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 5 December 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

An early Christmas present: Collectives Marks *for free*

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The Peruvian Instituto Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia y de la Proteccion de la Propiedad Intelectual (INDECOPI) has granted 164 collective marks to associations located in the Region of San Martin benefiting several localities in the Region such as: Tocache, Shunte, Nueva Bambamarca, Nuevo Progreso, Moyobamba, Lamas, Bellavista, Rioja, Nueva Cajamarca, Juanjuí, San José de Sisa, Chazuta, Shanao, Tarapoto y Yurimaguas. The producers and artisans benefited by the marks were based on cocoa, coffee, ceramics, textiles, and the tourism sector.

The project/incentive
In accordance with the Decreto Supremo No. 092-2018 / PCM, in force since September 5, 2018, till September 5, 2019, the fee for the registration applications of collective marks which were presented by associations of producers, artisans, among others, from across the country, would be waved.

Moreover, through the Center for Intellectual Property Development (CEPI) the producers and artisans received advice ‘on the classification of products to distinguish, search and evaluate registration records, filling of forms, review of the requirements, among other important advice.’ Other state entities were also of assistance.

The full list can be found here (in Spanish)
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Gilberto Macias (@gmaciasb)

México – Ley de Salvaguardia contra plagio a Culturas Indígenas y Afromexicanas

El principal objetivo de la denominada Ley de Salvaguardia de los Conocimientos, Cultura e Identidad de los Pueblos y Comunidades Indígenas y Afromexicanos es evitar el plagio de obras, artesanías, prendas típicas, artículos, entre otros, y garantizar su cultura e identidad nacional.

Según el Dictamen de las Comisiones "la salvaguardia se entiende como el conjunto de medidas de carácter jurídico, técnico, administrativo y financiero para la preservación y enriquecimiento de los elementos de la cultura e identidad de los pueblos y comunidades (...) que incluyen, entre otras acciones, la identificación, documentación, investigación, protección, promoción, valorización, transmisión y revitalización de esos elementos".

La iniciativa surgió en respuesta a la “laguna jurídica” que existe y facilita que personas ajenas a las comunidades indígenas y afromexicanas se apropien de las expresiones culturales de dichos grupos sin hacer ninguna retribución a cambio. Entre 2012 y 2019, se registraron 39 casos de plagio de al menos 23 marcas de ropa nacionales e internacionales que se han apropiado de diseños de comunidades indígenas.

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Monday 2 December 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

Latest news from Brazil

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Over the weekend, I read that the last week of November the Brazilian Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial (INP) signed two essential Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

1. INPI and the European Patent Office (EPO) MoU was based on an Enhanced Technical and Strategic Partnership aims to improve cooperation between Brazil and Europe in the area of patents. The time frame of the MoU is a two-year work plan which is agreed between the two institutions.
INPI’s president declared the memorandum as an important piece which will ‘stimulate investment in innovation and industrial property, focusing on the generation of new patents, especially in partnership.’
Both offices also renewed their Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program among their respective offices. 
More information here.

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Wednesday 6 November 2019

Gilberto Macias (@gmaciasb)

Impacto económico de las marcas en América Latina

ASIPI e INTA acaban de publicar el informe “Las marcas en América Latina: Estudio de su impacto económico en 10 países de la región”. Este informe es una extensión del informe previamente publicado en el 2016.

En ese primer informe, se evaluó la contribución económica de las industrias intensivas en marcas en Chile, Colombia, Perú, Panamá, y México. En este nuevo informe, se actualizan los resultados de los citados países y se extendió el análisis a cinco nuevos países: Argentina, Brasil, Costa Rica, Guatemala y República Dominicana.

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Friday 25 October 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

Brazil: Madrid Protocol in practice

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This week, the Brazilian Intellectual Property Office (INPI) published the first process for international applications of trade marks.

It is observed, that the exam integrates the new activities performed by INPI, including electronic filing and the transmission of the international application at the WIPO International Secretariat.
This publication remarks on the variations observed during the Madrid Protocol certification exam. Thus, the Industrial Property Magazine (RPI) in its ‘trade mark’ section includes now a chapter called: Protocol of Madrid.

INPI also reports that its national office has received a request for an international trade mark application. This has already been sent to WIPO through a very efficient and speedy process since it was done within twenty days, which is less than one-third of the deadline set for this step (two months is the set time).

The spet by step guidance published by INPI can be found here (in Portuguese)

More info here (in Portuguese)
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Wednesday 2 October 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

Chile vs Peru: the battle over ‘Pisco’ continues

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The Peruvian Ministry of External Relations has issued a Press Release stating that Peru will appeal to the ruling of the Court of First Instance of Thailand against the registration of a Chilean association that intends to use the term Pisco.
Press Release 010 - 19
Given the news reports that advance the ruling of the Court of First Instance on Intellectual Property and International Trade of Thailand, it should be stressed that despite the exclusive ownership of the Peruvian Denomination of Origin Pisco in Thailand, said Court ruled that in that country you can use "Pisco Chile".
Peru considers that this first decision of the Thailand Court does lead to consumer confusion in that country, since the Pisco Denomination of Origin is Peruvian and this is confirmed by the historical, geographical, cultural and scientific arguments that our country supports and defends in all the world’s court.
In that sense, the ruling in the first instance will be appealed immediately by Peru, in order to continue opposing any attempt to register because these are obvious errors of fact and law.
A Pisco sour for a sour battle
Years of international dispute have persisted over the origin of Pisco which both Chile and Peru have produced since colonial times. Both countries recognize it in their own jurisdiction as a Denomination of Origin. Additionally, back in 2018, Chile was open to accepting the name of Peruvian Pisco if Peru accepted the name of Chilean Pisco – a qui pro quo that did not go far since Peru did not accept such a proposal.

The case brought appears straightforward. If the Thailandese Registry of Industrial Property recognized Pisco as a Denomination of Origin (DO) produced in Peru, it does then prevents the registration of the name and any marketing of Pisco within the Thailand market if it has not complied with the Peruvian national regulation. Clearly, if Pisco was not made in Peru it cannot be called as such. Well, it is not that simple. In India, the dispute over the name went over 9 years (finally won by Peru) and this appears to be the case now in Thailand. The dispute is over a year on, so get ready for a long battle.

The whisky exchange webpage (where I get my inspiration from:) ) notes that ‘Pisco is a grape brandy produced in Chile and Peru’. In the EU (oh BREXIT is coming…who will register first in the UK, Chile or Peru) both, Chile and Peru, were granted geographical indication. Chile had an association agreement (2002) where recognition was given, and then Peru applied for the registration of Pisco as GI (granted in 2013).
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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

Intangible Cultural Heritage, Intellectual Property and the Politics of Development

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The Enredados network (policymakers, academics, and practitioners in the fields of intellectual property (IP) and intangible cultural heritage (ICH)) is pleased to invite you to a seminar and panel discussion.

Intangible Cultural Heritage, Intellectual Property and the Politics of Development
Christoph Antons (University of Newcastle, Australia)

In countries of the “developing world”, intangible cultural heritage is important for both national development policies and the rights claims of local and indigenous communities. All intangible cultural heritage is originally local, but national governments tend to shift it to the national level in the interest of nation building and income from tourism. Where communities have migrated or live across borders drawn by colonial powers, this has triggered disputes between neighbouring countries, whereby governments use different national histories and interpretations of an often mystical past to support heritage claims. Law as an instrument of the state has supported this centralisation of heritage claims and administration in the initial stages.

Image result for christoph antons
Antons' latest edited volume
Recently, however, communities have begun to articulate their own regional and local interests in heritage and are finding some support from constitutional reforms strengthening human rights and supporting decentralisation policies. Such decentralisation policies in turn were triggered by a paradigm change in development policies which aimed at a reduction of what was perceived as central government corruption and at a better sharing of resources with regions and provinces. The presentation will show the bargaining in this context about intangible cultural heritage (and related royalties) between communities, communities and governments and between the governments of neighbouring countries. In claiming what they perceive to be their rights, the parties involved use frequently changing combinations of legal principles with varying degrees of validity and legitimacy, drawn in particular from intellectual property law, international law, environmental law, constitutional law and customary law. The presentation will focus on examples from Southeast Asia, with brief comparative observations related to developments elsewhere.

Place: Coventry University London Campus
Middlesex Street, London, UK
Date: Monday 23 September 2019
Time: 5.30pm-8pm

Enredados aims to encourage debate on the following issues:

  • the relationship between IP and ICH safeguarding;
  • the intersections between IP and ICH-related policy; and
  • how IP protection might be used as a tool for safeguarding ICH.

See you there.

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

Illegal Streams: shutting down in Ecuador

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The Ecuadorian Institute of Intellectual Property (IEPI) currently named SENADI (National Intellectual Rights Service) is the state entity that regulates and controls the application of IP. The Organic Code of the Social Economy of Knowledge, Creativity, and Innovation is the IP legislation applicable.

SENADI has different divisions, one of them is the Órgano Colegiado de Derechos Intelectuales, which is the office in ‘charge of attending all administrative resources and cancellation actions that are presented before it’.

The latest measure by SENADI is seen as a ‘milestone’, but why?

Background: in August 2019, DIRECTV Ecuador C. Ltda., and the National League of Professional Football, LALIGA, presented an administrative action against MEGAPLAY and LIKETV in Ecuador. SENADI carried out an inspection of a property in which supposedly there was equipment that allows access to TV signals without authorization.
How did it work? MEGAPLAY  and LIKETV were retransmitting unauthorized audio and video signals to their clients. The clients paid an amount to watch the programs as well as having a device called TV Box, that received the retransmitted signals.
The result: SENADI ordered the blocking of Internet Protocols (IP) that allow access to internet television MEGAPLAY and LIKETV in Ecuador.

This is not, however, the first time SENADI blocks illegal sites. Back in June 2019, SENADI blocked 5 sites belonging to ROJA DIRECTA which also specializes in streaming sports. Ecuador follows other countries in the region. In Argentina, the video streaming Cuevana.tv site (12 million monthly users) was blocked in 2011. In 2017, the Mexican national IPO suspended SPORTFLIX (the NETFLIX of sports ) due to copyright infringement. Just because is a new way to communicate and distribute TV programs, it does not mean that they are outside the IP legislation – watch out.
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Thursday 12 September 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

Chile on promoting national products

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In Sept 2019, the Chilean Intellectual Property Office (INAPI) and Pro Bono Foundation signed a cooperation agreement seeking to promote the ‘education and culture of industrial property protection.’ The aim is to disseminate and guide users about ‘how to protect their brands and innovations’.

Background: Pro Bono is a NGO and a non-profit organization launched back in 2000. The organization ‘promotes and facilitates democratization in access to justice for the benefit of vulnerable people and groups and social organizations.’ It is made of 39 legal firms, 10 companies and an array of lawyers.

Image result for sello de origen chileOne of the key areas will be the use of ‘sello de origen’ - seal of origin, which aims to preserve and stimulate particular forms of traditional manufacturing/production, traditional crafts, and unique ‘national’ products. The purpose of ‘sello de origen’ is to promote the ‘adequate use of industrial property tools for the recognition and protection of Chilean products through the registration of Geographical Indications (GI), Denominations of Origin (DO), Collective (CoM) and Certification Marks (CeM)’. Check our previous post on this here.

There are six regions in continental Chile and as on the 12th of Sept 2019, the following products are benefiting (or to benefit) from these tools:

Norte Grande
Oregano de la Precordillera de Putre (oregano) – registered as GI
Aceitunas de Azapa (olives) – registered as GI
Maíz Lluteño (corn) – registered as GI
Limon de Pica (lime) – registered as GI

Norte Chico
Aceite de Oliva del Valle del Huasco (olive oil) – registered as DO

Manos de Isla negra (textiles handicraft) – registered as CeM
Dulces de Ligua (sweet pastries) – registered as GI
Sabor Limachino (tomatoe) – registered as CeM
Chicha de Curacaví (alcolic drink) – registered as DO
Dulces de Curacaví (sweet pastries) – registered as GI
Viñedos Casablanca Route (wine products) - registered as CoM
Sandía de Paine (watermelon) – registered as GI
Corazón de Paine (watermelon_ - registered as CoM
Chamantos y mantas corraleras de Doñihue (textiles) – registered as DO
Sal de Cahuil - Boyeruca Lo Valdivia (salt) - registered as DO
Alfarería de Pomaire (traditional clay jars) – registered as DO
Crin de Rari (miniature knitting) – registered as DO
Loza de Pilén (clay pots) – registered as DO
Puerro Azul de Maquehue (leek)– pending as GI
Mieles Altos de Cantillana Producida en Alhué 100% Natural (honey) – pending as a CoM

Alfarería de Quinchamalí (sweet pastries) – registered as DO
Tomate Angolino (tomatoes) – registered as GI
Prosciutto de Capitán Pastene (ham) – registered as DO
Piedra Cruz (semiprecious stone) – registered as DO
Sidra de Punucapa (cyder) – registered as DO
Cerveza Valdiviana Región de Los Rios (beer) – registered as CoM
SIPAM Chiloé (agricultural patrimony products) – registered as CeM
Cordero Chilote (lamb) – registered as GI
Chupallas de Ninhue (traditional handmade hats) – registered as DO

Calidad Aysén Patagonia-Chile (products and services) – registered as CeM

Atún de Isla de Pascua (tuna) – registered as GI
Langosta de Juan Fernández (lobster) – registered as GI
Cangrejo Dorado de Juan Fernández (crab) – registered as GI
Joya Negra del Pacífico (handicraft) – registered as CeM
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Monday 9 September 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

New Brazilian slogan 'Brazil, visit and love us' challenged for copyright infringement

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Image result for brazil, visit and love usBrazillian’s Tourism Institut (Instituto Brasileiro do Turismo – Embratur for short) has launched a slogan that is intended to be used abroad in order to foment Brazil as a tourism destination: 'Brazil, visit and love us'.

The slogan has been criticized for different reasons, for example, displaying a sexual overtone relating to the use of the pronoun 'us' instead of 'it'. Former Embratur's President noted that 'Brazil has been struggling to erase the image of being a sex tourism destination'; and this is also supported by the view of Mr. Lopes, President of the hotel association of Rio de Janeiro, who noted that '"us" needs to be taken out. "It's bad for us'.

From the IP arena, the slogan has been challenged for being a copyright infringement. A few days after announcing the trademark, Benoit Sjöholm, a French artist, has claimed that the font used infringes his copyright. The font is called Fontastique and can be freely downloaded (here for instance) but only for personal use. For commercial use, however, his previous authorization is required – which Embratur has not done.

After the slogan's short appearance, it is already back to the office for an adjustment. Embratur has announced that it will adapt the trademark in order to no longer use Mr. Sjöholm’s font. Instead, it will look for a free font on the Web (hopefully, commercial purposes allowed). One keeps the hope that, by changing the font, Embratur will also change the pronoun 'us' to avoid the lost in translation issue.

Post was written by Eloísa Deola Borges, Brazilian attorney
Lecturer (external) at Humboldt University, Berlin
Eloisa also works on the development of publications in Open Access at QUCOSA.
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Sunday 18 August 2019

Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo

La OMPI ofrece su primer programa en materia de propiedad intelectual para mujeres indígenas

El Director General de la Organización Mundial de la Propiedad Intelectual (OMPI), Francis Gurry, publicó un mensaje en el marco del Día Internacional de los Pueblos Indígenas (9 de Agosto), el cual puede consultarse aquí

En tal sentido, resulta pertinente destacar que la OMPI está ofreciendo su primer programa de formación y asesoramiento en materia de propiedad intelectual para mujeres emprendedoras pertenecientes a pueblos indígenas y comunidades locales. 

La OMPI ha señalado que proyectos basados en conocimientos tradicionales (CC.TT.) y expresiones culturales tradicionales (ECT) fortalecen el sentido de identidad y pertenencia de los pueblos indígenas y comunidades locales, a la vez que generan ingresos que repercuten en beneficio de los mismos. 

En este contexto, dado el importante rol que la propiedad intelectual puede desempeñar al impedir la apropiación y aprovechamiento indebidos de los CC.TT. y ECT de pueblos indígenas y comunidades locales, la OMPI proporcionará capacitación y asesoramiento respecto al “uso estratégico y eficiente de los derechos de propiedad intelectual en apoyo” a los proyectos que sean seleccionados. 

En consecuencia, la OMPI podrá “asistir a empresarias creativas e innovadoras a desarrollar y comercializar de manera sostenible productos y servicios basados en CC.TT. y ECT; ayudar a identificar y gestionar las cuestiones de PI que puedan surgir en el contexto de los proyectos de catalogación y digitalización de los CC.TT. y las ECT; apoyar a organizadoras de festivales folclóricos, artísticos y culturales, así como artistas, artista intérpretes o ejecutantes y expositoras en dichos festivales, a supervisar y gestionar el uso de los derechos de PI en ese contexto”. Cabe señalar que estos son sólo algunos ejemplos del tipo de proyectos que pueden beneficiarse del programa ofrecido por la OMPI. 

El programa está dirigido sólo a mujeres dado el rol que generalmente desempeñan como custodias de CC.TT. y ECT, así como los desafíos y desigualdades que enfrentan en temas de acceso a la educación, financiamiento y servicios de apoyo. 


Pueden inscribirse al programa, mujeres emprendedoras pertenecientes a pueblos indígenas y comunidades locales que estén planeando o hayan comenzado un proyecto que involucre CC.TT. y/o ECT, tales como “artesanas, diseñadoras, músicas tradicionales y bailarinas, investigadoras, curanderas o pequeñas agricultoras”. 

Serán seleccionadas hasta 20 mujeres provenientes de las siete regiones reconocidas por el Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas: África; el Ártico; Asia; América Central, del Sur y el Caribe; Europa Oriental, Rusia, Asia Central y la región del Cáucaso Meridional; América del Norte y el Pacífico. Si es posible, se elegirán al menos dos participantes por región. 

Las participantes deberán poder comunicarse en inglés, francés, español o ruso. 

El programa 

El programa se divide en dos fases. La primera fase, de capacitación, se llevará a cabo en Ginebra del 11 al 15 de Noviembre de 2019 y comprende un taller práctico en el que las participantes aprenderán los conceptos básicos del sistema de propiedad intelectual así como “hacer un uso estratégico y eficiente de los derechos de propiedad intelectual en apoyo” a sus proyectos. De igual manera, podrán “conocer posibles socios para su implementación”. 

Los costos de las participantes para asistir a la capacitación en Ginebra serán cubiertos por la OMPI. 

En 2020 se llevará a cabo la segunda fase, de asesoramiento, principalmente a través de correos electrónicos y teléfono. En esta segunda fase del programa, las participantes recibirán asesoría por parte de sus mentores respecto a diversos aspectos de propiedad intelectual para la implementación de sus proyectos. La OMPI no proporcionará apoyo financiero en esta etapa del programa. 

Una vez que la fase de asesoramiento termine, las participantes informarán a la OMPI sobre los resultados en cuanto a la implementación de sus proyectos y responderán un breve cuestionario. 

Se espera que el programa de la OMPI genere una prosperidad sostenible en las comunidades de las participantes y reduzca las desigualdades de género y pobreza al fomentar la innovación, creatividad y espíritu empresarial de las mujeres de pueblos indígenas y comunidades locales. 

Solicitudes que han sido debidamente llenadas, firmadas y escaneadas deberán enviarse al correo electrónico grtkf@wipo.int antes del 30 de Agosto de 2019. Más información disponible en español aquí y en inglés aquí

Créditos: imagen de la cuenta oficial de la OMPI en Twitter. 

La versión en inglés de este artículo fue primero publicada en el blog The IPKat.
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Tuesday 2 July 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

EU and Mercosur Trade Agreement - the lucky 20 (?)

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Over the weekend, it was all over the news that after 20 years of negotiation and talks the EU and Mercosur agreed to a trade deal.

Mercosur is one of the largest trade bloc in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay), the other been the Andean Community (CAN) (Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia). Since 2013, the EU agreement with Colombia and Peru started to apply, and this was later on joined by Ecuador (2017). This last EU agreement has seen how the market has gradually opened for both sides and has increased an investment environment for the South American countries involved. Bear in mind that the EU is the third largest trade partner in the Andean countries -- you can check the external link containing the fourth annual report (2018). If we go back to the start of this agreement, you may recall that we talk about one of the requirements imposed by the EU, that of Colombia to sign the Madrid Agreement.

Was Brazil and the heavy pushy 2019 on the Madrid Protocol a perfect clue for what was happening?
In Brazil we saw 2 public consultations: The registration of marks as multiclass trade marks: the Brazilian law does not allow for this. A multiclass trade mark application is filed for the purpose of getting ONE trade mark registered under two or more classes of products/services at the same time i.e. a multiclass application rather than a single application (a registration per class – a separate application must be filed for each class). The other hint was the open consultation on co-ownership and division of registrations and orders. Amusing to see in this latter announcement, published on the 21st May 2019, a notice indicating that shortly there was to be an open consultation on registration of marks under the Madrid Protocol; although by next day, the Brazilian Senate approved the Brazilian adhesion to the system. They did however opened the consultation on the 28th May.

I am looking forward to read the agreement and specially the section ‘Intellectual Property, including Geographical Indications’. Now a holistic approach is noted in section 13, here. On trade marks it states that there is an important reference to the ‘Madrid Agreement’ – does it mean that they will have to become members as the Colombia’s example? But, then I read that in regards to patents, countries that are not part of the Patent Cooperation Treaty are encouraged to sign – well, this is directed to all except Brazil. So, no encouragement for Madrid then, uh?. We of course cannot expect less from the EU counterpart to have an ‘ambitious’  on the topic of Geographical Indications. And to be honest it appears to be quite balance if we compare with the FTA between the EU and the Andean countries wh
ere there was a complete unbalance. In this one, the EU listed 355 and the Mercosur 220.

Hold your breath, the agreement still needs to be ratified by the national parliaments of all member countries of both blocs, as well as by the EU Parliament and EU Council.

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Monday 1 July 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

Geographical Indication in Brazil: Jan-June 2019

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The latest news re. GI in Brazil relates to the granting of a GI in the form of Indicação de Procedência to a national product. In May, the Brazilian Instituto Nacional da Propriedade industrial (INPI) registered the name ‘Coffea arábica do Oeste da Bahia’ for coffee coming from the municipalities of Formosa do Rio Preto, Santa Rita de Cássia, Riachão das Neves, Barreiras, Luís Eduardo Magalhães, São Desidério, Catolândia, Baianópolis, Correntina, Jaborandi e Cocos. The GI was granted to the Associação dos Cafeicultores do Oeste da Bahia who will be administering the GI.

In February, INPI granted a GI in the form of Denomination of Origin to the Consejo Regulador del Tequila A.C. to ‘tequila’. The application was submitted back in August 2008 and was finally granted this year – published at the Revista da Propriedade Industrial (RPI) nº 2510.

Before this, in January INPI granted a GI in the form of Indication of Source (Indicação de Procedência) to the national Associação Cultural e Fomento Agrícola de Tomé-Açu (ACTA) for ‘Cacau de Tomé-Açu’ (cocoa).

Brazil recognizes Geographical Indication in the form of Denomination of Origin and Indication of Source. A GI aims to delimit a geographical area’s name to the producers, providers of a particular product/service. In the case of DO, it refers to a country region, city whose products or services have certain features given by its geographical environment including natural and human factors. An Indication of Source refers to the name of a country, region, city whose products or services have certain features given by its geographical environment (no natural/human factor needed).

Finally, in March the Normative Instruction No. 095 (published in the Magazine of Industrial Property (RPI) nº 2504) was in force. The Normative establishes the conditions for the registration of Geographical Indications replacing Normative Instruction No. 25, 2013. Among the new conditions one can observe that the ‘Regulamento de Uso’ (Use Regulation) is now called Technical Specifications; there is now the possibility to change a GI already registered to, include or suppress the name of the product or service and; it is possible to change the GI’s graphic/figurative representation.

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Monday 27 May 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

The Guna people to Nike: Just don't Do It

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@Isaac Larrier
A limited edition by sportswear Nike is a trending topic. The shoes were to be a tribute to Puerto Rico but the Guna people, the second largest indigenous community in Panama, objected to the design. The said design was a ‘mola’, which is a protected traditional design by the community. The design in question are the traditional 'mola' patterns which feature colourful, swirling designs and geometric or figurative drawings. This art is ‘passed on stitch by stitch from mothers to daughters and bears witness to the Guna vision of the cosmos and their harmonious relationship with nature’.
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Friday 3 May 2019

Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo

The first non-traditional trademark registrations have been granted in Mexico

This post was first published on The IPKat blog:

The Mexican Industrial Property Law was significantly amended last year through two batches of amendments. Read this Kat's reviews on the first batch here and the second one here and here

The second batch of amendments to the Law entered into force on 10 August 2018 and modified a number of provisions related to trademarks. One such amendment provides that trade dress, scents, sounds, holograms, the combination of colors and certification marks are entitled to trademark protection under Mexican IP Law. 

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Saturday 27 April 2019

Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo

Non-traditional trademarks and other amendments to the Mexican IP Law (Second Part)

This post was first published on The IPKat blog:

This Kat summarizes in the second part of the report on the second batch of amendments to the Mexican IP Law, the highlights of the provisions thoroughly modified in relation to trademarks and administrative procedures. Read the first part here

Let’s dive into the amendments to Mexican IP Law!
Specific products and services. According to article 113 section IV, the specific products or services to be covered by the mark must be indicated in the application form. 

Co-existence agreements and letters of consent. The grounds for refusal of a trademark registration established in sections XVIII, XIX and XX of article 90 (which inter alia refer to signs confusingly similar to another in respect of which a pending application has been filed or a trademark registration in force) are not applicable to confusingly similar trademarks when the “… consent is expressed, in writing, in accordance with the Regulations of … [the] Law”. 

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Wednesday 24 April 2019

Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo

Non-traditional trademarks and other amendments to the Mexican IP Law (First Part)

This post was first published on The IPKat blog:

The Mexican Industrial Property Law was significantly modified last year through two batches of amendments. The first batch modified provisions regarding patents, designs, utility models, trademarks and appellations of origin (AOs). Geographical indications (GIs) are also now regulated under the Mexican IP Law and a registry of foreign GIs and AOs lodged the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) will be created. Read this Kat’s review on the first batch here.

Let’s dive into the amendments to Mexican IP Law!
The second batch of amendments to the Law entered into force on 10 August 2018 and thoroughly modified some provisions related to trademarks and administrative procedures.

This Kat summarizes in two posts the second batch of amendments.

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Tuesday 9 April 2019

Gilberto Macias (@gmaciasb)

Brasil más cerca de Madrid

La Cámara de Diputados de Brasil aprobó el pasado 3 de abril el Proyecto de Decreto Legislativo nº 860/2017 sobre el tratado internacional "Protocolo referente al Acuerdo de Madrid relativo al Registro Internacional de Marcas", más conocido como Protocolo de Madrid. El texto ahora pasa al Senado Federal.

El Sistema de Madrid permite proteger una marca en gran número de países mediante la obtención de un registro internacional que surte efecto en cada una de las Partes Contratantes que se hayan designado. Consta actualmente de 104 Miembros y abarca 120 países, que representan más del 80% del comercio mundial.

La preparación operativa realizada por el INPI para la implementación del Protocolo de Madrid abarca la modificación de los sistemas de TI utilizados en el procesamiento de pedidos de marca, la creación y modificación de procedimientos operativos, la edición de actos normativos y manuales, una reestructuración interna y el dimensionamiento y capacitación de los equipos.

Brasil sería el 7º país del continente americano que se adheriría al Sistema de Madrid.
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Tuesday 5 March 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

How Venezuelan Crisis affects IP owners

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HOW VENEZUELAN CRISIS AFFECTS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OWNERS People who believe that cryptocurrencies have no real utility should look carefully at what is happening in Venezuela.

By Alvaro R. Bonilla. Founder BR Latin American IP LLC

You have probably never heard about the Petro, a cryptocurrency launched in October 2018 by the government of Venezuela as a measure to fight against an out of control inflation of more than 1.000.000%.

The "Petro" was launched about a year after the "Rabbit Plan" didn't work out. The "Rabbit Plan" was a national campaign for people to raise rabbits in their houses so they could have access to animal protein, something very scarce in once the richest country of Latin America. The plan did not meet the expectations as most people were not capable of killing what became their furry pet.

Well, now Petro has become the payment method for official fees for foreign IP applicants, but there is more than a catch with this.

How did we get to this point?

First, the Chavist Venezuelan government has never been a fan of Intellectual Property. In fact, they are against any private property and even more if it is an income producer private property.

For years the Venezuelan IP authority, the SAPI, became a black box were applications were filed but nothing happened. Not even a single patent was granted for many years.

One day, following the example of their socialist friends in Ecuador, they discovered that they could make a good amount of money charging incredible high official fees to foreign applicants.

The SAPI opened bank accounts in the US and later in Puerto Rico to receive payments from foreign applicants as it was not possible for them to pay in the local currency.

Later, as the Venezuela huge humanitarian, economic, social, political and international crisis became a regional problem, the US government started to impose sanctions against their regime.

The time when the SAPI was receiving thousands of dollars for a single patent annuity came to an end as their US-based bank accounts got closed.

On February 2nd, 2018, the Venezuelan Patent and Trademark Office (SAPI) advised the public to stop making registration related fee payments in foreign currency until the authorities could clarify the exchange rate to be applied. In fact, their official exchange rate is so distorted that if used applicants will end up paying pennies for their applications.

On August 23, 2018, the SAPI approved a new set of fees that represented a price increase of 142,000%, a move that sparked outrage among the IP community in Venezuela, with several of its leaders calling for the repeal of the measure.

On top of this, the SAPI entered back in low-activity mode, virtually halting the IP registration proceedings.

The situation did not change much until February 1st, 2019, when the SAPI published a new set of fees, which ended the year-long suspension of payments enacted on February 2018.

Not all was good news: according to the SAPI announcement, foreign applicants and right owners would have to make their payments in "Petros", the government-sponsored cryptocurrency.

Legal challenges have been announced against the measure, but their success is far from guaranteed.

The SAPI directive meant a new hurdle for US-based applicants, since on March 19th, 2018 the US government had issued an executive order effectively prohibiting any US person or within the US to provide financing for or otherwise deal in "any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela on or after January 9, 2018."

So foreign applicants are now in a delicate situation if they do not use the Petros they might lose their IP rights in Venezuela. But if they use them to pay their fees they are at high risk of getting a sanction from the US.

Even though the "Petros" payment platform is not yet available for the general public, we recommend our clients to seek regulatory advice in their countries in order to avoid potential risks.

As with everything now in Venezuela we are not sure what is going to happen. At least we know for sure that as the "rabbit plan" is no longer working we will not have to pay official fees with rabbits.
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Wednesday 27 February 2019

Patricia Covarrubia

Colombia: the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce assumed IBEPI's Presidency

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Since 01st January 2019, The Colombian Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) has assumed Pro Tempore, the Presidency of the Ibero-American Program on Industrial Property and Development Promotion (IBEPI). The programme subscribed to the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) brings together the Intellectual Property National Offices of 14 countries of the region, including: Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Dominican Republic and Colombia.

The IBEPI focuses on the promotion of the use of intellectual property as a tool for competition and development in the industrial, commercial and research areas of Ibero-American countries. Its general objective is the promotion of development of Ibero-American societies through the strategic use of intellectual property in support of public policies; it aims to use it as a tool for competitiveness in the commercial, industrial and research sectors of the region.

The program is currently developing five lines of action which will be promoted and articulated through the year. This include: (i) Technological Information, (ii) Modernization of Offices, creation of Human Resources and Training; (iii) Communications, CIBEYME and Advise to Users; (iv) Observance of Rights; and (v) International Cooperation with other Intellectual Property Programmes.

Sources SIC and IBEPI.

Post written by
Lina Marcela Tello Perlaza
Lawyer (Icesi University, Cali Colombia)
LLM in International Commercial Law (Brunel University, London UK)
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