el balance de este corto período es muy positivo, en especial respecto de las universidades chilenas, ya que reafirma las cifras que se tuvieron el año pasado como Oficina Receptora, donde 22 solicitudes de un total de 90 que se recibieron el año 2014 -equivalente a un 24,4%- fueron de esta clase de instituciones de educación superior. Estos números superan en forma porcentual las cifras globales respecto del patentamiento vía PCT de universidades de Chile y confirman la utilidad del sistema de tasas diferenciadas y de menor valor para las universidades establecido por el INAPI, como una manera de facilitar y promover su acción en la innovación. El acierto de esta política de tasas se refleja en las solicitudes presentadas por universidades con menos experiencia en el patentamiento tales como la Universidad de Talca, la Universidad Andrés Bello y la Universidad del Bio Bio, las que se unen a otras ya más consolidadas como la  Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, la Universidad de Concepción, y la Universidad de Santiago.

Fuente: Constanza Zülch Barrios (Comunicaciones INAPI)
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Rodrigo Ramirez Herrera @ramahr

Hong Kong y México firman acuerdo de cooperación en propiedad intelectual

Los gobiernos de Hong Kong y de México firmaron un acuerdo de cooperación en el ámbito de la propiedad intelectual para potenciar el intercambio de información entre ambas partes.

La directora de Propiedad Intelectual de Hong Kong, Ada Leung, y el director general del Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial, Miguel Ángel Margain, suscribieron el Memorando de Entendimiento (MoU) por el que se establece un marco para facilitar la cooperación entre ambas partes en áreas como las de mejora del intercambio de información técnica, formación a comunidades empresariales o la comercialización e intercambio del comercio en materia de propiedad intelectual.

"El intercambio de información y la promoción de mejores prácticas previsto en este acuerdo reforzará la protección legal de patentes y marcas mexicanas y permitirá incrementar los esfuerzos en la lucha con la prácticas empresariales ilegales", informó en Hong Kong la cónsul de México en Hong Kong, Alicia Buenrostro Massieu.

"Con un fuerte apoyo por parte de los dos gobiernos y los sectores industriales y empresariales, esta colaboración inspirará a más empresas de propiedad intelectual a trabajar de forma conjunta entra ambas regiones en el futuro", dijo por su parte Yung.

Bajo este acuerdo, ambas partes organizarán seminarios y eventos conjuntos con el objetivo de mejorar el entendimiento mutuo entre organizaciones que se dedican a los temas de propiedad intelectual en la región Asia-Pacífico.

Fuente: OEM
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Thursday 5 February 2015

Gilberto Macias (@gmaciasb)

Perú - En 2014 se registró un crecimiento del 40% en solicitudes de patentes

El Instituto Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia y de la Protección de la Propiedad Intelectual
de Perú (INDECOPI) informó que durante el año 2014, los inventores nacionales presentaron 40 % más solicitudes de patentes que el año anterior.

Durante 2014 se recibieron 275 solicitudes peruanas de patentes, número nunca antes registrado en el Perú.  De estas solicitudes, 193 fueron realizadas por personas naturales, ya sea inventores o emprendedores independientes (58 % más que en 2013), 50 fueron presentadas por universidades, centros académicos y centros de investigación nacionales (51 % más que en 2013), y 32 por empresas peruanas (20 % menos que en 2013).

Cabe destacar que por primera vez las universidades, centros académicos y centros de investigación logran superar la cantidad de solicitudes del sector empresarial.

A continuación reproducimos los datos proporcionados por el Indecopi sobre el crecimiento de solicitudes nacionales de patentes:

De continuar el mismo ritmo de crecimiento, el Perú espera convertirse en líder de inventos patentados, superando a Colombia, México y Chile hacia el 2017.

Más información aquí.
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Patricia Covarrubia

Publication of the week – genetics resources in Chile

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This week the University of Buckingham has published as the publication of the week (here) an article that is available in the European Intellectual Property Review (EIPR 2015, 37(1)) by Sweet & Maxwell. The article [essentially an opinion] entitled “Genetic resources and the debate over legacy: Chilean constitutional reform”, is actually based upon a post that I wrote in this blog (here).

The abstract:
"Examines a Bill being considered by the Chilean Parliament to amend the Constitution of Chile art.19 in order to: (1) assert ownership over the country's genetic resources; (2) protect against the unauthorised use of these resources or the traditional knowledge (TK) of indigenous communities; and (3) promote the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the exploitation of these resources or TK. Compares these measures with the relevant international law framework."

It is indeed very exciting to belong to a community of IP academic, scholars, practitioners, clients and consumers, who share information in the IP Latin America region. Thanks for bringing ideas and thoughts to this Latin American blog and please… keep doing so.

Hard-copies are available directly from Sweet & Maxwell. Electronic copies via any major database (e.g. Westlaw).
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Wednesday 4 February 2015


MARQUES coexistence workshop reaches Mexico

Since this weblog has just touched upon the subject of trade mark coexistence agreements (in Peru), it is relevant to add that this very topic is the subject of a forthcoming event in Latin America: it's a workshop held under the auspices of MARQUES, the European trade mark organisation. According to the MARQUES Class 46 weblog,
"Launched a couple of years ago as nothing more than an experiment in showing how trade mark negotiation skills can be enhanced, the MARQUES Trade Mark Coexistence Agreement Workshop has grown wings and now it has flown all the way to Mexico.

This challenging yet enjoyable workshop will take place later this month, on Thursday 26 February 2015, at the Hotel Fiesta Inn Insurgentes Sur, Mercaderes 20, San José Insurgentes, Mexico City 03900, Mexico. It will, appropriately, be conducted entirely in Spanish. To remind readers of what the workshop is all about, MARQUES tells us that
The objective of this workshop will be to sensitise participants to the commercial and legal issues that arise when the potential conflict of two or more businesses with similar brands and trade marks may be avoided by negotiating a prior rights agreement (‘coexistence agreement’).
The registration fee for this meeting is a mere €25, which makes it an absolute bargain. Further information and registration details can be obtained by clicking here".
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Peru regulates trade mark coexistence agreements so as to protect competition and consumers

IP Tango has received news from Peru with regard to an increasingly important subject, in era of increasingly crowded trade mark registers: coexistence agreements.  The Administrative Court of Appeals for Intellectual Property Matters of the Peruvian Trade Mark Office (INDECOPI) has released a new binding administrative precedent -- Resolution 4665-2014/TPI-INDECOPI -- regarding the criteria for evaluating whether a coexistence agreement may be accepted.

In essence, a coexistence agreement may be valid and binding upon its parties only if it complies with criteria of acceptability under competition law and does not deceive consumers. Further, a set of minimum conditions have been stipulated for the purpose of ensuring that consumers are not confused.

A caveat for trade mark owners is that, while failure to satisfy the legal criteria is fatal to the acceptance and therefore the legal effect of a coexistence agreement, the fact that those criteria does not necessarily and automatically mean that the agreement will be legally acceptable.

Source: "INDECOPI releases binding administrative precedent on co-existence agreements", written by Catherine Escobedo (BARLAW - Barrera & Asociados, Lima) for World Trademark Review, 3 February 2015.
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