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 31 May 2018

Patricia Covarrubia

Brazil in the Highway again!

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The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Pilot Project signed by the Brazilian National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Phase I, was in force until May 10, 2018. The Pilot Project commenced on January 11, 2016, and was scheduled to end on January 10, 2018, but was later on extended until May 10, 2018.

Now the Pilot Project between these two offices have entered into Phase II, commencing on May 10 of this year and until April 30, 2020. By reading the Magazine of Industrial Property (RPI) nº 2470, published on 08 May, one can notice that another industry that will benefit from this project is the ‘information technology’ one – before, the Pilot Project Phase I was applicable to the ‘oil, gas and petrochemical industry’ only. Moreover, to be eligible, the invention needs to be classified with one of the symbols of the International Patent Classification - IPC.

According to INPI, 200 applications will be accepted among which up to 50 patent applications will obtain advantage from the preliminary opinion result obtained by the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Phase I was limited to the first 150 eligible applicants. INPI summarises the PPH stating that ‘Brazilians can use the result of the examination of the patent application in the INPI to accelerate the analysis in the United States and vice versa. Upon entering the program, INPI has issued a final decision in 180 days, on average’. A PPH does not automatically grants a patent, since each national IPO will carry out its examination pursuant to their own legislation and procedures in force.

More information can be found in the Revista da Propriedade Industrial (RPI) nº 2470 (in Portuguese)
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Monday 21 May 2018

Gilberto Macias (@gmaciasb)

México – Reformas a la Ley de la Propiedad Industrial en materia de Marcas.

El pasado 18 de mayo se publicaron en el Diario Oficial de la Federación las Reformas y Adiciones a la Ley de la Propiedad Industrial, en materia de marcas.

En primer lugar, resulta destacable que se extiende la definición de marca, la cual, como en otras legislaciones, queda ahora definida como:

todo signo perceptible por los sentidos y susceptible de representarse de manera que permita determinar el objeto claro y preciso de la protección, que distinga productos o servicios de otros de su misma especie o clase en el mercado”.

Con este cambio, la legislación mexicana permitirá ahora la protección de marcas no tradicionales, dado que una marca puede estar conformada por denominaciones, letras, números, elementos figurativos y combinaciones de colores, así como por signos holográficos y formas tridimensionales.

Con la reforma, también se reconoce la distintividad adquirida o “secondary meaning”, es decir, se podrán registrar marcas que en principio no son registrables, por considerarse descriptivas o carentes de distintividad, cuando se demostrase su uso previo y efectivo en el comercio.

La reforma incorpora la figura del trade dress, es decir, se contempla ahora el registro como marca de elementos de imagen, tamaño, diseño, color, disposición de la forma, etiqueta, empaque, la decoración o cualquier otro que, al combinarse, distinga productos o servicios en el mercado.

En lo que respecta a la protección de Marcas Notoriamente Conocidas y Famosas, se elimina el requisito de que éstas se encuentren previamente registradas; además de que se establece como causal de nulidad de un registro de marca, cuando éste se haya obtenido de mala fe.

Otra importante reforma es la incorporación de las marcas de certificación, las cuales desde ahora podrán protegerse para distinguir productos y servicios con ciertas cualidades y reglas de uso establecidas, con el fin de agregar mayor valor a la marca y generar más productos y servicios de calidad.

Con esta nueva reforma, una marca puede ser caducada cuando la misma no haya sido objeto de uso por un periodo de 3 años consecutivos. Para evitar la caducidad, se tendrá que presentar una declaración de uso

El texto completo de las reformas puede consultarse aquí.
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Monday 7 May 2018

Patricia Covarrubia

Pasuchaca: a known substance for a not so new use - will the JPO grant a patent?

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From Peru, we hear about the work that the National Commission against Biopiracy does. This Commission, which is part of the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI), is unique in the world and its role is to search the patent offices of all countries, in order to identify patents and, applications for patents, in which either Peruvian biological resources or traditional knowledge are involved.

Image result for pasuchacaDoing their role, the Commission recently identified a potential case of biopiracy in Japan. Towa Corporation submitted an application for a patent to the Japanese Patent Office (JPO). The request was filed under the description ‘Agent to increase HDL cholesterol levels’, and referred to an extract from the Pasuchaca (Geranium dielsianum) which is of Peruvian origin. The Commission further argues that the application lacks ‘inventive step’ (it is obvious for a person skilled on the art).

Following this, the Foreign Ministry informed the Commission that it has received a communication from the JPO. This communication informs that the ‘patent application related to the Pasuchaca has not yet been examined and that it will take into account the observation submitted by Peru’.

Pasuchaca, is it novel and or obvious (inventive step)?

Typing the word ‘pasuchaca’ in the search engine Google, many hits appeared, referring to it as ‘medicinal plants’. The majority of sites noted that it is used for diabetes treatment and many others sites if not all, referred to it as a Peruvian plant. There are therefore, 2 issues to consider here:

  1. Access to Genetic Resources: Japan is a member of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity. This legal instrument (soft law) is an international agreement that aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way. Therefore it is expected that the authorities request the applicant to provide for the disclosure of origin of genetic resources as a requirement for patentability of such resources (and/or associated traditional knowledge); and
  2. Pasuchaca has been ‘used’ by ancient Peruvians for the diabetes treatment [novelty ruined, but can still be patentable: new use of a known substance]. Therefore potentially Pasuchaca may have that inventive step needed as it happen in the case of MACA for hair growth agent and also as an anti-age cream [both products patented by NATUREX, this is so because the use of MACA had nothing to do with previous knowledge - serendipitous]. Will Pasuchaca have the same fate? I then proceed to add to my search the word ‘cholesterol’ and… the site ‘peruherbals.com’ claims that Pasuchaca is an * Effective hipoglucemiant, * Excellent for diabetes and pancreas, * Reduce high cholesterol (more info click here). Is it then obvious that as Pasuchaca reduces the bad cholesterol, it increases the good cholesterol [as claimed in the Japanese application?]. We'll have to wait to see the JPO decision.

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