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 15 December 2016

Patricia Covarrubia

Old + New = learning experiences

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There is a new cooperation agreement signed between the old and the new world. Mr Luiz Otávio Pimentel, the Brazilian Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial (INPI)’s president recently signed a cooperation agreement with the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). The aim of this agreement is to exchange experiences, and of course, collaboration between the offices and the quality of examinations procedures.

Image result for uk brazilThe exchange of experiences is based on the role of the Academy (the Educational sector) centring in the significance of intellectual property to society. In order words, the role that it has in raising awareness about intellectual property issues. Back in November 2015, the UKIPO launched a webpage “giving schools and colleges access to teaching resources to help students learn about intellectual property.” The project was funded by the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO, previously known as OHIM).

The INPI and UKIPO agreement is also to exchange of information on The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) - the accelerated patent prosecution procedures by way of sharing information between patent offices. Moreover, it includes the examination and study of a version adapted to Brazilian of the British Lambert Toolkit. This tool is based on universities and business collaboration agreements -- the aim is to “assist academic or research institutions and industrial partners who wish to carry out research projects together.”

Finally, Brazil and the UK Brazil exchanged their views on bilateral trade relations among other issues that took part on the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) meeting.

For more information regarding JETCO, see the joint-statement here.

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Thursday 8 December 2016

Patricia Covarrubia

Latin American Index of Legislative Transparency – is it relevant for IP?

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This week the Latin American Index of Legislative Transparency was released. This index “aims to systematise and analyse relevant information about the Legislative Powers”. It promotes “transparency, access to information and accountability in the congresses of the Latin American region.”

The data compares the Congresses or Parliaments of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, establishing therefore a “minimum standard of transparency in the political, administrative and proper work” of these institutions. The index takes the following data: Normative; Legislative work; Budget; and Administrative Management and Citizen Participation and Attention.

Is this relevant to IP and if so how?
IP is regulated by law, therefore we need to look at whether Latin American countries have a satisfactory legislative transparency.
For starts, will an invention/creation be protected as a matter of fact? And if so, do people know what to do to protect their work, where to go? I think that you got the idea by now.

With confidence we can say that in general Latin American legislation fulfil international standards. The majority of them have adapted their national legislation in accordance with TRIPS (WTO) and many other international agreements administered by WIPO. Other countries have taken a step further, for instance there are regional blocs which have harmonised IP law to high standards (e.g. CAN Decision 486) while others even have stricter rules after signing a bilateral agreement.

Image result for hollow man
Transparent OR invisible?
What is worst in the legislative arena?
However, legislation alone does not measure really the transparency or access to information that citizens do have. It is exactly the same as to say that legislation alone does not tell you if there is actually protection. There is a need to do a full study not merely based on laws as written but rather on the ‘before’, in 'between' and ‘after’ the law.

Recently I noted something similar but in regards to IP protection (here) acknowledging that there was the need to observe the World Bank data which provides a variety of measures for a country. The studied that I conducted reflected the very poor state of the selected countries’ regimes (with the exception of Chile) based on the indicators of: Control of Corruption; Government Effectiveness; Regulatory Quality; and Rule of Law.

Having said that, it comes as no surprise to see Chile in second place at the Latin American Index. Mr Del Favero, legislative coordinator at the Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente, a representative of the Latin American Transparency Legislative Network, stressed the rationale and outcome of the index. It observed that it allows to compare “how the policies of transparency and participation in the Congresses of the continent are developed, with the idea of promoting its consolidation and, thus, democracy.” However, Mr Del Favero also noted that there were certain issues that can make the Chilean level index to improve  - for instance, in relation to “generating independent control bodies within the Congress that can watch how the legislative activity is developed”.

The index reveals a regional average of 50% and Chile obtained 64% taking Costa Rica to the first place with an index of 72%.

I finish then with a speech given by Michelle K. Lee , the 2014 Deputy Director Under Secretary of Commerce for IP and USPTO: “transparency in an open, democratic, and innovation-oriented society is a good thing.”

Source Camara de Diputados de Chile.
The full index can be found here.
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Monday 5 December 2016

Patricia Covarrubia

The Peruvian people...busy busy busy

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The Peruvian national Intellectual Property Office INDECOPI was quite busy the last week of November.

For a start the III National Convention on Patents and Inventions (CNAPI 2016) aimed at promoting patent culture throughout the country took place.

There was also the XV National Contest of Inventions run by INDECOPI. There were over 100 inventions competing from all over different regions. At the end, only one winner could take the prize and it went to the National University Toribio Rodríguez de Mendoza from the Amazon Region. The invention was in the Biotechnology and Medicine area. The second place was given to two independent inventors with a project in the Agricultural and Agribusiness area.

Image result for indecopiINDECOPI not only was focusing on patents but also extended its busy week to trade marks. It imparted training to over 170 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in how to protect their brands. It comprised among other issues the importance of registering trade marks; the legal aspects to be taken into account for the registration of a trade mark; and noting the various services that are provided by the Institute.

The relevance of this news goes in line with the fact that with experience from this blog you get to see and understand different jurisdictions -- and they do not lack on legislation and they are accomplishing all international conventions. However, it appears that sometimes society and culture are not playing the same rhythm and here is the problem.

Image result for peruThis plan run by INDECOPI helps indeed to create awareness. Intellectual property is not only for a specific person or company; it is for everyone but we need to understand what it is. From the shoes we wear, the bus we take or the car we drive and the food we eat, everything is surrounded by ideas, creativity and hard work. This deserves protection, and by protection I am not talking about protecting so that nobody else will use it or I will earn money from it. Protection means in this sentence the right that the person has to stop some else from free –riding their work. This is a simple principle. But before asking for protection, you need to understand what can be protected and what the best suited form of IP (or other rights such as trade secrets, confidentiality agreements) are available for you to use.

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Monday 28 November 2016

Patricia Covarrubia

Graffiti work - more than creativiy

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Copyright Beyond Law - Regulating Creativity in the Graffiti Subculture is the title of a new IP book ready for your Christmas Stockings. The title should be interpreted as “it is what it says on the tin”.

Copyright law and the subculture of graffiti are so well interwoven in the book that you forget you are reading a book about law. I noticed this because essentially I do not to take work home and suddenly the book was in my night table and I was engaging on it as it were a novel.

 I became more aware of this topic at the Society of Legal Scholars Conference (SLS) 2013 in Edinburgh where I was presenting a paper. Marta Iljadica was presenting also a paper, her topic was ‘Graffiti, copyright and culture: urban space/public domain.’ We then have the opportunity to chat and I found myself totally absorbed by the topic, or perhaps by Marta’s passion for her work. Either way, this is transferred into the book.

Selfie :) my early Christmas present.
Thanks Emma at Hart Publishing
By reading the introduction you understand that the book is not just about copyright and the law – extending theories to graffiti. It starts by using a quote “Graffiti breaks every rule but within itself still has rules” (Anon 29). This clearly tells you that you are going for a ride! I felt myself into different worlds: graffiti the vandalism; graffiti the work capable of copyright protection and even trade mark (see chapter 4); and graffiti and the framework among the graffiti writers (I learnt from the book this word – I used to call them ‘graffiti artists’ –chapter 1 covers the fine line between graffiti writers and street art). Marta manages to emerge you in the graffiti world because her work was based on empirical research and thus, she in a way directs you on how to understand graffiti in its own right rather than fixing it into any other type of copyright work.

The book not only see graffiti as a subject matter of protection under copyright but supervises the expectations that graffiti writers have in the society i.e. use of graffiti outside their cultural environment e.g. photographer, commercial exploitation (used as logo); and on the other hand, the subculture of sharing, creating, attributing, territory (claimed by a graffiti writer), to name a few. Chapters that I enjoyed the most were 7 and 8 ‘Graffiti rules – be original, don’t bite’ and ‘moral rights’. The latter I was not expecting since the book is based on UK – while common law recognises them, it does so up to a lesser extent than civil law jurisdictions.

Who should read this book?
Anyone! colleagues and even friends who are not actually linked to law.
Well done Marta!

Oops! Where can you get it?
Hard copies and e-books are available in this link. Blog readers can claim a 20% discount on the book - the discount code is CV7.

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Monday 21 November 2016

Patricia Covarrubia

Panama got some news for us: pushing to the top!

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This month I received some fresh news from Panama. This is quite unusual for this blog – just by doing a little search in our database this fact is revealed. Is something happening in Panama? YES!

Mr Álvaro Atilano, CAF Ejecutivo Principal/Coordinador put me in the right direction. He noted the Patent Regional Initiative that is taking place in Latin America which is part of CAF (Development Bank of Latin America). The initiative appears to start having an impact on the patent industry in the region. It is believed that in a couple of years’ time, the project and the region will be much discussed in IP circles worldwide, and surely will be an example to follow in non-industrialized countries.

CAF provides with services in the form of loans, co-financing, credit lines, financial assistance services, and technical assistance to name a few. Due to the low performance of the region in the development of own innovative technologies, CAF decided (back in 2011) to establish a regional program– the aim? to reverse this trend. In order to proceed, CAF identified and prioritized certain factors/indicators which would be suitable for establishing and measuring the impact of this program. The factors identified were: International patent applications (PCT); Patents granted in important markets; Royalties arising from the licensing of IP; and High technology exports. A comparative analysis was done with other regions such as Asia, North America and Europe.

The objectives of this project are: “Contribute to increase in the short term the volume of patents generated in the region via international patents (USPTO, EPO and PCT); Support governments and others in defining strategies for patentable technological innovation; Establish technology patent accelerators in the region; Raise royalties and high technology exports from the region in the medium to long term.”

CAF looks at key issues such as: “Developing patentable technology solutions to global problems and challenges identified from now on; Patents granted to have a minimum coverage of 1 billion people; Drafts of patent applications should be written by the inventor/researcher which will low costs; Prior to initiating any patenting process, market studies and technological prospecting should be carried out”.

One of the countries selected for this initiative has been Panama and Mr Atilano has sent to the iptango blog a presentation on the impact that it is having in the country. CAF selected the Technological University of Panama (UTP) as a pilot. The plan is to make the UTP “the first Ibero-American University to be among the top 50 universities in the world in applications via PCT”. In fact according to the data UTP had introduced between September and October 2016 fifty-two applications via the PCT.

Because of this result, CAF is considering to extent same strategy to several Panamanian universities and companies. It is going to do so during a period of 12 months.

Thanks Albaro for making us aware of this project that looks promising not only for Panama but hopefully for more Latin American and Caribbean countries.
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Friday 18 November 2016

Patricia Covarrubia

GIs: learning the bare concept and its understanding

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Image result for origin geographical indicationsThe Asociación Interamericana de Propiedad Intelectual ((Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property) (ASIPI) has partnered with oriGIn (Organisation for an International Geographical Indications Network) to increase cooperation on Geographical Indications (GIs). And while this news may be a bit old by 3 months we are starting to see how the project is building up.

In principle the plan is to “exchange information on GIs and related issues”. But going further as to promote, through networks, initiatives that support GIs. While for oriGIn the partnership is considered to “further promote the GI concept in the Americas”, on the other side of the pond it is seen as a great opportunity to acquire the knowledge and experience that Europa has – it is not only a matter of legislation but also practice. For example, in a recent fair (October 2016) called SAIL (International Food Exhibition) in Paris, the French Authorities seized a series of products that were either bearing or evocative of Protected Designation of Origins (PDOs). This ex-officio action is a European obligation for the protection of GIs which allows prompt action and withdraw of infringing products.

Going back to the start of this project, the signatures in the partnership did not even dried when the ASIPI’s Sub-Committee for GIs was already organising a special publication which aims to compile administrative and judicial resolutions on GIs. The idea behind this is to make judicial decisions and administrative resolutions more accessible to any party interested.

I am fortunate enough to be collaborating in the special publication and I welcome any input or suggestion of cases/decisions you would like to have at hand.

For more information please contact Ninoshka Urrutia, Abogado y Notario / Attorney at Law, Socia / Partner, Consortium Legal – Guatemala.
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Tuesday 15 November 2016

Patricia Covarrubia

Calling IP publishers and Editors

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Image result for calling dancing
Our colleagues from the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice (JIPLP) announced on its blog 'the' IP Publishers and Editors Lunch 2016. The invitation is open to everyone who is involved in writing, editing or publishing in the topic of IP. It includes bloggers, authors, reviewers, editors, and publishers.

The lunch will take place on Friday 25 November, from 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm at Veale Wasbrough Vizards, London. It is free of charge but you would need to register for the event (please go to the original source here). Moreover, Stefanno Barazza is happy to speak to you via e-mail if you are not sure if you are eligible to attend.

At the meeting Mr Jaani Riordan (8 New Square) will be discussing hyperlinking and the implications for publishers. The meeting is bound to have an excellent time and atmosphere for networking.

I will be attending and hopefully will see some familiar faces that I know of just virtually.

Thanks for the event guys.

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Thursday 10 November 2016

Patricia Covarrubia

Trending in Latin America #shareknowledge

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This month we hear some news from the Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications, Gilberto Kassab, and the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal, Manuel Heitor, who are negotiating a partnership to promote scientific and technological research.

Image result for sharing knowledgeThe bilateral meeting is a step to both countries to “develop a new scientific, technological and business agenda” and looking also in how they could attract other states in the Atlantic. The idea is to “develop the Centro de Pesquisa Internacional dos Açores (AIR Center)”. By this new partnership they plan to invite the rest of the Atlantic to develop a platform of cooperation.

In the last couple of weeks we have covered in one way or another Research and Development (R&D) and the importance of it. Added to this we continue to encourage and explain the role of intellectual property -- especially in cases of transfer of knowledge.

Indeed we are seen a trend in Latin America (and it is a good trend) --starting from the incentives and propaganda that Governments and other NGO are imparting i.e. to share knowledge, and finally seen different campaigns run by national intellectual property offices educating natural and legal process to protect their knowledge.

Source Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications.
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