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".


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.