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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.

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia