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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