Thursday, 23 November 2017

Parliament standards: submitting plagiarised documents

Yesterday the Chilean Chamber of Deputies and the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Mathematics of the University of Chile has signed a collaboration agreement to avoid plagiarism in documents.

This comes as no surprise since between 2014 and 2016, there were at least 40 deputies who paid for reports which were plagiarized by either showing verbatim copies taken from the Internet or without citing sources. The Congress therefore resorted to use an anti-plagiarism tool created by the University of Chile known as DOCODE. The software program has been created by the Web Intelligence Center of the Department of Industrial Civil Engineering of the University of Chile (WIC). The software “allows the detection of plagiarism based on technologies of text mining and natural language processing. The tool analyzes the documents that users upload and compares them with all documents indexed on the web and / or a repository of documents created by them. Then, it gives as a result a report of plagiarism in which the different sources of extraction of the document can be reviewed, being able to visit them for their reading.” According to the publication, the Chilean Chamber of Deputies would be “the only legislative body in Latin America ‘that applies a model of this type’”.

The Speaker of the House, noted that the collaboration agreements “is of enormous importance to raise Parliament's standards in terms of submitting documents such as bills, external consultancies, commission reports, etc.”. The parliamentarian also stressed that the use of this tool will place the Chamber of Deputies as the only legislative body in Latin America "that applies a model of this type, where all the works will be part of a comprehensive review process."


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Heritage Across Borders

The above conference has been advertised by the UK Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) as well as other forums.

I would like to further up upon this since I am co-ordinating three sub-sessions in this exciting Conference taking place in China. They are under the session Tangible and Intangible. The invitation is as follow:

Intellectual Property and the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage: Emerging Themes and Challenges in Transboundary and Diaspora Contexts
Since the Intangible Heritage Convention was adopted by UNESCO in 2003, intangible cultural heritage (ICH) and its parallel concepts such as traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) have been increasingly important subjects of debate in several other international forums, such as WIPO, CBD (including its Nagoya Protocol), WHO, and the WTO. As more countries implement the Convention, national policy-makers and communities of practice have been exploring the use of intellectual property (IP) protection to achieve ICH safeguarding outcomes (as well as other political and economic goals). For example, inscription of ways to make food and craft products on the Lists of the Convention is often associated with efforts to register geographical indications to protect use of the names of those products.
The intersection between ICH safeguarding and IP protection raises questions about the nature of ownership or stewardship over ICH, the appropriate nature of any kind of IP protection, and its likely effects. Many of these issues have been discussed in the context of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, TK and TCEs, but there has been relatively little debate about protecting IP rights in transboundary heritage, especially concerning safeguarding under the UNESCO Convention. Much ICH is shared (and contested) across national borders, and can easily be translated to and practised in new locations, which poses challenges for protecting IP rights, especially in the absence of widely-ratified international agreements.
This session will consider various strategies (legislative or otherwise) to establish and/or protect IP rights over ICH in transboundary and diaspora contexts, and how they might affect efforts to maintain practice and transmission (safeguarding) of that ICH. Session papers may present case studies of IP protection regarding transboundary ICH, and/or the role of measures such as provisions for mutual recognition and national treatment, IP chapters in international, regional or bilateral trade agreements, contractual agreements under the Nagoya Protocol, and ethical guidelines and dispute resolution mechanisms. Papers may include references to all forms of intellectual property, including patents, copyright, design rights, trademarks (certification marks and collective marks), geographical indications, and sui generis rights.

The session will involve a triple session (two speaker sessions and one panel session). The speaker’s session will consist of 4 people each, and the panel session (single session) will consist of 8 speakers with a special focus on food heritage and IP protection.

Deadline for submissions: Thursday 30 November 2017

Let me know if you need more information. You can communicate to me informally about any project you feel will be suitable to the conference (or anything else – IP related of course :0).

More information here.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

CHILE: INAPI actualiza las directrices de examen de patentes

El Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial de Chile ha informado la publicación de una versión actualizada de sus Directrices de Examen de Patentes. El texto actualizado se puede consultar en www.inapi.cl, en la sección "Biblioteca Digital", "Libros", específicamente en la página 125 y siguientes.
La versión actualizada aborda los siguientes puntos:
1) Clarifica que en el evento que una solicitud pudiera dar origen a más de una solicitud divisional, INAPI debe verificar que la solicitud original no se encuentre con resolución definitiva. Si así fuera, las eventuales solicitudes divisionales que pudieran devenir, sean de primera o segunda generación, no podrán beneficiarse del tratamiento de una solicitud divisional e INAPI dispondrá, entre otras medidas, la corrección de la base de datos, eliminando la mención "divisional".
En consecuencia, la presentación de sucesivas solicitudes divisionales tiene como limitación, que la solicitud original no tenga resolución definitiva emitida por INAPI.
2) Aclara y establece que dado que la solicitud divisional se separa de la solicitud original para efectos de su examen, y conserva la misma prioridad de esta última, se le aplican las mismas normas que a la solicitud original para determinar su vigencia, así como para el pago de tasas.
3) Para efectos de determinar el pago de las tasas de mantención de las solicitudes divisionales se establece la fecha de término de los quinquenios o decenios de la solicitud original. En el caso que la tramitación de la solicitud divisional demore más de un quinquenio o decenio según corresponda, se habrán de pagar ambos periodos juntos, una vez que se concede la solicitud divisional, que por cierto, es el mismo procedimiento que se sigue respecto de cualquier solicitud.
4) Se deja expresa constancia que para el caso que la patente original obtuviera una extensión en el plazo de vigencia en virtud de las normas sobre Protección Suplementaria, arts. 53 Bis 1 y siguientes de la Ley 19.039, dicha extensión no será aplicable a la(s) solicitud(es) divisional(es) de la solicitud original, ya que la alegación de eventuales demoras injustificadas dice relación con las particularidades de la tramitación y, en ese contexto, con el requerimiento que se formulara y concediera, si fuera el caso, por el Tribunal de Propiedad Industrial.
FUENTE: INAPI

Friday, 10 November 2017

Mexico seeks protection for Artisans


Nestlé, Mango, and Yuya, a Mexican Youtuber, are in the spotlight for the alleged unauthorised use and plagiarism of the traditional craft designs of Hidalgo



Due to their high quality and beautiful designs, Hidalgo handcrafts and folk art are very popular. They are at the top of the list of preparation and spinning of textile fibres and yarn manufacturing in Mexico. Together with the States of Campeche, San Luis Potosí, Tabasco and Veracruz sum the 40.3% of the national handicrafts, followed by Chiapas and Guerrero with the 23%. However, the success of this handiwork is tarnished by its unauthorised use and plagiarism, which are denounced continuously by artisans.

Nestlé was involved in this matter when the artisans Adalberto Flores Gómez and Angélica Martínez noticed that their drawings were used in a series of the hot cocoa cups ‘Abuelita’ a brand belonging to this company. Consequently, a civil process aiming the protection of the rights and interests of this artisans was initiated before the Office of Attorney-General. In this regard, Nestlé’s vice president of corporate communications affirmed that no author’s right had been violated because this advertising campaign was designed by the advertising agency JWT with the objective to promote the dissemination of traditional artistic draws and the traditions of Mexican culture. Hence, in doing so, copyright formalities and contract law were fully respected by the company and the artist who designed the campaign. Nevertheless, the final decision is in the hands of the Office of Attorney-General.
  
In the same way, Mango, a Spanish company commercialising clothing items, was accused of using Hidalgo designs in a jumper. Unlike Nestlé, this company accepted in a letter that the design corresponds to the embroideries of Tenango de Doria (Hidalgo), and affirmed that the jumper was withdrawn from the market.


Yuya is the last person being accused of authorised use of handcraft designs. Her new cosmetic product line uses designs from the handcraft of Tenango de Doria and Hidalgo. So far, the Youtuber has affirmed that on the recommendation of her attorneys she will no concede interviews on this matter.


Given these facts, the Deputies of the Local Congress introduced a bill for the reform of the Artisanal Promotion Law. Their aim is to provide artisans with legal tools and adequate means to claim their rights over their handcrafts and designs before national or transnational companies and natural persons. If adopted, this reform would constitute a significant advance towards the protection of artisans’ rights.

Post written by Florelia Vallejo Trujillo
Assistant Professor, Universidad del Tolima, Colombia
PhD Candidate University of Nottingham, UK

Brazil: going to Madrid?

Welcome Madrid System!
At the Brazilian Office of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Instituto Nacional da Propiedade Industrial (INPI) presented a project showing the adequacy of the Institute's structure, which is a “fundamental step for Brazil's possible accession to the Madrid Protocol”. This appears to go in line with the Brazilian Presidency’s message on the topic which was delivered to the National Congress back in June.

At the moment the registration of a trade mark takes 25 months if unopposed but by 2018 such period will be shortened by the required 18 months. It is also said that by 2019, INPI might be starting to receive international orders via the Madrid System.

WIPO’s director and the regional director of the WIPO Office in Brazil and the INPI’s president spoke about the importance of the Madrid System enhancing the significance of the Madrid Protocol for Brazilian companies. INPI’s president also noticed the need for a better IT infrastructure and the necessity to hire new trade marks examiners.

Source INPI.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

EE.UU.: Jurado resuelve en contra de dueño de inmueble y a favor de grafiteros

El martes recién pasado finalizó en Brooklyn un juicio que resolvió si el graffiti, a pesar de su naturaleza transitoria, debe o no ser reconocido como obra de arte. El jurado a cargo decidió que el desarrollador inmobiliario demandado (Jerry Wolkoff) es responsable de la destrucción hace tres años de 50 pinturas murales que habían sido pintadas en las paredes de sus edificios en Queens y cometió infracción tipificada en la Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), 17 U.S.C. § 106A.

El caso se remonta al mes de noviembre de 2013, cuando el propietario del inmueble dispuso que se cubrieran con pintura blanca los graffitis que estaban en los edificios de su propiedad en Long Island City, Queens, en un complejo llamado 5Pointz, un verdadero oasis legal conocido como la Naciones Unidas del Grafitti

Posteriormente el dueño demolió el edificio de almacenes para construir lo que hoy es un edificio de departamentos de lujo. En esos almacenes el propio dueño invitó durante 20 años a los artistas a mostrar su arte en las paredes del complejo industrial, convirtiéndolo en "el mayor museo del aerosol al aire libre del mundo", según el abogado de los artistas que demandaron por los daños y perjuicios por la destrucción de la estrucutura en que se plasmaban los grafittis.

El núcleo de la discusión jurídica es la ley VARA de 1990, que otorga a los artistas ciertos derechos sobre su obra. En este sentido la norma en su texto original indica que: "(a)Rights of Attribution and Integrity.—Subject to section 107 and independent of the exclusive rights provided in section 106, the author of a work of visual art—
(1) shall have the right—
(A) to claim authorship of that work, and
(B) to prevent the use of his or her name as the author of any work of visual art which he or she did not create;
(2) shall have the right to prevent the use of his or her name as the author of the work of visual art in the event of a distortion, mutilation, or other modification of the work which would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation; and
(3) subject to the limitations set forth in section 113(d), shall have the right—
(A) to prevent any intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification of that work which would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation, and any intentional distortion, mutilation, or modification of that work is a violation of that right"

Antes de que el edificio fuera demolido en 2014, el juez del primer caso planteado decidió que los artistas no tenían derecho a que su trabajo, pintado en el exterior de un edificio de dominio ajeno e imposible de separar de los muros, se conservara indefinidamente. 

En un segundo intento judicial, en el año 2015, volvieron a entablar una demanda, esta vez por por daños y perjuicios en virtud de los derechos morales y el derecho a la integridad de su trabajo conforme a la ley, a pesar de la propiedad ajena del inmueble o la ubicación de las pinturas. El juez del Distrito Este de Nueva York, Frederic Block, resolvió derivar el asunto a un jurado, que es el que acaba de resolver en favor de los artistas El veredicto del jurado, en el Tribunal Federal de Distrito en Brooklyn, servirá como una recomendación para el juez que presidió el caso y que emitirá un fallo final.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Peru joins TMview and DesignView

TMview is a common online trade mark information platform. This platform is used in the EU as well in the ASEAN region. The aim of the TMview is to make trade mark data widely available and easily accessible to all interested parties. This is a ‘free’ online access to information on trade mark registrations and applications having effects in the participating countries.

Viewing?
In the EU it is administered by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and since the 10th October 2017, the National Institute for the Defense of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property of Peru (INDECOPI) has made its trade mark data available to the TMview search tool.

According to the EUIPO data, this platform operating since April 2010, “has served more than 34.7 million searches from 157 different countries”. It “contains information from all of the EU national IP offices, the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and a number of international partner offices outside the EU on trade mark applications and registered marks.”

Mexico was the first Latin America country to participate, and today Brazil and Colombia are part of this search tool as well. As of today, there are 42,633,311 trade marks in TMview.

The news does not end...because INDECOPI also made the industrial design data available to DesignView which is the largest industrial design platform in the world!
As with its counterpart, DesignView, is a centralized, free and online consultation tool providing information on registered industrial designs (or in process).

Source INDECOPI.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Chile: Riesgo de confusión (y asociación) entre marcas de vino y cerveza

En fallo dividido, la Corte Suprema de Chile acogió un recurso de casación en el fondo y rechazó la solicitud de registro de la marca Camino del Diablo para cervezas por las similitudes con registro previo Casillero del Diablo de la Viña Concha y Toro.

La sentencia dictada en la causa rol 101.771-2016, por la Segunda Sala -integrada por los ministros Carlos Künsemüller, Manuel Antonio Valderrama, Juan Manuel Muñoz Pardo y los abogados (i) Jaime Rodríguez y Jorge Lagos– acogió la oposición presentada por la empresa vitivinícola al registro de la marca de cerveza, por la similitud gráfica y fonética con su marca "Casillero del Diablo". En definitiva, resolvió que el tribunal de la instancia incurrió en error de derecho en la aplicación de las normas sustantivas que regulan la irregistrabilidad puesto que no obstante haber concurrido los presupuestos que hacían procedente los motivos de prohibición de registro del artículo 20 letra f) y h) de la Ley de Propiedad Industrial, esto es, la posibilidad de error, engaño o confusión, no los aplicó.

La casación advierte que dado que lo discutido no es fáctico no requiere pronunciarse sobre aspectos probatorios (según la sana crítica), pues la cuestión se reduce a descartar motivos de irregistrabilidad por la posibilidad de confusión, examen que debe efectuarse mediante la ponderación de las características de las señas en conflicto. En otras palabras, declara básicamente que el riesgo de confusión (y de asociación) no es una cuestión de hecho, sino que de Derecho. Así, corresponde a los jueces del fondo calificar la irregistrabilidad mediante un juicio de subsunción racional, sin necesidad de prueba. 

En cuanto al fondo, resolvió que "concretando estos conceptos al caso que se revisa, la similitud gráfica y fonética entre los signos es evidente. En efecto, la sustitución de algunos componentes no dota al signo de fisonomía propia, pues al confrontar los conjuntos permanece la analogía. Dicha característica exige un análisis de probabilidad de confusión que demuestre cómo, a pesar de tal semejanza, el fin del símbolo se cumple, cual es identificar a los bienes como provenientes de una fuente particular y asignados a un fin o producto específico. Sin embargo, del estudio de las coberturas que cada seña ampara se consolida la equivalencia dada la identidad de clases y productos que distinguen, a saber, bienes de una misma naturaleza que compiten en un mercado conformado por igual público consumidor y que la oponente comercializa a través de la reconocida marca "Casillero del Diablo", lo que generará toda clase de errores y confusiones en relación al origen empresarial de los productos impidiendo una coexistencia pacífica en el mercado".

El voto de minoría correspondió al ministro Juan Muñoz Pardo, que en síntesis argumentó para rechazar el recurso lo siguiente: del mérito de autos se desprende que los contendientes se limitaron a hacer valer sus pretensiones, uno en orden a obtener un registro específico y el otro a oponerse al mismo asilado en las elucubraciones que invocó; y el tribunal, atento al rol que le corresponde, elucidó si ellos se subsumían o no en las disposiciones sustantivas llamadas a resolver la cuestión, actividad de carácter eminentemente valorativa e interpretativa susceptible de acarrear la invalidación del fallo si se verifica atropello de ley, o sea, cuando se da a las normas decisoria litis un alcance ajeno del asignado por el legislador, sea ampliando o restringiendo su preceptiva o al hacer una falsa adaptación de las mismas, como sucede cuando impone que rijan en una hipótesis no prevista por la ley o deja de aplicarlas en el caso reglamentado. Con apego a las directrices que brindan las normas y principios consagrados en la legislación sobre propiedad industrial y que emanan de los artículos 19 y 20 de su ley especial, la valoración del signo que se realizó por los magistrados no aparece como el fruto de un razonamiento extraño a los márgenes normativos del derecho marcario y, por ende, la conclusión alcanzada constituye una interpretación acertada en lo que incumbe a las causales de irregistrabilidad convocadas, pronunciamiento que no se vislumbra como distante de los parámetros de estudio propios de esta disciplina, como los utilizados en este evento, del análisis de los signos y su confrontación, en vista de lo cual no se divisa el error de derecho pretendido

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Colombian Constitutional Court mandates Google to eliminate a blog from its platform Blogger

On 2016, John William Fierro Caicedo, the owner of the company ‘Muebles Caquetá’ (Caquetá Furniture), instituted an action of ‘tutela’ against Google Inc. and the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications of Colombia (MinTIC) for the alleged violation of his rights to intimacy, good name, and dignity (Articles 15 and 21, Political Constitution of Colombia).

This request was made because a person using the Blogger platform (owned by Google Inc.) anonymously created a blog named ‘No compren en Muebles Caquetá! Estafadores!’ (Do not buy at Caquetá Furniture! Scammers!). This blog contains some slanderous affirmations, such as: ‘Furniture Caquetá, directed by the fraudster William Fierro, is dedicated to defrauding people by various means. They ask for an advance or the full payment first, and after it is received, they will disappear with your money.’ (Muebles Caquetá la cual dirige el estafador William Fierro, se dedican a estafar a la gente por diversos medios. Piden primero un adelanto o el dinero completo y después de que se lo entregas desaparecen con tu dinero).

John William Fierro Caicedo not only denies such accusations, but also affirms that the content of this blog has brought problems to his family and his business.

In response to the action of ‘tutela’, the MinTIC argued that according to Law 1341 of 2009 and Decree 2618 of 2012 it is not the national authority responsible for the surveillance and control of the companies publishing contents on the web, and requested its dissociation from the legal process.

For its part, Google Inc. affirmed that ‘although the company owns the tool www.blogger.com, it is not responsible for the information and content written and shared by users on the aforementioned digital platform, and that Google, for its part, only acts as a tool processor and as such, imposes policies on users, but does not manage, control, or produce contents’ (si bien la compañía es propietaria de la herramienta www.blogger.com, no es responsable por la información ni los contenidos redactados y compartidos por los usuarios en la mencionada plataforma digital, y que por su parte, Google solo actúa como procesador de la herramienta y como tal, impone políticas a los usuarios, más no maneja, controla, ni produce contenidos).

On August 2016, the Civil Municipal Court 21 of Bogotá handed down a ruling denying the constitutional protection requested by John William Fierro Caicedo, and disconnected the MinTIC from the process. In addition, it affirmed that neither Google Inc. nor Google Colombia Ltda. are responsible for the infringement of the human rights of the petitioner because it is not their obligation the ‘rectification, correction, elimination or complement of the information upload by users’ because they only act as tool processors.

Finally, this case was analysed by the Constitutional Court that, in Ruling T-063A/17 of this year, decided to revoke the decision of the Civil Municipal Court. As the allegations made on the blog against Muebles Caquetá and its owner were not proven, the Court considered them in violation of the rights to good name and dignity of the petitioner. Consequently, it was ordered that: (i) Google Inc. and Google Colombia Ltda. have to eliminate the blog http://muebles-caqueta.blogspot.com.co; and, (ii) the MinTIC have to establish a national law for the protection of the rights of users on the web, particularly those concerning abusive, defamatory, dishonourable, slanderous and injurious posts that undermine the right of dignity.


It is worth highlighting that although the Court acknowledged that under the US legislation Google Inc. might have not responsibility for the contents published using their processors, it mandates that both Google Inc. and Google Colombia Ltda. in carrying on their activities in Colombia have to respect the rights of users and consumers in the country.

Post written by Florelia Vallejo Trujillo

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Chile's project: promoting, protecting and boosting traditional products

Through the ‘Sello de Origen’ program the Chilean presented to the legal representative of the Sociedad Agrícola Punucapa SA, producers of Cider. With the certification of a Denomination of Origin (DO) to ‘Sidra de Punucapa’. The successful application was the result of a collective effort to “recognize, distinguish and protect this traditional low alcohol drink, based on apple juice, whose history goes back to the middle of 1800.”

Sidra de Puncapa is totally handmade, and it is said to be derived from the traditions of the place. This, added to the “climate of the area, with humid oceanic characteristics with low thermal oscillation and considerable rainfall, allow to obtain a unique product that has led to its recognition.”

Looking at these characteristics one can see why this fall under DO and not just a geographical indication. The Chilean Industrial Property Law defines a Geographical Indication as aimed to “identify a product as originating in the country or region or locality in the country, when its quality, reputation or another property is fundamentally attributable to its geographical origin.” From here you can notice that the Sidra de Puncapa is not just a locality where the product is produced and manufactured and that it has a reputation but it goes farther than these factors. Following then the definition of DO under the Chilean Industrial Property Law we see that DOs “identify a product as originating in the country or region or locality in the country, when its quality, reputation or another property is fundamentally attributable to its geographical origin, also considering other natural and human factors that affect the product’s properties.” We therefore understand that Sidra de Puncapa has other special characteristics that are essentially due to the geographical environment in which they are produced. It bears a qualitative and stronger connection between the product and the place of origin which is determined by a set of natural factors (climate), and by a set of human factors (know-how such as in this case the traditional knowledge).

The Chilean Ministry of Economy together with the Chilean Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial (INAPI) launched the program ‘Sello de Origen’. The project aims to promote traditional products through the grant of Geographical Indication (GI), denomination of Origin (DO), Collective Trade Marks and/or Certification Marks.

Source INAPI. More information about GIs in Chile here. There is also a Factsheet specifically focused on the Chilean system to protect Geographical Indications produced by the Latin America IPR SMEs Helpdesk here.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

A legal battle over a ‘Champagne Biscuit’

Carozzi, a Chilean multinational company specialised in the food industry, won a legal dispute against the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (Inter-Professional Committee for Champagne Wine - CIVC) for the use of the word Champagne to identify one of its products.
The controversy began two years ago when Carozzi requested the registration of the mark ‘Costa Galleta Champaña’ (Coast Champagne Biscuit) before the National Institute of Industrial Property (Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial – INAPI). At that time, the Committee for Champagne Wine opposed the registration of the mark, claiming the non-authorised use of a French appellation of origin recognised by Chile and world famous sparkling wine.

Pouring the news...
The INAPI initially rejected the registration of the mark. However, Carozzi appealed the decision, and the Chilean Industrial Property Tribunal later granted its registration. Dissatisfied with the decision, the Committee for Champagne Wine filed an appeal (in cassation) with the Supreme Court. The Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Chile analysed whether the registration of the mark ‘Costa Galleta Champaña’ would affect the intellectual property rights of the French wine sector due to possible confusion among consumers generated by the use of the word ‘Champagne’, as alleged by the CIVC.

In that regard, the Court concluded that the mark and the appellation of origin could coexist peacefully on the market because there is no risk of misunderstanding, deception or confusion on the part of consumers. As expected, the Committee for Champagne Wine filled a revocation before the Constitutional Court, which upheld the decision.

In this way, all legal instances were used and, despite the utilisation of a protected appellation of origin, Carozzi can freely use the word Champagne as the name of one of its most popular products in Chile.

Sources here, here and here.

Post written by Florelia Vallejo Trujillo
Assistant Professor, Universidad del Tolima, Colombia
PhD Candidate University of Nottingham, UK

Monday, 2 October 2017

EU Piracy Study Finds No Connection between Piracy and Sales

Most of us have participated in a form of digital piracy in one form or another. Maybe you’ve downloaded a song off the internet, or even found a copy of your legal textbook online and paid less than what the published intended? Once you turned off your computer and found your reflection in the darkness of the screen, did it betray your abject feelings of guilt? Perhaps not. After all, a study in 2012 found that 57% of the world’s computer users confess to pirating software, and in April of 2017, a study found that 93% of millennials who pirate video content experience no guilt.

Piracy has become normalized in the modern world, despite efforts from publishers and online retailers to criminalize, at least morally, the act of digital theft. The premise of many such corporations, especially those involved in video games and audio-visual content, is that the use of piracy is directly proportionate to the amount of sales lost. In an attempt to clarify this connection, the European Commission paid over € 300,000 to initiate a study which examined the sales of copyrighted music, books, videogames and movies, and how piracy impacts them. The study itself was completed in 2015, but was intentionally prevented from going public, claims EU Law blogged Maren Schmid, because it did not suit the Commission's agenda. It has recently come to light thanks to Julia Reda, a European Parliament Member, representing the ‘German Pirate Party,’ who posted the study in her personal blog after gaining access using an EU Freedom of Information Request.

The study itself is remarkably clear in its findings, examining data from EU countries and concluding that the correlation between piracy and profit is nonexistent except when considering major blockbuster films. Interestingly, the study also confirms what prolific pirates have been claiming for decades, that access to a product at a reasonable rate using a reasonable platform encourages widespread legal consumption.

A study in March 2017 found that the eBook pirates are predominately old, educated and wealthy, making between 60,000 to 100,000 a year . Why would these wealthy individuals seek out illegal platforms when they can easily afford to purchase? Upon surveying contemporary eBook marketplaces, the general consensus is that eBooks cost more than their printed counterparts, even though they lack a physical condition. Even a wealthy individual may feel cheated or taken advantage of when considering purchases. This is highly discouraging to any prospective buyer, and pressures them into piracy. Changes to this confounded system would be mutually beneficial for all parties involved, giving reasonable prices to consumers at the same time as raising the profits of the publishers. For an example of when this works, examine platforms like Netflix for video consumption and Steam for videogames, which have streamlined access to content and have enjoyed massive consumer participation and profit margins.


If the publisher perspective was to be maintained, that piracy was a dominant force in limiting profits, why would Netflix and Steam have a combined userbase of over 200 million when all the content on their respective platforms can be pirated? This study confirms what has been recognized by the pirating communities for decades, that if the platform is accessible, and the price is reasonable, piracy becomes a non-issue.

Post written by Dalton Tucker
LLB University of Buckingham

Friday, 29 September 2017

Promoting the IP system in Brazil

The INPI has had a busy couple of weeks. This week INPI’s president participated in a meeting with representatives of the Intellectual Property Office of the European Union (EUIPO). The aim is to bring a partnership between INPI and EUIPO, through the ‘IP Key Latin America’ which promotes the IP system in Brazil.

The IP Key Latin America has been carried by EUIPO as a European Union (EU) body. The project aims “to stimulate the improvement of IP systems in countries outside the EU.” Mainly it promotes “the exchange of good practice of examination and management, the development of Information Technology tools and participation in global protection systems. The scope of the project can include actions such as the preparation of studies, the organisation of seminars and training events, missions of experts, among other activities.”

Covering issues of cooperation Brazil has also seen in the last couple of weeks two other teamwork/co-operation. The 14th September INPIs’ presidents from Brazil and Argentina, signed a memorandum of understanding, to increase cooperation between the two countries in Industrial Property. In the same line and aiming the same as the IP Key Latin America, this cooperation also promotes “manuals and guidelines for trade marks and industrial designs” It extends to cover “priority projects in the examination of patents; exchange of experiences; bilateral collaboration in the analysis of patent applications; and promoting the use of the IP system in both countries.” INPIs’ presidents also discussed international IP negotiations in Mercosur, the Cooperation System on Operational and Industrial Property Aspects (Prosur), the Ibero-American Industrial Property Program (IBEPI), the Organization World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In September also the INPI received a visit from the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO) to discuss potential partnerships. The Danish learned about the INPI systems such as the priority examination projects, the digitalization of trade mark documents, among other topics.

Finally INPI announces the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)’s new office in Brazil, located in Rio de Janeiro.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Brazil: Geographical Indications in a map

Mapa das Indicações Geográficas brasileiras Source:INPI
We hear about a new map…GI map? The Brazilian Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial (INPI) together with the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) have prepared a Map of Geographical Indications of Brazil - available since September 13th, 2017. The Map is one of the results of the agreement between the two Institutes. The aim is to map the Brazilian production and service areas which have received a GI from INPI.

The map incorporates 4 new products recently recognised as Indicação de Procedência (Indication of Source). Brazil has two forms of Geographical Indication (GI): Denominação de Origem (DO) [there are 10 DOs in Brazil] and Indicação de Procedência [49 ISs in total]. DO is more valued because it depends on proof that the product has special characteristics due to its geographical environment, including natural AND human factors.

The new 4 products are: inhame da região São Bento de Urânia (yam), erva-mate de São Matheus (yerba mate), uvas finas de mesa de Marialva (grapes), and the mel de abelhas do oeste do Paraná (honey). The map also shows the farinha de mandioca (flour) of Cruzeiro do Sul, located in the region of Juruá, Acre registered on August 22.

Peru: examples of good practice

The Peruvian Institute of the Fair Competition and Intellectual Property recently attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
National experts from the different areas of IP were attending diverse workshops and meetings at the event.

Traditional Knowledge
Peru showed itself as the leading economy in protecting indigenous peoples' collective knowledge by putting forward a virtual platform related to the TK linked to the biodiversity of the country. In this session of the forum, particular discussion was held “regarding the protection of ancestral knowledge of Peruvian indigenous peoples, in order to preserve and defend them against misappropriation by third parties [by national Law No. 27811]”. Such virtual platform would also see the linking of the TK holders with the potential users, such as universities and research centres.
Peru is part of the Andean Community (CAN). Back in 1996 CAN passed Decision 391 which became the first law in the world to establish general principles for the protection of TK. By 2000 Decision 486 on the Common Industrial Regime for the Community built upon such principles and
created further measures for a defensive protection of TK.
Peru is the second largest Amazonian country and 35% of its population its indigenous. In 2002 Peru passed a law (27811) for the protection of collective knowledge of indigenous peoples related to biodiversity and in 2004, Peru created the National Biopiracy Prevention Commission (Law 28216).

Inventions and New Technologies
Experts on the subject attended the seminar "Opportunities and Challenges in the Marketing of Protected Vegetable Varieties in the APEC region". In this session the national experts talked about "Success stories “sharing Peruvian examples relevant in the commercialization of plant varieties. INDECOPI informs that the information imparted in the seminar was also shared in another seminar organised by the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, aimed at Vietnamese professionals, researchers and companies.

Trade Marks
Specialists on this topic participated in the workshop: "Delimitation of trade marks and infringements in a border context".

Source INDECOPI

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Chile: Subsidio estatal para el patentamiento vía PCT de invenciones chilenas

En Chile el Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial- INAPI dio inicio al Programa de Apoyo al Patentamiento de Invenciones Chilenas en el Extranjero vía PCT junto con la Corporación de Fomento de la Producción (CORFO). 

Esta nueva línea de financiamiento busca dar apoyo directo a empresas nacionales que requieren proteger invenciones en el exterior. Según las bases técnicas, los beneficiarios son personas naturales mayores de 18 años, que posean la calidad de "Empresarios Individuales", y empresas constituidas en Chile con iniciación de actividades en primera categoría del Impuesto a la Renta, quienes deben contar con un acuerdo con la entidad proveedora de conocimiento. Se excluyen aquellas personas jurídicas cuyo único objeto social sea la capacitación, y a las universidades, institutos profesionales y centros de formación técnica.

El programa pretende fomentar y contribuir a la internacionalización y protección de invenciones desarrolladas por empresas nacionales, mediante el cofinanciamiento del proceso de protección internacional llevado a través del sistema de patentes, y el fortalecimiento del plan de negocios para su internacionalización, con la finalidad de abrir nuevos mercados y aumentar significativamente la competitividad de las empresas.

Sus objetivos específicos son:
Facilitar, promover y aumentar la protección de invenciones patentables en el exterior a través de PCT.
Fortalecer el plan de negocios asociado a la invención con foco en la dimensión de internacionalización y estrategia de protección, que apoye la consolidación comercial de la invención nacional en el extranjero.
Contribuir a la generación de conocimiento y capacidades nacionales relacionadas con los procesos de internacionalización de invenciones y fortalecimiento de planes de negocio.
Complementar las acciones de valorización, empaquetamiento y comercialización de las invenciones en el extranjero, apoyando las etapas asociadas al proceso de internacionalización.

El monto de financiamiento llega hasta los 35 millones de pesos (55 mil dólares aproximadamente), el cual cubre -según el tamaño de la empresa-, hasta el 70% del costo del proyecto. El resto debe ser aportado por el beneficiario con aportes en dinero. La ayuda se centra en las etapas intermedias de la cadena de transferencia de la I+D+i generada hacia mercados globales, considerando además el fortalecimiento del plan de negocio y la elaboración de estrategias de patentamiento internacional.

Las propuestas deberán presentar los siguientes antecedentes mínimos al momento de la postulación:
a. Solicitud PCT ante el Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial de Chile.
b. Informe de búsqueda internacional y opinión escrita favorable emitida por una Administración encargada de la búsqueda internacional (ISA).
c. Plan de negocios preliminar vinculado a la invención a patentar, con foco en la dimensión internacional y estrategia de propiedad industrial.

Más información del programa en este enlace.

The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Patents in Latin America

A new book is hitting the shelves. Prof Kenneth C. Shadlen, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK writes to inform us of his new book Coalitions and Compliance: The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Patents in Latin America. Prof Kenneth teaches Development Studies in the Department of International Development at LSE.

Oxford University Press describes the book as
Coalitions and Compliance examines how international changes can reconfigure domestic politics. Since the late 1980s, developing countries have been subject to intense pressures regarding intellectual property rights. These pressures have been exceptionally controversial in the area of pharmaceuticals. Historically, fearing the economic and social costs of providing private property rights over knowledge, developing countries did not allow drugs to be patented. Now they must do so, an obligation with significant implications for industrial development and public health. This book analyses different forms of compliance with this new imperative in Latin America, comparing the politics of pharmaceutical patenting in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.

Coalitions and Compliance focuses on two periods of patent politics: initial conflicts over how to introduce drug patents, and then subsequent conflicts over how these new patent systems function. In contrast to explanations of national policy choice based on external pressures, domestic institutions, or Presidents' ideological orientations, this book attributes cross-national and longitudinal variation to the ways that changing social structures constrain or enable political leaders' strategies to construct and sustain supportive coalitions. The analysis begins with assessment of the relative resources and capabilities of the transnational and national pharmaceutical sectors, and these rival actors' efforts to attract allies. Emphasis is placed on two ways that social structures are transformed so as to affect coalition-building possibilities: how exporters fearing the loss of preferential market access may be converted into allies of transnational drug firms, and differential patterns of adjustment among state and societal actors that are inspired by the introduction of new policies. It is within the changing structural conditions produced by these two processes that political leaders build coalitions in support of different forms of compliance
A book about... tango is finished!
Lost in translation...
Prof Ken describes his book as
"a new book on the political economy of pharma patents, examining the debates about introducing new pharma patent systems, when this became compulsory post-TRIPS, and then, once in place, debates over revising how these systems function. The empirics are from three LatAm countries (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico)."
How I describe the book:
"haven’t read it yet…but looks promising."
"A must read."

In the near future will do a review.

To be continued…

More information here.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Dancing with pride: Jeremy did it!

Our dear Jeremy Phillips, the founder of the IPTango, IPKat and many other IP blogs, was awarded the David Goldring Volunteer Award from Marques. The Marques website describes beautifully the meaning of the award attached to the name David Goldring whose 'huge contribution to the organisation over the years' was remarkable [more info here]. David Goldring passed away in June 2016 and the award was 'inaugurated and was presented to his wife Delia (Dee) Goldring at the Annual meeting in September 2016'. This is the second time the award is awarded and it is with such pride that we hear that our own Jeremy was the recipient!

Jeremy is a well known figure among IP lawyers. He has been one of the top IP professors, researcher and practitioner but one of his key characteristics and quite valuable is his passion for whatever he does (surely after retirement he may be running after the grand-kids with a big smile -- perhaps he is learning to dance tango). His energy is contagious and it is an example that many of us follow.

Congratulations Jeremy! Felicidades! We miss you.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

New Registers can Oppose Marks Previously Filled for Registration

Monsieur Periné, a Colombian musical group, achieved recognition of its name as a well-known trademark. This declaratory was made by the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) within the opposition process issued by this musical group against the register of the mixed mark ‘Monsieur Perruné’ filed for registration in class 41 by Emepe S.A.S., a company offering live music performances and services. One of the arguments used by the company in its defence was that its application for registration of the trademark was issued before (14 October 2016) to that one made by Monsieur Periné (11 November 2016). Under Article 136 of the Decision 486 of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) the signs that would unduly harm a third-party right cannot be registered as marks, especially when ‘they are identical or similar to a mark previously filed for registration or registered by a third party in respect of the same goods or services, or for goods or services regarding which the use of the mark could cause a risk of confusion or association.’ (Emphasis added)
  
However, more than an argument against the opposition issued by Monsieur Periné, this just goes to show that the musical group is acting in line with the Colombian trademark law. The opposition is a legal proceeding that anyone with a legitimate interest can initiate to try to prevent the registration of a mark. On the matter, Article 147 of the Decision 486 of the CAN establishes that ‘the opponent shall prove his genuine interest in the market of the member country in which the opposition is filed, which they must do by applying for registration at the time of filing the opposition.’ From these two Articles, it has been interpreted that an opposition can be suited either when there is a mark previously filled for registration or already registered, or when no registration exists. Unless the opposition is presented based on the prior existence of a register, the opposition must be issued together with an application for the registration of the mark that allegedly could be violated with the concession of the opposed mark.

Evidently, Monsieur Periné is a successful musical group otherwise its name would not have been recognised as a well-known mark. By contrast, Emepe S.A.S. was a little know company, which apparently was trying to take unfair advantage of the prestige of Monsieur Periné. This, because of the obvious similarities between the signs ‘Monsieur Periné’ and ‘Monsieur Perruné.’
The case in which a registered mark is declared well-known within an opposition process was analysed in a previous post. (See post here)

Finally, a document of opposition does not require a petition for the recognition of a well-known mark, but, if included, the decision must not necessarily be favourable. For example, the register of the sign ‘Forever Sexy’ filled in class 25 by Victoria’s Secret was recently denied. The decision was made based on the prior registration of the mark ‘Forever’ in classes 9, 14, 18, 24, 25, and 35, a property of Forever 21 Inc. ‘Forever’ was not recognised as a well-known mark at the end of this process. Nonetheless, due to their similarity, the mark ‘Forever Sexy’ was not able to be registered.

    









Post written by Florelia Vallejo Trujillo
Assistant Professor, Universidad del Tolima, Colombia
PhD Candidate University of Nottingham, UK                    

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
http://www.sic.gov.co
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"


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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.