Friday, 15 September 2017

The Pope's visit to Colombia: an IP matter

Early September Colombia received a very special and anticipated visit.
As Pope Francis prepared to visit Colombia for a six-day Apostolic Journey, there were some challenges before the arrival of the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. One of the main issues as expected was security. The visit was taken and aimed to “dream about the possibility of transforming [Colombia] and taking the first step.” Colombia is said to be a war-torn country (with more than 50 years of armed conflict) and the visit promoted the themes of peace and reconciliation.

Official Logo and slogan - 'Demos el primer paso'
According to the Vatican Radio ‘The logo of the Journey contains the motto of the Pope’s Apostolic Journey: “Let’s take the first step”’. Such sign was especially created for the visit of Pope Francis to Colombia.

demos el primer paso
Before the Pope’s arrival an application for registration of the mixed sign ‘demos el primer paso’ was presented by the Episcopal Conference of Colombia at the Superintendence de Industrial y Comercio (SIC). The Episcopal Conference of Colombia is a collegiate body constituted by the bishops of the country, and are the legal representatives of Pope Francis in Colombia.

During the registration process there were no oppositions and the examiner not finding any grounds of irregularity established by the Decision 486 of the Andean Community granted the mark on 23 August 2017 (Resolution 50963/2017).

The newspaper El Mundo acknowledges that the image of celebrities and famous people is common in Colombia since SIC allows the registration of names of ‘personas’ to avoid their use by third parties who may take advantage of their reputation and goodwill. The newspaper gave the example of the registration of ‘Father Rafael García Herreros’, a priest who founded the religious institution Minuto de Dios Corporation, which acted successfully in the registration of the father’s name. SIC refers to cases where the registration of a name has helped to opposed to applications such as the cases of 'Parque Juan Pablo II' and 'Velas y Velones Juan Pablo II'. The signs were denied registraiton under Art 136 of Decision 486.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Webinar "IPRs for EU SMEs in Mexico"

Our friends of Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk have organized a very interesting webinar regarding Intellectual Property Rights for EU SMEs in Mexico.

The webinar aims to give an overview about the current situation as regards Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation as well as to provide practical information about the registration and enforcement of the main IPRs in Mexico.

Attendees will have the chance to see the importance and main features of each Intellectual Property Right when operating in Mexico.

The webinar will be held on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, at 15.00 hours (Brussels time) in English.

This free-of-charge event is business-oriented and is conducted by top professionals that know exactly what an SME needs to know to improve its business strategy regarding IP registration and enforcement in the Latin America region.

More information and registration here.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Criptomonedas: EE.UU., Corea del Sur, Canadá y China regulan las ICOs (Initial Coin Offering)

El fenómeno de las criptomonedas -basadas en la tecnología subyacente de la blockchain o "cadena de bloques"- está en una etapa crítica porque los Estados han comenzado a aplicar medidas tendientes a su regulación, más o menos restrictivas según el mercado respectivo.

Desde la aparición de esta clase de instrumentos digitales basados en la encriptación (cuya naturaleza jurídica es una definición en desarrollo) han surgido métodos de levantamiento de capital vinculados a sus propiedades tecnológicas. Uno de esos métodos, que combina el crowdfunding con las criptomonedas, son las llamadas ICOs (Initial Coin Offering: Oferta inicial de moneda) o Token Sales (venta de tokens) consistentes en la emisión de una criptomoneda o criptodivisa, ligada a un proyecto determinado, mediante el uso de la "cadena de bloques" como medio de control de las transacciones.

Este modelo es similar a la emisión de acciones (IPO), aunque, en vez de acciones, el inversor recibe "tokens" o "monedas virtuales" que simbolizan digitalmente una cuota de interés en el dominio del proyecto. Este token, en la práctica, es un certificado encriptado de acciones virtuales de la compañía emisora que, en el futuro, pueden tener valor real apreciado (o depreciado) según el destino del proyecto. Este modelo ha logrado recaudar 1.333 millones de euros en el último año y está generando un mercado muy dinámico que llamó la atención de las instituciones financieras tradicionales y de los entes regulatorios estatales.

En Estados Unidos, a fines del mes de Julio recién pasado, la Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), organismo encargado de fiscalizar los mercados financieros de Estados Unidos, calificó a las criptomonedas como securities (activos financieros) e informó que las nuevas emisiones deberán estar sujetas a las regulaciones vigentes, las cuales serían similares a las que se exigen para cualquier salida a bolsa.

En Asia, la Comisión para la Regulación de los Mercados de Servicios Financieros de Corea del Sur (FSC) informó la intención de regular este mercado y China, por su parte, anunció su prohibición por ilegales, y ordenó la devolución de los fondos recaudados por este mecanismo.

Para prohibir esta forma de financiamiento el Banco Popular Chino (Banco Central) se ha hecho cargo de la naturaleza de los títulos de propiedad (token) emitidos en actividades de financiación, de la financiación ilegal en la libre emisión de bonos sin regulación, el fortalecimiento de plataformas de financiación y gestión de negociación de monedas virtuales, de las instituciones financieras no bancarias y las entidades de pago inhibidas de ejercer operaciones ICO, del riesgo para el público y el fortalecimiento de las instituciones de autorregulación del sector.

El efecto en el mercado de estas medidas regulatorias restrictivas fue la caída en el precio de las criptomonedas (como Bitcoin y Ethereum) y el cierre, al menos en China de más de cuarenta plataformas ICO.

No obstante, no todo son noticias regulatorias restrictivas. En Canadá, la Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) del Quebec está analizando con buenos ojos todo el potencial de estos instrumentos basados en la tecnología blockchain con el fin de darle un encuadre inclusivo dentro del sistema de financiamiento de empresa, con protección a los inversores, aunque con mayor flexibilidad y menos exigencias que para el mercado tradicional fintech. Es el mismo camino que ha tomado la Canadian Securities Administration (CSA). 

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

SPORTFLIX, the Netflix of Sports, is suspended for an alleged violation of IPRs

In the same way that Netflix changed the way of watching tv and films, Sportflix, a Mexican company with international partners, was intended to be a platform to provide sports events. Its launch was announced on 30th August last. However, it was suspended on the 29th by the Mexican Industrial Property Institute (IMPI).

On its website, the IMPI explains that following a complaint submitted through its piracy mailbox, the portal was revised. After that, evidence of a possible violation of the Federal Copyright Law and the Mexican Industrial Property Law was found. This, because the content of the web apparently infringes some of the IPRs of the companies with the broadcasting rights to transmit the sports events found in the Sportflix web site, such as Televisa, TV Azteca, Fox Sports, ESPN, and Univisión.

As a consequence, a provisional measure consisting in suspending the launching of Sportflix was imposed, and a verification visit was communicated. Nonetheless, the verification visit scheduled for August 29th could not be completed because the company´s staff opposed to it.

During an interview with the newspaper El Financiero, Carlos Martínez, the president of Fox Networks Group Latin America, expressed that Fox Sports and other sports content suppliers are waiting for the results of the investigation under development before issuing a complaint about the infraction of their IPRs.
For now, organisations such as the F1, the Fórmula E, the Mexican Football League, and the Champions League confirmed that they have no agreement with Sportflix for the broadcasting rights of the sports contents found on its portal. For its part, Sportflix announces on its web site that ‘before to provide a service in exchange for a subscription, the platform must go through the needed processes, so as to give sports streaming of the best quality.’ It is also affirmed that ‘the pre-register continues to be open’ after which a coupon will be received via email for a free day of access to the platform and the right to be ‘the first to know the date in which the service will be enabled.’

As it can be observed, in this case, the interests of the ‘traditional’ and the ‘new’ way to communicate tv shows, films and sports events to the public are combined. For this reason, it is relevant to know how this will end.

Post written by Florelia Vallejo Trujillo

Monday, 4 September 2017

Argentina: Uso de la Indicación Geográfica y DO en las etiquetas de vino se flexibiliza

En Argentina, el Instituto Nacional de Vitivinicultura (INV) y el Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Intelectual (INPI) emitieron la resolución conjunta 247/2017 que permite el uso de denominaciones de origen e indicaciones geográficas que aún no están autorizadas en vinos mientras dure el proceso de verificación. Los requisitos son los siguientes:

a) Con anterioridad al uso del nombre geográfico, los usuarios deben haber iniciado el trámite de reconocimiento de la correspondiente Indicación Geográfica (IG) o Denominación de Origen Controlada (DOC), en los términos del Artículo 4° o 13 de la Ley N° 25.163 y sus reglamentaciones, respectivamente.

b) La solicitud debe ser presentada por una persona física o jurídica o por las organizaciones mencionadas en el Artículo 8° de la Ley N° 25.163. En el primer caso deberá individualizar eventuales interesados.

c) El producto debe cumplir con los requisitos establecidos por el Artículo 6° de la Ley N° 25.163.

d) Se presume sin admitir prueba en contrario la aceptación por parte de los usuarios que se trata de un derecho autorizado en los términos del Artículo 2° de la presente y que el reconocimiento y derecho a uso de la Indicación Geográfica (IG) o Denominación de Origen Controlada (DOC) solicitada se encuentra condicionada al cumplimiento de la totalidad de los requisitos que correspondan en cada caso.

e) No podrá consignarse en los marbetes que se trata de una IG o DOC, sino limitarse a la mención del nombre geográfico pertinente.

f) Podrá mencionarse en cualquiera de los elementos que constituyen el etiquetado, con la ubicación y tipo de letra que considere adecuado, siempre que el tamaño de esta no supere los tres milímetros (3 mm) y su uso sea realizado en forma indicativa no marcaria.

g) Acreditar acciones sociales en el interior del área geográfica pretendida en beneficio de su comunidad.

h) Todo otro requisito que el Instituto Nacional de Vitivinicultura entienda procedente teniendo en cuenta las particularidades de cada caso, el que deberá ser notificado a los peticionantes dentro del plazo de DIEZ (10) días a partir de su solicitud.

La resolución dispone que los nombres geográficos que no hayan sido objeto de reconocimiento en algunas de las categorías establecidas por la Ley Nº 25.163, podrán consignarse en el etiquetado de vinos y/o bebidas espirituosas de naturaleza vínica durante el tiempo que dure el procedimiento de reconocimiento y derecho a uso de una IG o DOC.

La nueva resolución agrega que podrán consignarse pero el uso será provisorio, transitorio, condicional, precario y revocable, sin derecho para el o los administrados a su mantenimiento indefinido o a indemnización alguna en caso de revocación.

Fuente:  Boletin Oficial

Explain that to me, ‘despacito’ –step by step-

This week we open it up with a Guest Post from David Felipe Alvarez Amezquita, a Colombian lawyer currently working on his PhD at University of Nottingham.

Explain that to me, ‘despacito’ –step by step-
Copyright and politics. Why is important for an author to keep his rights?

In support for the elections to the constitutional assembly that was recently voted in Venezuela, during a rally, President Maduro publicly used a transformed version of the song “Despacito”. The song, an unprecedented hit this year, has been used on many occasions, but this particular case has created the total rejection from its authors.
Luis Fonsi said it clearly: “I have never been consulted nor I have given permission for the change or use of the lyrics of <<Despacito>> for political purposes…” See here (Spanish).
This has not been the first case, though. During the recent presidential race in the US, the use of certain songs by Trump’s campaign was fiercely rejected.
This has been a clear example of how the role that authors play in the protection of copyright goes beyond the mere economic interests and touches the limits of freedom of expression and the exercise of democracy. But, what if the rights of the author do not belong to her or him anymore?
The General Comment 17, on “The right of everyone to benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he or she is the author (article 15, paragraph 1 (c), of the Covenant)” published by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, highlights the fact that author’s moral interests should be understood as the protection of the “intrinsically personal character of every creation of the human mind”. This results in the right to be recognised as the creator of the works and the right to object any distortion, mutilation or other modification or derogatory action that would be prejudicial to author’s honour and reputation.
Nevertheless, in some cases, moral rights can be transferred or eventually waived. The legal tradition in which continental copyright (author’s rights) is inscribed avoid this possibility. Instead, the legal tradition for common law copyright allows that these rights can be transferred or waived. For instance, most, if not all of the Latin American countries protect author’s moral rights under conditions of inalienability, non-waiver, and perpetuity. Instead, the US has developed a complex system of protection of moral rights to produce conformity with their adhesion to the Berne Convention, article 6.2. (See for example the case of visual arts, Section 106). The UK, on the other hand, prohibits the assignation of the moral rights but accepts their waiving under written contract (sections 94 and 87).
Why is this important? Because moral rights have not been a peaceful issue in the international arena. One of the best examples of this is the express exclusion of these rights from the main elements of protection of copyright within the TRIPS agreement. By this way, moral rights have been situated outside of the international trade law. Instead, on the area of human rights, author’s moral interests have been enacted since the UDHR. How these two spheres interact on this matter is a question yet to be solved.  
In this video time lapse, it can be seen how different countries have accessed to the international systems that protect copyright and author’s human rights. It calls the attention that it was not until the late 1980’s that the US adhered to the Berne Convention and that once they did, in the next decade the TRIPS agreement was adopted and the cascade of countries following this was immediate. A similar cascade occurred when the ICESCR was adopted, but the US was out of it (this country signed the Covenant but has never adopted it). Unfortunately, the ICESCR lacks on swift tools of enforceability that the TRIPS agreement has.
Nevertheless, protecting author’s moral interests can impact areas situated beyond commerce and closer to democracy. This shows that the interface between human rights and copyright towards the protection of author's fundamental rights is not something to disregard.
Even if in some cases countries with a continental tradition have tilted their policies towards a possible transferability or waiver of moral rights, as in the case of works created by a commission or under employment, it looks like a weak author within society is bad for democracy and not only for business.

David's research is related to the protection of author’s fundamental rights through copyright in a comparative perspective. He has been awarded the COLCIENCIAS and the University of Tolima scholarships for doctoral studies. He has worked as researcher and lecturer in HEIs in Colombia, as Head of the Register Office of Copyright and as Copyright Advisor for CERLALC-UNESCO.  
David can be contacted here.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Politics and IP. Regulation and IP. Just Two of the Topics Up for Discussion in Cartagena This October!

Highlighted recently here on IP Tango, the International Trademark Association (INTA) will be hosting its Changing Landscape of Latin America conference in Cartagena, Colombia, on October 2–3.

Serving on the conference project team, Iris Quadrio (Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal, Argentina) and Urko Ochoa (Minino, Dominican Republic) contributed to the educational program and will be moderating a number of the sessions during the conference. The conference will be presented in English.

Moderated by Ms. Quadrio, a session titled “Politics and IP – Navigating This Unlikely Pair,” will feature Luiz Henrique O. do Amaral (Dannemann Siemsen, Brazil) and Prof. Dr. Gustavo Juan Schötz (National Director of Copyright, Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Argentina). This session ties in closely with the theme of the conference, as it touches upon the changes that are reshaping the political landscape across Latin America, with Brazil transitioning towards presidential elections in 2018 after a particularly difficult period, and Argentina and Peru signaling important developments after their respective new administrations took office.

Speakers will delve into the changing political and economic landscape and its impact on issues such as the negotiation of agreements as they relate to intellectual property (IP) and trademarks, including the relaunch of Mercosur/EU trade talks. This discussion will also cover the role of the new trademark and IP authorities in Latin America, with their own list of priorities and reform projects, bringing participants up to date on the most recent changes and developments in the region.

Mr. Ochoa will lead a panel of experts comprising Melissa Pérez de Patterson (Procter & Gamble, Panama), Sergio Barragán (Pepsico, Mexico), and Rodrigo Velasco (Alessandri Abogados, Chile) in a session concerning the balance between IP rights and the increasing regulatory landscape. They will discuss a numbers of issues raised as a consequence of the new regulatory regimes which are expanding in the region, the corresponding restrictions for IP rights, and how IP owners and practitioners are facing the new challenges. Participants should expect to receive a clear regional overview of the matter, as well as the conflicts arising from the overlap between IP and regulatory provisions (such as packaging claims, use of characters, and other restrictions), and expectations for future developments.

Following the conference, on October 4, INTA will host a workshop, Free Trade Zones: Commerce vs. Counterfeits, during which brand owners, free trade zone authorities, government officials, and other stakeholders will explore the ongoing threat of counterfeiting in free trade zones.

Register here to join INTA in Cartagena this October.

Post written by INTA.