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!

Tuesday 13 December 2022

Patricia Covarrubia

[GUEST POST] The Wiki Law Project: The use of open-source technologies in the dissemination of Intellectual Property and their benefits for teaching

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The IPTango is pleased to host the following post by Hernán Núñez Rocha, lecturer at the University of Alcalá and a qualified lawyer in Spain and Ecuador.

Hernan writes:

The use of open-source technologies in the dissemination of Intellectual Property and their benefits for teaching

by Hernán Núñez Rocha

The Wiki Law Project took place from 2013 to 2019 in Ecuador, where several governmental actors were discussing about the necessity to move from an economy based on the exploitation of natural resources to a model based on knowledge CITA.  The involved parts concluded that it was necessary to promulgate new regulations on Higher Education, Science, Technology, Innovation, Intellectual Property, and Traditional Knowledge.  Considering the instrumental use of Intellectual Property, the IPRs were defined as one of the main tools needed for the transition to the knowledge economy. But there was a problem, most citizens were not familiar with IPR.  In fact, even most stakeholders neither understood the importance of IPRs, nor the use of new works and technologies.  Also, there was an additional problem, stakeholders, who were aware of the importance of IPRs, were divided into two groups that had opposed views. One group saw the IPRs as a profitable tool for their creations, and the other group, saw it as an obstacle for innovation.

Consequently, the idea of the Wiki Law Project about IP came up.  The site was developed jointly by the staff of the Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales (IAEN), NGOs, professional associations, chambers, and public institutions.  Moreover, the Ecuadorian Patent and Trademark Office (now SENADI) and the Ministry of Higher Education (SENESCYT) got involved and support the project.

The wiki was hosted in the domain of the Ministry of Higher Education, as http://coesc.educacionsuperior.gob.ec/. The site explained didactically all the IPRs and its main features, its daily uses, and its economic, scientific, and legal significance.  Also, the project included a juridical analysis of the IP Law in forced at that time, as well as a proposal of a draft Law.  The wiki had a basic design, based on the Wikipedia interface, and allowed to create an account, review the contents, edit certain texts and create discussion forums.

The wiki was online from 2013 to 2020. However, the period of greatest activity was from its launch in March of 2013 to October of 2016, when the new IP regime was approved within the Organic Code for the Social Knowledge and Innovation Economy, known as the “CÓDIGO INGENIOS”.  According to the wiki managers, there were more than 1.8 million visits and more than 38 thousand editions, in that period.  Additionally, the wiki generated a domino effect, and suddenly the IPR were in the public opinion.  A survey conducted by the IP Office reflected a growth in the news about intellectual property of more than 600% in the period of June 2014 to June 2016.

After the approval of the CÓDIGO INGENIOS, the wiki continued online, but the users’ interactions were gradually decreasing until 2020 when the wiki was finally switched off.  Despite this, the impact generated by the wiki in their first years was gradually moved to other places in the remaining years. The Academia was one of the main receivers of the benefits of this project.  If we analyse the statistics since the wiki was launched, it is possible to identify a significant and constant growth in the following aspects:

          There was an increase in the number of Technology and Innovation Support Centres located at the universities. Before the project, there was not any Centre according to the WIPO criteria. Today there are 11 universities that have their own Technology Transfer Office.

          Regarding the use of the IPR into the Universities, there is a growth in the average that goes from 1.3 patent applications until 2012 to 27.5 in the period 2012-2019.

          Regarding IP teaching, IP Master's programs increased from 1 to 5 nationwide.

          The number of IP courses in the curriculum of the universities also increased. Before the Wiki Law Project, only 7 universities offered the course of intellectual property as an elective subject, now there are 25 that have the course as a compulsory subject.  Before, it was only taught in the Law School, now there are IP courses in 8 different careers.

          Regarding final degree projects, a study conducted in 5 Ecuadorian universities shows an increase of more than 300% since 2013.

As we can see, the Wiki Law Project was not only a success by itself, but also generated several positive externalities. Nowadays, the information technologies allow us to do great things without a big budget. In the case of the Wiki Law Project, a generic website template with basic functions was enough.  It was not even necessary to get a hosting since the page was hosted in the domain of the Ministry of Higher Education.

The Wiki Law project is an example of the interaction between academia and society, which also generated an academic demand focused on issues related to intellectual property. It was a project without “owners”.  After the idea was launched, many institutions got involved and once the wiki was online, a huge collaborative work was generated.  There are also several papers that describe the Wiki Law as a platform that allows to recuperate the public and common sense of knowledge, throughout collaborative work.

However, the Wiki Law Project is just one example of the use of open-source technologies in the dissemination of intellectual property. What is important here, is not the instrument but the process. This process results in the use of information technologies to spread the general aspects of the IPRs and its daily uses. With this, is possible to create a communication channel in two directions. On one hand, universities can provide information to society; and on the other hand, universities could collect data about social and commercial needs.  Therefore, with the understanding of these facts, universities could adapt their activities and curriculum in line with the expectations of the society.

PS This blog post is based on the presentation made by the author at the 13th Anniversary EIPTN Conference 2021.

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Thursday 8 December 2022


Encounter 23: IP Enforcement and Cybersecurity

On 13 December 2022, FIDE (Legal and Business Research Foundation) and TIPSA (Transatlantic Intellectual Property Academy) will hold the Encounter 23: IP Enforcement and Cybersecurity.

The panellists are Richard Lane (World Intellectual Property Organization) and Prof. Tal Zarsky (University of Haifa’s Faculty of Law). Prof. Manuel Desantes (University of Alicante) will moderate the session.

The suggested readings and the report on the session will be available on the Global Digital Encounters (GDE) website as time goes by.

The Encounter is offered free of charge, but registration is required. Register here now!

If you missed previous Encounters or you want to watch them again, click here.

Credit: The image is courtesy of FIDE.

UPDATE: the recording of Encounter 23 is available here. 

The recording of Encounter 24, "Vintage Brands And The New Bad-Faith Conundrum", is available here.
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Tuesday 6 December 2022

Patricia Covarrubia

Some news and views from me to you

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I cannot deny that keeping up with the blog has been arduous to say the least. The matter is that joggling between a full-time academic job comes with presenting and attending conferences, writing papers and plenty of responsibilities not only academic but also administrative, and then a house, family, and a bit of Legal consultancy. Aside, the University of Buckingham, where I work, drives, and leads on personal mentorship – and I am proud of it, but it is time and energy consuming. On this fact, I got some news to share, well ...maybe there are not brand new, but indeed good news to share. However, I have to say, that at first, I did not make a fuzz of it, because I do not like to ‘show off’ but on reflection, the idea of obtaining any recognition is to acknowledge, and if someone feels that this is their right path and want to connect with me for further guidance then, I am more than happy to give a hand.

The Kindness & Leadership, 50 Leading Lights UK announced the listees in November, and I am one of them 😉. The campaign “seeks to shine a great big spotlight on leaders who are impacting others through kindness. We see this campaign as a unique chance to build a new status quo, sharing advice and expertise from leaders and recognising the contribution of kind leaders to business, the economy and society.” The 50 listees come from different industries (me as academic) [View the 2022 listees at https:// www.kindnessrules.co.uk/uk/] You can check my statement if you click on my name, and you can also watch a video (1 minute) here.

My second big news is more IP related. The 30th of November came out the e-copy of the edited collection Transboundary Heritage and Intellectual Property Law: Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage. The book took a few years to materialise, but one cannot expect less as the calibre of the authors were of high standard and engaged in their own projects. I was indeed honoured for them to embark with me in this task. For more info on this, check this page

The Book Description reads

Since the Intangible Heritage Convention was adopted by UNESCO in 2003, intangible cultural heritage has increasingly been an important subject of debate in international forums. As more countries implement the Intangible Heritage Convention, national policymakers and communities of practice have been exploring the use of intellectual property protection to achieve intangible cultural heritage safeguarding outcomes.

This book examines diverse cultural heritage case studies from Indigenous communities and local communities in developing and industrialised countries to offer an interdisciplinary examination of topics at the intersection between heritage and property which present cross-border challenges. Analysing a range of case studies which provide examples of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions, and genetic resources by a mixture of practitioners and scholars from different fields, the book addresses guidelines and legislation as well as recent developments about shared heritage to identify a progressive trend that improves the understanding of intangible cultural heritage.

Considering all forms of intellectual property, including patents, copyright, design rights, trade marks, geographical indications, and sui generis rights, the book explores problems and challenges for intangible cultural heritage in crossborder situations, as well as highlighting positive relationships and collaborations among communities across geographical boundaries. Transboundary Heritage and Intellectual Property Law: Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage will be an important resource for practitioners, scholars, and students engaged in studying intangible cultural heritage, intellectual property law, heritage studies, and anthropology.

Some of the chapters cover specifically Latin America

Chapter 3 ‘Scaling up and down the edible heritage: Food and foodways as terrains of cultural friction ‘by Raúl Matta, focusing on Mexico cuisine

Chapter 7 ‘Colombian/Panamanian molas: Coping with the challenges posed in protecting and commercialising transboundary intangible cultural heritage’ by Florelia Vallejo-Trujillo

Chapter 8 ‘The ‘Pisco War’: A Chilean-Peruvian conflict at the crossroads of an intellectual property regime and intangible cultural heritage’ by Bernardo Alarcón Porflidtt

Chapter 11 ‘Knitting a future for the Aymara’s weavers: The Andean project’ by Patricia Covarrubia

Hope you forgive me for not being as prompt with news and views in the blog as it should be, this has been a crazy year! And as always, please do contact me if you think you have what we need to make this blog shine with news once again.


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