Friday, 19 August 2016

A network to attend: calling SMEs

No many times we receive news from Costa Rica and every time I see something in this country I get very excited [perhaps it’s because of its richness in fauna and flora: I definitely would like to visit the sloth sanctuary and indulge myself with their famous pineapples).

Image result for sloth tango
Sloths do tango.
An invitation was in my inbox from ELAN (European and Latin America Technology based Business Network) which I have the fortune to work with early in the year. For the 19th to the 21st September 2016 ELAN will be in San Jose, Costa Rica. The workshop is a great opportunity for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to “create strong networks and durable relationships and business opportunities characterized by being technology and innovation related.” The flyer notes that “ICT is one of the most dynamic technological areas in Costa Rica. It includes more than 900 companies, 95% of which are SMEs, becoming an interesting sector which important challenges related to international collaboration and partnership.”

In regards to intellectual property, the Latin American IPR SME Helpdesk will be present in the event. Day 2 will see Silvia Salazar speaking on how to manage intellectual property in the ICT sector focusing on patents in Central America. The event is free of charge.

More information here.

Pisco: Chile vs Peru

Image result for piscoisperuvianThe Chilean Association of Producers of Pisco has heatedly reacted after a commercial banner located in a main area in Santiago de Chile remarking ‘#PISCOISPERUVIAN’.

Mr Hernandez, the Chilean Association Producers of Pisco’s president, said that this action is “an open campaign of provocation from the neighbouring country". The banner infringes national laws which protect the designation of origin of Pisco as a distilled drink only produced in the regions of Atacama and Coquimbo (see DFL 181, Law 18,455).

The association requested a hearing with the Minister of Agriculture, as well as contacting the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG). This set of events made SAG to bring a ‘Complaint and Summons’ (ADC) to the company's commercial advertising SUR S.A. (MASSIVA), which is the one that installed the banner – associated with the brand ‘PERUVIAN’.

SAG’s director informed that the reason “we have completed this ADC to the company have to do with the designation of origin of pisco…That is why the aforementioned company must go to the offices of SAG RM to provide background on hiring this ad space".

Added to the banner, there is also a video through Youtube produced by the brand ‘PERUVIAN’ which emits strong statements against the Chilean Pisco industry (to watch the video click here). For instance the video made remarks that “Pisco is 100% Peruvian due to geopolitical reasons, etymological, geographical and historical"; that the Chilean Pisco is a sign which “mislead the designation of origin”; and generally that the Peruvians need to react against this and need to claw-back the term Pisco as the Spaniards did with the term ‘Jerez’ and France with ‘Champagne’.

Image result for pisco chile peruThe Pisco Producers Association also reported this situation to regional parliamentarians, and now the Chilean Chamber of Deputies has published the discontent of not only the Producers but the Chileans. In this regard, Deputy Sergio Gahona said "it is unacceptable that in our own country the designation of origin of pisco is infringed". The MP argued that "in cases like this all public actors responsible for it should take a more active role in the defence of the Designation of Origin of the Chilean Pisco”.

The battle over this term is not something new. For instance, in 2013, the EU registered Pisco as a DO from Peru. However, this registration acknowledged a previous trade agreement between Chile and the EU in which Pisco was recognized as a DO from Chile. The note clarifies that the protection granted to "Pisco" as a DO to Peru does not hinder the use of that name for products originating in Chile. Other trade agreements also see the dispute over the term: Malasia recognizes Pisco as a DO from Peru; a trade agreement between Chile and Nicaragua recognizes Pisco as a DO from Chile; another trade agreement between Peru and Costa Rica recognized Pisco as a DO from Peru.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Argentina: The sun come out tomorrow... and you will have to put extra money at the IPO

Image result for sun come out tFrom tomorrow onward the Argentina Instituto Nacional de la Propiedad Industral (INPI) will awake with new (increased) fees. The rise will be implemented in two stages and the second increase will take effect from October 2016.

For example, today to register a word mark cost you $ 760; tomorrow $1000 and in October will be $1200. A trade mark renewal costs $960, tomorrow $1300, and in October $1500. Collective marks remain free of charge.

The rationale behind the increase is intended to “facilitate management aimed at continuous improvement of the quality of its services, the relevant technological adaptation to new national and international parameters, taking into account its interaction with other regional industrial property offices, and the continued recognition of specialized technical level of its staff.”

The full Resolution (and new tariff) can be found here: Resolution 388-E/2016 (in Spanish).

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Mexico: time to oppose to trade mark registration

At the end of this month (August 30, 2016) Mexico will implement an opposition system in trade mark.

Image result for roadshowIn May this year the Latin America IPR SMEs Helpdesk and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) collaborated on a roadshow in the UK. Participating in one of this workshops in Reading we cover ‘Intellectual Property Rights in Latin America – sources of help and support’ and one of the issues covered was the (lack of) trade mark opposition in Mexico.

Mexico is one of the few countries which does not provide for trade mark opposition proceedings. The Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial (IMPI) is the administrative authority legally authorized to conduct ex officio examinations of trade mark applications on absolute and relative grounds. As noted in the World Trademark Review, Mexico is not bound to introduce opposition proceedings as a result of its accession to the Madrid System, but this amendment would make the trade mark system more efficient. Colombia was the first Latin America emerging country to ratify the Protocol on the Madrid Agreement (2012), then Mexico (2013). Cuba signed in 1995.

On 23 August José Miguel Mena López, Legal Services Manager at Clarke, Modet & Cº Mexico will be holding a Webinar on the implementation of the opposition system in Mexico. Details of the Webinar and how to registry can be found here.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Samba, carnival...yep, you got it, we bring news from Brazil

Image result for Bordado Filé de Alagoas’From Brazil we looked at the number ‘57’ as a registered Geographical Indication (GI). The application came from the Instituto Bordado Filé das Lagoas de Mundaú-Manguaba (Inbordal) which is the representative of “local artisans who preserve the tradition and pass on know-how from one generation to another.” The product obtaining the GI is ‘Bordado Filé de Alagoas’, a non-agricultural product.

The Brazilian legislation does not differentiate between agricultural and non-agricultural products for the protection and registration of GIs. Yet, the legislation distinguishes between two GIs namely 1) denomination of origin (DO) and 2) indication of source (Indicação de Procedência). Another relevant issue under the Brazilian legislation is the recognition of services which is not common to see protected under GI – yet, they are not actually barred from registration e.g. PORTO DIGITAL (as an indication of source).

‘Bordado Filé de Alagoas’ is an “embroidery technique performed on a surface of woven wire.” While the technique’s origin can go back to ancient Egypt, its more recent location is found in the Iberian Peninsula. Inbordal noted that in the colony period it moved to Brazil and was consolidated and improved in the Lakes of Mundaú and Manguaba.

Image result for carnaval venezuela bombas de agua
If you are Venezuelan...you know that
this is the best part of  'the' Carnaval
For those that study Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), the publication made by the Brazilian Instituto da Propiedade Industriale (INPI) notes that ‘Bordado Filé’ is registered as ICH for the State of Alagoas. This however does not appear on the UNESCO list of ICH. Brazil has 8 elements registered in UNESCO and you can rightly speculate that some ICH that are in this list are: SAMBA de Roda of the Recôncavo of Bahia (RL) and the performing arts of CARNIVAL of Recife (RL).

A year has passed since I examined the different GIs that exist in Brazil and I notice that from Sept 2015 to August 2016 (almost a year later) 13 more GIs have been registered. There are in total 40 Indicação de Procedência and 17 DOs.

Source INPI.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

A vacancy for PISCO: regulating GIs

In Latin American countries some Geographical Indications (GI) systems are controlled by the government and/or owned by the state e.g. Mexico; others do not expressly confer a property right on the GIs but designate those parties entitled to ‘use’ the GIs e.g. Argentina (for more info see Patricia Covarrubia, ‘Protection of non-agricultural GIs: a window on what is happening in Latin America’, European Intellectual Property Review, E.I.P.R. 2016, 38(3)) Therefore, it is not novel for us to hear that the Peruvian IPO called i.e. INDECOPI, is the legal administrator of all GIs of Peruvian origin. INDECOPI may therefore delegate administration to individuals, provided they meet the conditions to do so.

Image result for monkey emoji
18 months! what I have been drinking,
then under an illegal Council?
The news relates to that the present institution that regulates Pisco i.e. the Pisco Regulatory Council, cannot any longer assume the administration of Pisco because “it does not meet the requirements under the law. No infrastructure, equipment, personnel or financial resources to carry out effective administration”. At the moment, there are 481 authorised producers of Pisco that can use the said name.

It also informed that the President of the Regulatory Council of Pisco had finished 18 months ago and it cannot conduct elections for its new officers. Because of this, Pisco producers “demanded the immediate vacancy of that office and called for elections.”

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Looking for a Pisco regulator? look no further!
INDECOPI noticed that it cannot delegate the management of Pisco since it cannot assume functions assigned by law. It can however supervise those that use the name and that they meet the requirements producing the quality that identifies the said product. For instance, conducting inspections, confiscating fakes and stopping bottles of alcoholic beverages using Pisco without the proper authorization.

Finally, INDECOPI urge to have a representative Pisco Regulatory Council and it has been visiting all the Pisco region to hear comments and suggestions that the new board of Pisco Regulatory Council should have.

Source INDECOPI.

Friday, 5 August 2016

A helping hand for enterprises.

Image result for business plansWe heard from Brazil that the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES)) and the Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos (Financier of Studies and Projects (Finep)) have approved and supported 27 business plans (12 of which are SMEs). The BNDEs together with Finep run a project called ‘Plan to Support the Development and Innovation of Chemical Industry (Padiq)’. The business plans presented will now receive investments of Brazilian Real $ 2.4 billion (approx. US Dollar $ 748,479,935.54 USD).
INPI played a role in this selection by “focusing on the technical state of the technologies involved, verifying aspects of innovation and assessing technological risks and the potential impact of the introduction of technology.”

The approved business plans include: replacement of potentially allergenic or carcinogenic products; development of carbon fibres for sectors such as: aerospace, automotive, sporting, and industrial and wind; and the development of fragrances from fruits, flowers and plants.

Image result for wind umbrella
Another windy day at home!
Ms Prates from BNDES attended the presentation and noted that “the country must, among its priorities, increase investment in research, development and innovation, and increase the number of patents.”

Added to this, another project was presented called Plano de Desenvolvimento, Sustentabilidade e Inovação no Setor de Mineração e Transformação Mineral (Sustainability and Innovation in Mining and Mineral Processing Industry (Inova Mineral)). This project as noted in this event, support business plans in the area of generation of solar and wind energy as well as energy storage required by electric cars. INPI will also play a role in the selection of business plan which will be , which will receive investments contribution of R $ 1.18 billion by Inova Mineral, and investments of R $ 3.58 billion by BNDES and Finep. Application of business plans will be received from September.

Source INPI.