Novedades de PI en Perú

Laisha Mubarak
Lawyer at Philippi, Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría

El 29 de mayo de 2017 se ha aprobado a través del Decreto Supremo N° 059-2017-PCM el Reglamento del Decreto Legislativo Nº 1075 (en adelante, el “Reglamento”). El Decreto Legislativo N° 1075 aprueba disposiciones complementarias a la Decisión 486 de la Comunidad Andina que establece el Régimen Común sobre Propiedad Industrial y sus modificaciones. Para estos efectos, el mencionado Decreto Legislativo se le denominará como la “Ley”.

El Decreto Supremo ha sido emitido según lo ordenado en la segunda disposición complementaria final del Decreto Legislativo N° 1309, Decreto Legislativo de simplificación de los procedimientos administrativos en materia de Propiedad Intelectual seguido ante los órganos resolutivos del Instituto Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia y de la Protección de la Propiedad Intelectual-INDECOPI.

Entre los principales alcances del Reglamento se encuentran los siguientes:

Régimen de Poderes:

En caso el representante se acredite como tal mediante un poder que obra en la Superintendencia Nacional de Registros Públicos – SUNARP- y desee emplearlo, debe indicar de manera expresa en su solicitud el número de partida registral en el que dicho poder se encuentra inscrito.

Fecha de solicitud de registro:

En caso la solicitud de registro de marca no cumpla con los requisitos exigidos por la Ley, la Unidad de Trámite Documentario requerirá al solicitante dicha información y otorgará un plazo de sesenta (60) días hábiles para que complete la información, sin asignarle número de expediente ni fecha de presentación. La Unidad de Trámite Documentario mantendrá en su custodia la solicitud hasta que el administrado subsane los requisitos. Caso contrario, se devolverá al solicitante los documentos que hubiese presentado.

En caso la Unidad de Trámite Documentario no detecte la omisión de alguno de los requisitos exigidos por Ley, la instancia respectiva observará la solicitud y otorgará un plazo para subsanar.

Notificación a depósitos temporales autorizados por SUNAT:

Las medidas cautelares dictadas en procedimientos relacionados con la presunta infracción a derechos de propiedad industrial cuya mercancía se encuentre almacenada en depósitos temporales autorizados por la SUNAT, son notificadas a los correos electrónicos proporcionados por los referidos depósitos, precisándose el tipo de medida cautelar a cumplir y la identificación de la mercancía sobre la cual recae la misma.

Diligencia de inspección:

Las solicitudes de diligencia de inspección deben cumplir con los siguientes requisitos: a) encontrarse debidamente sustentada; b) acreditarse el pago; c) indicar el lugar donde se llevará a cabo la diligencia; d) nombres y apellidos completos, denominación social o razón social, documento nacional de identidad, carné de extranjería o cualquier documento análogo del solicitante, domicilio procesal, y de ser el caso los datos de identificación de quien ejerza la representación de éste; e) registro Único de Contribuyentes, en el caso que corresponda; f) firma o huella digital, en caso de no saber firmar o estar impedido; g) identificación del certificado de registro que ampare el derecho del accionante. En el caso de acciones sustentadas en un nombre comercial, registrado o no, debe presentar los documentos que acrediten el uso actual, real y efectivo del mismo, con anterioridad al momento de interposición de la solicitud. En caso de acciones sustentadas en signos distintivos notoriamente conocidos deberá acreditarse tal condición; h) copia del escrito y sus recaudos, según la cantidad de notificaciones a realizarse. En caso de presentarse pruebas que consistan en muestras físicas, deberán adjuntarse ejemplares adicionales o, en su defecto, una representación de la misma.

 Asimismo, se deberá cumplir con el procedimiento detallado en el artículo 118° de la Ley.

De no cumplir con los requisitos antes señalados, se notificará al solicitante para que subsane la omisión en el plazo de dos (02) días hábiles, bajo apercibimiento de tenerse por no presentada la solicitud.

Procedimiento Sancionador:

La autoridad nacional competente en materia de propiedad industrial puede promover los siguientes procedimientos sancionadores: a) procedimientos iniciados por proporcionar a la autoridad nacional información falsa u oculte, destruya o altere información, entre otros supuestos del artículo 116 de la Ley, b) supuestos contemplados en el artículo 7 del Decreto Legislativo Nº 807, c) supuestos contemplados en el artículo 55 de la Ley, d) procedimientos iniciados por el uso ilegal de la denominación “marca registrada”, “M.R.”, “denominación de origen, “D.O.” u otra equivalente que indiquen falsamente la existencia de un derecho de propiedad intelectual, e) procedimientos iniciados por incumplimientos de resoluciones y medidas cautelares y f) denuncias iniciadas de oficio.

Presentación de escritos ante la Sala Especializada en Propiedad Intelectual:

Las partes tienen el derecho de presentar los escritos y documentos que consideren pertinentes hasta antes de que el expediente pase a etapa de ser resuelto. El Acta levantada por la Secretaría Técnica en la que se deje constancia de que el expediente pasa a etapa de ser resuelto surtirá efectos a partir del sexto día hábil de notificada. Los escritos presentados con anterioridad a dicha fecha serán evaluados por la autoridad, salvo que sean escritos reiterando los argumentos de hecho o de derecho que hayan sido expuestos anteriormente.

Quedan exceptuados de lo dispuesto en el párrafo anterior aquellos escritos que contengan desistimientos, conciliaciones o transacciones extrajudiciales.

Renuncia a la presentación:

Durante cualquiera de las etapas del procedimiento, los representantes de las partes pueden renunciar a dicha representación debiendo cumplir para tal efecto con lo establecido en el Código Civil. La variación del representante no afecta la vigencia del último domicilio procedimental fijado en el expediente, en tanto no sea variado expresamente.

Presentación de solicitudes a la Sala Especializada en Propiedad Intelectual:

Toda solicitud de exhibición de documentos, de diligencia de inspección o que las partes presenten debe ser debidamente sustentada, caso contrario será denegada de pleno derecho.

Plazos para citar a las partes:

La fecha de cualquier tipo de audiencia debe ser notificada a las partes con un mínimo de cinco (05) días hábiles y puede ser reprogramada por solicitud de parte mediante una solicitud justificada con al menos tres (03) días hábiles previos a su realización.

Desistimiento:

Se puede desistir del procedimiento o de alguna pretensión antes de que la resolución final de la segunda instancia administrativa sea notificada. Esto genera que las resoluciones que se hayan emitido durante el procedimiento queden sin efecto.

Contenido de la Resolución:

La Autoridad tiene la facultad de declarar la nulidad de la resolución impugnada en caso de encontrarse incursa en alguna causalidad de nulidad, sin ser necesario que ella haya sido invocada por las partes. 

Domicilio procedimental:

El domicilio procedimental fijado por las partes se presume vigente, sin admitir prueba en contrario, en tanto no se comunique su cambio por escrito. Si quien recibe la notificación presenta un escrito devolviendo la notificación, éste se tendrá por no presentado.

Recurso de Reconsideración:

El recurso de reconsideración que, además de la nueva prueba, tenga como sustento cuestiones de puro derecho o distinta interpretación de las pruebas presentadas, será calificado como un recurso de apelación.

· Aplicación de la ley: Las reglas de competencia establecidas en el artículo 4 de la Ley, modificado por el Decreto Legislativo N° 1309, son aplicables a los recursos de apelación que se hayan interpuesto luego de la entrada en vigencia del Decreto Legislativo N° 1309 (31 de diciembre de 2016). Así, la Dirección de Signos Distintivos, a través de su Comisión, conocerá y resolverá en segunda y última instancia los recursos de apelación recaídos en procedimientos no contenciosos (registro, renovación, modificación, entre otros).

La Sala Especializada en Propiedad Intelectual del Tribunal del INDECOPI sólo conocerá y resolverá en segunda y última instancia los recursos de apelación que versen sobre procedimientos contenciosos.

· Aplicación de las Reglas Procedimentales: Lo dispuesto en el título de reglas procedimentales es aplicable, en lo que corresponda, a los procedimientos seguidos ante las Direcciones de Propiedad Industrial y las Comisiones que las integran.

· Vigencia: El Reglamento se encontrará vigente desde el día siguiente de su publicación.

La iniciativa del poder ejecutivo, gratamente seguida por el Indecopi, implica grandes avances y mejoras para el usuario, toda vez que se simplifican procedimientos y se racionalizan los requisitos que éstos deben presentar. Sin perjuicio de ello, me gustaría recalcar que, respecto a la modificación referida a la fecha de solicitud de registro, al no asignársele un número de presentación cuando exista una observación, deja abierto a interpretación en qué fecha se entenderá presentada la solicitud, ya que no se señala expresamente. En ese sentido, si la fecha de presentación será la de la subsanación, habría que tener mucho cuidado con solicitudes que ingresen con posterioridad a la solicitud observada y aún no subsanada; ya que la fecha de presentación podría ser anterior y la nueva solicitud gozaría de prioridad.

Litigios de infracción y nulidad de patentes en el Perú: Un caso sui generis de bifurcación

Technical Secretary at the Commission of Inventions and New Technologies
INDECOPI

La Comunidad Andina es el resultado de la búsqueda de un desarrollo equitativo y armonioso por parte de Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador y Perú, que firmaron el Acuerdo de Cartagena el 26 de mayo de 1969, estableciendo el marco de creación de una comunidad subregional conocida inicialmente como el Pacto Andino y que posteriormente fue renombrada como Comunidad Andina. Con el fin de conseguir el objetivo en mención, la Comunidad Andina promueve un proceso continuo de integración, así como de cooperación económica y social. En particular, este proceso de integración involucra la necesidad de tener reglas comunes en relación a aspectos que fomenten la unificación del mercado, tales como los derechos de propiedad industrial.

El sistema de propiedad industrial de la Comunidad Andina es establecido por la Decisión 486, la cual busca garantizar un escrutinio riguroso del cumplimiento de los requisitos requeridos para el otorgamiento de una patente. Así, la Comunidad Andina no solo prevé la realización obligatoria de un examen sustantivo por parte de las autoridades nacionales de patentes de sus Países Miembros, sino que también incluye mecanismos que permiten a terceros probar que una invención no cumple con los requisitos de ley, procurando la denegatoria de la patente (a través de una oposición anterior al registro) o, si la patente ya ha sido concedida, su revocación (a través de un pedido de nulidad).

De otro lado, la exclusividad que es conferida por la patente puede ser resguardada por medio del derecho del que gozan sus titulares para interponer denuncias por infracción ante las autoridades competentes. Debe señalarse que la legislación andina no establece quiénes habrán de ser estas autoridades competentes, por lo que los Países Miembros son libres de asignar tal competencia a órganos judiciales o administrativos.

En el caso particular de Perú, tanto los casos de nulidad e infracción pueden ser revisados a nivel administrativo, lo que ciertamente otorga una apreciable celeridad a la solución de estas disputas (la que regularmente no tomará más de 360 días útiles, incluyendo tanto primera como segunda instancia). Si bien el sistema judicial constituye una alternativa desde el año 2009, se conoce que ordinariamente los procesos que son vistos ante las cortes toman en promedio cuatro años, considerando el tiempo total que toman la primera y segunda instancia.

Más aún, los casos de nulidad e infracción administrativas son vistos por la Oficina de Patentes peruana (Dirección de Invenciones y Nuevas Tecnologías, un órgano perteneciente al Instituto Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia y la Protección de la Propiedad Intelectual – INDECOPI), lo cual dota a estos casos de un alto grado de tecnicidad, lo cual es muy necesitado en las decisiones correspondientes.

Sin embargo, el sistema administrativo referido tiene ciertas limitaciones, dado que ambos procedimientos pueden ser seguidos de manera separada. Así pues, es imposible interponer una defensa de nulidad dentro del procedimiento de infracción, por lo que, si el denunciado considera que la patente en la que se basa la denuncia no cumple con uno o más requisitos legales, únicamente podrá presentar en pedido de nulidad independiente. Tal como se puede ver, éste es un caso sui generis de bifurcación, en donde es la misma autoridad la que decidirá ambos casos.

Considerando que es muy frecuente que un caso de infracción sea procesado antes que el inicio de la acción de nulidad respectiva, es teóricamente válido decir que una decisión que determine la nulidad de la patente podría resultar un acto tardío frente a la decisión anticipada que establezca la comisión de una infracción si es que ésta ya ha sido totalmente ejecutada. Al respecto, debe hacerse hincapié en que, de acuerdo a la legislación peruana, el efecto retroactivo de la invalidación de una patente no afecta aquellas decisiones en casos de infracción que hayan quedado firmes antes de dicha invalidación.

No obstante, la Oficina de Patentes peruana ha encontrado cierto modo de mitigar el problema antes referido. Así, cuando un caso de nulidad es presentado no mucho después del inicio de un procedimiento de infracción, la Oficina procura emitir las decisiones correspondientes a ambos casos en la misma fecha, de manera que, si el caso de nulidad es exitoso, se emite a continuación una decisión que determina la improcedencia de la acción de infracción. Esta medida busca la emisión de decisiones no contradictorias y solo es posible porque es la misma administración la que decide ambos casos.

A pesar de la medida adoptada por la Oficina de Patentes peruana, es todavía probable que, debido a razones muy particulares, esta solución de facto no funcione en todos los casos. En este sentido, sería muy positivo que el sistema andino sea modificado de manera tal que se incluya un instrumento que permita a los denunciados por infracción interponer una defensa de invalidación dentro del procedimiento de infracción. Esta solución de jure permitiría a la administración peruana contar con un mecanismo que asegure la emisión de decisiones coherentes, lo que, sumado a la celeridad y alto grado de tecnicidad reconocidos, dotaría de gran fuerza a su sistema de propiedad industrial.

Time: a competitiveness factor on patented innovation

Vicente Zafrilla Diaz-Marta
Intellectual Property expert at the Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk

Why should some Latin American IPOs improve their patent granting procedure?

According to OECD´s Oslo Manual innovation is defined as “the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organisational method in business practices, workplace organisation or external relations”.

Therefore a country´s ability to innovate does not exclusively rely on how much research is developed in a country but on how much of this research reaches the market, directly or indirectly.

Despite a certain degree of debate concerning patents as boosters of innovation, it is true that there is a relevant percentage of innovation that reaches the market by means of patents.

Delays in registration are traditionally perceived as barriers for the entrance of foreign innovators and companies. However, this is only a partial view, since such deficiencies also entail a negative impact on their national innovation and entrepreneurship environment.

Effect on the Industrial Application analysis: the priority period

Since Paris Convention patent applicants in any of the member countries of the convention, enjoy a 12-month priority period to file their patent in any other member countries, while keeping its first application date as the priority date.

In terms of market entrance, 12 months is a very short period of time to assess whether the market accepts a product or not, especially if it is an innovative one. Therefore, only those companies that are very sure of the success of the product and/or have the means to predict such a success will invest their resources in seeking patent protection.

In such a scenario, only few SMEs and inventors would decide to invest their time and money to protect their inventions abroad and/or, once decided, would limit the number of international filings.

Fortunately, the Patent Cooperation Treaty extends the priority period. Once the PCT filing fee has been paid (around €1200) applicants can decide in which countries they want to protect their patent within approximately 30 months (depending on the country). Under this timeframe, even SMEs can assess if they want to enter certain countries.

Therefore, Latin American countries that are not members of the PCT (Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) are not only discouraging foreign IP applicants to protect their inventions, but also limiting the access of their own nationals’ patents to international protection.

This barrier has a stronger deterrent effect for foreign SMEs and inventors rather than big companies, which file their applications regardless of there being a PCT or not.

Effect on Application: Search and Examination Report

All those IP offices that are able to provide the Search and Examination Report within a short period of time are giving their applicants a competitive advantage.

If the IP office is able to issue the Preliminary Search Report and/or the Examination Report in a short timeframe, the IP applicants will be able to save money by:

  • Withdrawing the application and/or not filing the PCT if the patent is not new or inventive or;
  • Limiting or erasing claims that lack novelty or inventiveness to prevent facing delays related to other IPOs’ objections.

Thus, Latin American IPR Offices that cannot issue the PSR and/or the ER in twelve months from the priority/filing date are forcing their nationals to face the International Phase of the PCT or the filing in third countries without information concerning the strength of their patents or at least an overview of the expectations of succeeding in the granting of the patent; this is a scenario that may lead to losing all the amounts invested in the application, translations and any other administrative costs.

In recent years some Latin American IP Offices seemed to notice this negative impact and have started to take measures to improve their performance at internal level; by improving their internal practices, and thanks to international cooperation both at interregional level (e.g. the PPH agreements signed with EPO, Spanish IP Office and USPTO) and at intraregional level, with tools like the Prosur PPH or CADOPAT. 

Effect on Exploitation and Enforcement: Granting

Delays in granting the patent also have direct consequences in the use and defence of the patent. Despite the “standard” 20-year term of a patent, a patent’s lifecycle in certain sectors, such as smartphones, tends to be shorter. In some cases, a patent granted five or six years from the filing date have no or very reduced economic interest.

In addition, and generally speaking, pending patent right holders benefit from very little or any rights concerning enforcement until the patent is granted. Such a circumstance prevents them from bringing actions against infringers, which does not only harm their interests, but also their licensees’, including local companies.

Furthermore, long granting periods also harm competitors. A pending patent operates as a “warning” advice for competitors, who are very likely to avoid incurring in acts that may be prohibited by the patent owner once the patent is granted. Hence, a patent office that incurs in delays in rejecting a null patent creates uncertainty to its nationals about whether or not they are able to use the invention.

For instance, in the case were the same patent is rejected by National IP Offices, if country A rejected it in year 2 from filing date and country B rejected it in year 5, country A competitors would enjoy three additional years when they can freely use and exploit the invention in the country, whereas country B competitors will be subject to uncertainty until the patent is rejected.

To conclude, time is a key factor for the patent system. Although inefficiencies in patent registration procedures may harm foreign companies and innovators’ interests, the harm caused to its own national innovation system is even worse. Moreover, very long and formal procedures lead to a negative perception over the patent system in general, and discourage national innovators from protecting their inventions both nationally and abroad, which directly affects the country´s ability to compete in a knowledge-based economy.

Get your patent grant quicker with the Pacific Alliance and PROSUR PPH

Rebeca Nieto
IP Expert at Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk

Over the past few years, Intellectual Property Offices around the world have been busy preparing and negotiating Patent Prosecution Highways (PPH) agreements.

Better known by its abbreviation, the PPH is a system of bilateral and multilateral agreements particularly aimed at reducing the costs and time of patent examinations among applicants and participating patent offices. For doing so, the system enables an applicant with allowable/ granted claims in a patent application of an Office of Earlier Examination (OEE) to obtain an accelerated process examination of sufficiently corresponding claims in applications filed (but not yet examined) in other offices -Office of Later Examination (OLE)-.

It must, however, be noted that under PPH the OLE agrees to expedite the examination process by using the data and information provided by the OEE; but following the territoriality principle of patents, it reserves the right to grant or deny the patent.

In Latin America, two regional key networks have been created, namely, Pacific Alliance and PROSUR.

On July 1st, 2016 the PPH Pilot Program of the Pacific Alliance, made up of Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Peru, came into force. Some months later, on September 15th, the PPH Pilot Program of PROSUR, formed by Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, came into force. Nonetheless, Brazil adherence to the PPH was on December 19th, 2016, while the final entry into force of Ecuador still  awaits the internal approval of its Government.

These Pilot Programs are expected to last 3 years, and renewable for an additional one. As we will see below, their implementation is carried out according to the guides prepared by the participating Industrial Property Offices, which establish the requirements, conditions and procedures to participate in the PPH Pilot Program.

For the purpose of giving certain flexibilities to the applicants, both networks decided to follow the “Mottainai” and the “PCT- PPH” modalities.

According to the PPH MOTTAINAI modality, an applicant can request to expedite its patent examination process at OLE using the results of the OEE, regardless of the office in which the first deposit occurs, provided that the OEE and OLE have signed a PPH MOTTAINAI agreement. By eliminating the directional requirement of the original PPH model, this alternative relaxes the requirements related to the order in which the applications were filed and the priority which they claimed.

Regarding the PCT- PPH, the OLE could utilize the positive results obtained in the PCT international phase to request accelerated processing in the national phase. In particular, in this modality OLE´s patent examiners can use the following work products:

  • the written opinion of the International Searching Authority (ISA),
  • the written opinion of the International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA), or
  • the international preliminary examination report issued within the framework of the PCT, subject to certain conditions.

In this region, WIPO has designated INPI (Brazil) and INAPI (Chile) as ISA/IPEA offices. According to this, the country members of the Pacific Alliance and PROSUR may benefit from the international PCT work elaborated by those offices.

To get a closer look at the system, let’s now see how the Pacific Alliance PPH system has worked for the Mexican inventor Sergio Fernando Grijalva, who was the first applicant within the PPH of the Pacific Alliance in filing and obtaining a patent granted.

His application was filed on March 3rd, 2016 in the National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI). Once the PPH was requested, it was necessary to check if the application met the requirements set in the INAPI- IMPI’s guide to participate, which are:

  • The Chilean and the Mexican application must be equivalent, which means that they must have the same initial date, either the same priority date or the same filing date.
  • The corresponding application must have been examined substantively and have one or more claims considered by IMPI as patentable/ allowable.
  • All claims submitted for INAPI’S examination -as originally filed or as modified- must sufficiently correspond to one or more of the claims found patentable/ allowable by IMPI.
  • The application filed before INAPI shall has been published in the Official Gazette.
  • The substantive examination of the application of INAPI has not yet begun. In other words, the PPH must be requested before the examiner is appointed.

In the present case, the Mexican applicant was required to modify his application before INAPI as to make its claims sufficiently corresponding to the ones granted by IMPI. Thanks to this correction, the research and examination results done by IMPI could be used during INAPI´s patent prosecution.

As result of the prosecution of this patent by the PPH, the substantive examination process was executed in less than 3 months, which contributed to grant the patent in less than 12 months, rather than the 36 months that non-contentious patent application may take.

As we have seen, the existing PPH networks in Latin America can contribute effectively to speed up the substantive examination process of the participating offices, by avoiding the repetition of unnecessary administrative actions, while at the same time reduce related institutional and applicants’ costs. Moreover, and not previously mentioned, using these services do not, as a general rule, require additional fees.

For all of the reasons above mentioned, companies and inventors are encouraged to benefit from the existing PPH schemes. As for this purpose, if you are seeking patent protection internationally, you are highly recommended to verify the PPH agreements of those countries you are planning to expand your patent protection, as well as check out the modalities they adopted (i.e. “Mottainai” and “PCT- PPH”), as they can provide you an additional chance to successfully accomplish your patent registration in Latin America.

Intellectual Property for SMEs: 6 common errors

Having their own business is a yearning for many employees tired of a working life that does not fill anything else than their bank account. They endure frustrations and abuses for a not always decent salary, and feed their dream with the massive DIY-tools that the Internet provides.

More than a few are eventually convinced by the siren calls of tempting opportunities offered by the digital world to exploit an idea in a profitable way with no (or less) tangible means and leap into the void without a second thought.

In order to prevent your savings, hair and other valuable resources to be wiped out by a temporary insanity, we are listing some of the most common Intellectual Property (IP) – related mistakes Start-Ups make too often and that you must avoid if you want to succeed.

1. Poor knowledge of the sector

Working at Disneyland is not the same as visiting it. Likewise, being a (more or less specialized) consumer does not give you a complete picture of the sector. It’s key to know the internal mechanisms.

Given that experience is the best teacher, during the initial stages you’d overcome this deficiency with a deeper prior analysis and better planning.

However, many start-ups embrace adventure without being aware of the frequency or speed of technological developments in the sector, where to find new opportunities for growth or licensed-technology, or what patents are relevant to their products.

In other words, they do not know what Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are needed to operate and its availability.

In regard to the first, sectorial guides (i.e. Machinery and IP in Mercosur and Chile) may help you to identify the relevant IPR to your case and understand why and when should them be protected (i.e. a graphic designer would need to know more about copyrights and trademarks, and pay less or no attention to patents).

In regard to the second, “Out of sight, out of mind” is not a good IP policy, since not knowing the law does not allow you not to obey it. Other’s IPR infringement may take place though you did not want to. You’d better check the trademarks, patents or copyrights owned by your competitors to avoid it.

Thanks to that, you’d not only escape a costly legal proceeding, but you’d have a deeper knowledge on how innovative you are and be able to adapt your commercial strategy.

Performing a prior search is hence indispensable. Unfortunately, you cannot always access comprehensive, reliable, free-of-charge databases that can be easily handled by the average user.

The solution calls for expert advice.

2. Fail to identify IPR and deficient valuation

The idea that inspires a different business’ birth tends to be unique to the father’s eyes.

Nonetheless, just a few know exactly what part can be protected (i.e. technical feature, aesthetical aspect, name, information itself, etc.) and how is it given material form. No, the answer is not always “patent”.

You can also find utility models, designs, trademarks, trade secrets or copyrights, among others. Generally speaking, commercialization of a new product involves many IPR simultaneously. For example, the technology used by Goretex (registered trademark) was patented and the shoes appearing on the catalogues and brochures (protected by copyright) have been previously registered as designs.

Though, if you think that IP is only for technology-based or big companies, you are wrong. Any company has some potential (or current) IPR.

In fact, all companies daily work with intangibles that could be protected as IPR –and, thus, be exploited-, but have no clue about it.

Your company or product name can be registered as a trademark and reach an incredible value. If you don’t believe me, you’d better check Forbes’ rank of the 10 most valuable trademarks.

If you are not aware of what you have in your hands, you can hardly assess its value properly and protect it accordingly. This error can cost you dear if we bear in mind that for most Start-Ups, IPR often represent the most important asset of the company.

3. Bad timing

Sadly, IP protection is way too common done as an after-thought or be left for a later stage.

Thus, many entrepreneurs figure out that the innovative product on which the business project is based cannot be patented anymore, either because:

  • Since they began to develop it until they finally were ready to launch it, it has been too long and in the meantime other company applied for similar patents (first-to-file wins, remember?); or
  • They disclosed it (via online or at a trade fair) and it is not new anymore. Many Latin-American countries do provide a grace period for patents, but you need to know which and its requirements.

Those of them who’d rather release the product and protect it depending on its success can be committing IP offenses unknowingly. At best, the product was really innovative and they could face any of the mentioned scenarios.

The same situation may be seen as respect to the trademark. Before naming your company or product, be sure that it is available in your countries of interest (think internationally!). Otherwise, you’d have to choose a new name or be forced to negotiate with the right holder (i.e. the “iphone” trademark dispute between Gradiente and Apple that took place in Brazil was a good example).

Usually, the first to apply for its registration gets the exclusive right (first-to-file principle). But some Latin-American countries have a different regulation. Hence, it is recommended to be assisted by specialized professionals from the beginning and have a case-by-case approach.

On the other hand, there are some opportunities that apparently cannot be missed. However, a trade fair or a meeting with a promising client can be a double-edge sword. You’d better calm down and perform a good search and design -supported by an IP expert preferably- involving all the relevant parts (e.g. designers and marketing team).

4. Ownership: absence of clarity and awareness

Creative processes tend to be convulsed and it’s hard to distinguish who created what and in which proportion (particularly, when ideas arise from brain storming or daily work).

Moreover, when you deal with external providers or a team, many of them do not know who is the real owner of the work. The assignment rules are usually contained in the IP regulation and the employment or project contract. This is why you must pay attention to its content and try to clarify rights and obligations of each part and adapt them to your needs before your start working.

In this regard, many disputes arise when the employee thinks that everything he/she creates belongs to him/her (while it tends to be the other way around).

For this purpose, a well-drafted contract is crucial. Be as much specific as possible and try to think on the most -and less, but harmful- likely scenarios and include a clause for that.

Start-Ups rarely avoid application of knowledge gained from the company they previously worked for or achieved the final result without using its means (although it was during their leisure time).

This is of central importance when you are looking for funding or partnership (ascertaining the correct IPR assignment is one of the key points of any due diligence conducted by investors to give the green light) or when license agreements are signed.

At internal level, it is equally important that the rest of the company members know the scope of the IPR they work with (i.e. what countries are covered, can it be modified for an online campaign, is there a limit to the number of licenses, what happens with any improvement on it). For-profit use of open source technology or under for personal use only license; inclusion of copyright-protected works without permission in catalogues or social networks; or utilization of patented technology without realizing it, are some of the most common errors and can be prevented with an active IP awareness policy by trainings like those provided by the Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk.

5. Lack of (or improvised) protection strategy

The absence of a clear short/medium term IP strategy is a serious handicap to the business project’s success –or event survival-. It’s impossible to identify the needed tools to achieve the objectives if they are not well defined.

Moreover, many entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of own and other’s IPR or overrate the power of a registered IPR (patents to not enforce themselves automatically: you have to negotiate with infringers or start legal actions). Additionally, some businessmen forget that IPR also entail certain obligations (i.e. trademarks’ obligation use was set to avoid defensive registrations in many Latin-American countries).

As a result, they find themselves:

  • with weak IPR to save money in legal assistance
  • with IPR that they don’t use; or
  • forced to request lawyer’s support to solve a non-registration related problem

Notwithstanding, the vast majority of the mentioned mistakes so far can be prevented with correct planning.

Or, to put in other way, you have to invest in IP and avoid relying upon improvisation.

Do not forget that the IP strategy must be aligned with the business strategy (and not vice versa). Short, medium and long term must be taken into account, too; and plans must be regularly updated and suited to change.

6. Who needs a lawyer?

You can find many infinite templates, examples and tutorials on how to elaborate your own agreements across the Internet. As a matter of fact, it is really tempting to take four of them and adapt them to your case –at high risk of copy-paste abuse-.

The so termed Frankenstein effect is one of the most frequent errors, given the high cost of legal assistance and low awareness of the importance of a well-drafted contract (in particular when no problem arose).

It must be however noted that IP is a very complex matter, that varies a lot from country to country, and that an in-house lawyer (if the company has one) -that already deals with tax or sales legal issues- can hardly ensure a high level of efficiency.

Although most of the entrepreneurs are used to do it all by themselves, they must know their limits, be wise and delegate to experts (when needed).

Do not forget that if you trust a lawyer from the beginning, you can save a lot of money (fixing the mess created can be two or three times more expensive).

Indeed, the Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk was created in response to all those EU SMEs that want (and must) to know more about IP and how to use it as a profitable business tool, in particular when they operate in Latin America –or are intending to do it-.

Moreover, some of the mentioned trainings (and much more) are explained in depth in the training sessions they organize (i.e. Start-Ups in Latin America: Most Common IP errors).

Nonetheless, when the problem you have is beyond your knowledge –gained thanks to the E-learning documents and trainings offered by the Helpdesk-, you could always use the Helpline. All any of its services, it is free-of-charge and totally confidential.

Furthermore, it is available in 5 different languages (English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese) and the experts provide first-line assistance within 3 working days.

For further information, you can check their website www.latinamerica-ipr-helpdesk.eu.

Origin Mark: A tool which aggregates value to unique Chilean products

Maximiliano Santa Cruz Scantlebury
National Director of the National Institute of Industrial Property – INAPI

In early September of 2015, the President of Chile Michelle Bachelet officially presented the new image of Origin Mark, the result of a collaborative work between the National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI) and Fundación Imagen de Chile. Three months later, the Origin Mark acknowledged the Tomato from Limache. The new face on this successful program is not a simple whim. It responds to a strongly belief to position the program, recognizing our traditions and customs, as well as entrepreneurs, farmers and artisans.

In the first place, the Origin Mark pursues consumers on a clear manner to easily notice the products recognized for being unique, having a certain quality and enjoying a high local ties. Every day customer assigns a greater value to product origin and the making method they are consuming. Thanks to the linkage provides by the Origin Mark is easier to foreground in the market those products that enhance local work.

During the last couple of years it is not a coincides that Chilean food restaurants and large supermarket chains have decided to offer local product with added value; in the past those were very difficult to find, such as Chiloe Potatoes or Azapa Olives. There is a global tendency to set the eyes in similar local products. There are many blue cheeses; however to the experts there is only one Gorgonzola (Italy), just one Roquefort (France) and one Stilton (England). Nowadays, in Chile everyone acknowledge the Lemon from Pica (a small village in the north of Chile) as unique and customers are willing to pay a premium for it instead of the generic lemon.

On the other hand, the producer, thanks to our program, takes a favorable position in the market, especially when the offer is the result of an associated process. For example: the Salt from Cáhuil, Boyeruca and Lo Valdivia, which before to receive their Origin Denomination (O.D.) was selling in bulk at the cost price; today they are in the supermarkets, gourmet stores and recently made their first exportation to Spain.

Mainly when a product has the Origin Denomination or Geographical Indication (G.I.) -both under the Origin Mark program-, legal protection from unfair competition prevails. Also enables rightful owners to prevent third parties to misrepresent their products as coming from the geographical area covered by such types of industrial property. In other words, avoids the “pig in a poke”.

Definitively, the country provides a strong signal by this program, implicitly expressing their commitment to preserve their traditions. Thus, leads to a strong impetus to entrepreneurship and productive development, especially among local communities.

Therefore, the efforts have not only focused in guiding the new applicants during the process, but also strategies has been designed to offer better visibility to protect products, through G.I., O.D., Collective Trademark or Certificated Trademark. This aims to support our producers to take place in trade fair and show their products at the highest level, to later be used by chefs and experts around the globe.

Today at the entry of small Chilean villages of La Ligua and Pomaire, there are sideboards notifying drivers entering a zone with Origin Marks products. The same will happen in every place associated to the Origin Mark. Hence it has begun to lay the foundations of new tourist routes, from the recognition by INAPI and our program. Origin Mark definitively leaves its footprint.

Nuestro interés por patentar en el extranjero

Maximiliano Santa Cruz Scantlebury
National Director of the National Institute of Industrial Property – INAPI

Han pasado poco más de dos años desde que el Instituto Nacional de Propiedad Industrial, INAPI, empezara a operar como Administración encargada de búsqueda y examen preliminar internacional (ISA/IPEA) del Tratado de Cooperación en materia de Patentes (PCT), tanto para los solicitantes chilenos como para aquellos pertenecientes a los países de Latinoamérica y el Caribe, miembros de PCT.

El sistema PCT es la columna vertebral del registro de patentes internacionales. Es el Tratado más importante en materia de tramitación de patentes. Chile ingresó a este Tratado en 2009, y actualmente 148 países son miembros, y de ésos solamente 21 son ISA/IPEA (Autoridades de búsqueda y examen preliminar internacional), una categoría que habilita a emitir una opinión que puede ser utilizada por las oficinas de patentes de los restantes países miembros del tratado. Una de esas 21 oficinas es el INAPI, lo que la hace la segunda en la región en conjunto con la oficina de Brasil y la segunda en tener como idioma de trabajo el español, junto a la oficina Española.

Durante el primer año que INAPI ha funcionado como ISA/IPEA, desde el 22 de octubre de 2014 a diciembre de 2015, se presentaron 169 solicitudes internacionales PCT que designaron a INAPI como ISA, de las cuales 123 fueron chilenas y el resto de países latinoamericanos, quienes eligieron y confiaron en INAPI para realizar búsquedas internacionales.

Al respecto, debo destacar que de las solicitudes que nos han designaron como ISA/IPEA en ese periodo, 44 corresponden a universidades chilenas (más 5 extranjeras). Ese número es muy alto, y reafirma las cifras que se tuvieron durante ese período como Oficina Receptora, en donde 22 solicitudes de un total de 90 que se recibieron (equivalente a un 24,4%) fueron de universidades nacionales. Estos números superan claramente en forma porcentual las cifras globales respecto del patentamiento de universidades en PCT y, por otra parte, confirma el acierto de INAPI de fijar tasas diferenciadas y de menor valor para las casas de estudios superiores, como una manera de facilitar y promover la acción de las universidades en la innovación. Ello queda demostrado con las solicitudes presentadas por universidades con menos experiencia en el patentamiento de sus innovaciones, como la Universidad de Talca, la Universidad Andrés Bello y la Universidad del Biobío, las que se unen a otras ya más consolidadas como la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, la Universidad de Concepción y la Universidad de Santiago.

Las universidades son la fuente primaria de la mayoría de las innovaciones tecnológicas y son el puente perfecto para establecer un intercambio de doble vía entre la investigación por un lado y los negocios y la comercialización por el otro. En Chile las universidades están haciendo un buen esfuerzo en patentar y que deberían seguir haciendo y promoviendo.

La generación de nuevo conocimiento a través de la actividad científica de las universidades es un instrumento fundamental para llegar al desarrollo económico, social y cultural. Chile posee una tradición científica que lo sitúa en posiciones de vanguardia en términos de productividad a nivel latinoamericano y eso es lo que reflejan estas cifras.

Quiero decir que en INAPI estamos muy satisfechos con el número de solicitudes que nos han designado durante dicho período como ISA/IPEA de PCT, ya que ello da cuenta de la alta confianza que despierta INAPI en la comunidad de la Propiedad Industrial tanto chilena como de la región y a la vez nos genera una enorme responsabilidad con aquellos solicitantes que confiaron en nosotros para prestarles un servicio de búsqueda de calidad y eficiente.

Future of Globalization: No Time to Waste

Juan Antonio Enciso
Director, MBA in Global Business & Strategy, EGADE Business School, Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey

On April 20, in a session at the Global Network for Advanced Management Fifth Anniversary Symposium, a panel of experts, including former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, will lead a discussion of the future of globalization and the implications for business and management education. Watch the discussion live.

Globalization encouraged companies to design and implement their business strategies to take advantage of the competitiveness of each region, configuring and adapting the value of their supply chains in manufacturing, investment, and trade. It’s clear that the global value chains took years to configure, with the flexibility to respond quickly to changes in technology and consumer trends, and regulations and financial cycles, among many other global economic factors.

However, this status seems to be facing challenges, mostly from political events and apparent anti-globalization postures in several countries, including the U.S., the U.K., and many others around the world. The question that arises is how these politically led movements and governments will impact the competitiveness of the current global value configuration? In practice, what does it mean in terms of changes to regulations and benefits of trade and direct-investment agreements, double-taxation treaties, property-rights protection, environmental regulations, and quality standards, among many other economic factors that define the feasibility of both production and consumption?

The impact of the future of globalization or anti-globalization depends on several factors. Some of these factors are the political and economic views of the new generation of leaders and governments on how profound and deep the changes in trade and foreign-direct investment regulations will be, new tax configurations, changes in rules of origin within trade agreements, environmental and logistics regulations, and the non-trade-related issues that governments would probably like to tie to trade, such as immigration, security, border crossings, and democratic processes, among other issues.

How will this new status quo impact a trade-dependent country like Mexico? It depends on how fast governments and companies come to understand their current situation and potential changes, the effectiveness of their capacity to change their global value chains to maintain their competitiveness, and their capacity to negotiate or renegotiate trade regulations with potential partners. We need to remember that changes in a global supply do not come about from one day to the next; it might take years before a company can reconfigure its sourcing, manufacturing process, logistics planning, and so on.

There is no time to waste. The business leaders of multinational and domestic companies must be prepared to understand and evaluate the business environment, to foresee the possible changes, to evaluate challenges and economic impact; they must be able to reconfigure management and organizations, be assertive negotiators with governments as well as with suppliers and customers, and to evaluate and design new processes, products, and customer-service management.

Madrid System governed only by the Madrid Protocol

INPI
Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial

The Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks — the Madrid Protocol — is one of two treaties comprising the Madrid System for international registration of trademarks.

The protocol is a filing treaty and it provides a cost-effective and efficient way to ensure protection for marks in multiple countries through the filing of one application with a single office, in one language, with one set of fees, in one currency.

The Madrid Protocol also simplifies the management of the mark, since a simple, single procedural step serves to record subsequent changes in ownership or in the name or address of the holder with World Intellectual Property Organization’s International Bureau.

With the recent access of Algeria to the Madrid Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, the filing and management of international registrations will be simplified. Signatory to the Madrid Agreement since 1972, the country was the last of the 95 members of the Madrid System which was not party of the Protocol.

This represents a milestone for the Madrid System. From now on all the international registrations of marks will be exclusively governed by the Madrid Protocol.

As explained by WIPO, “An international registration produces the same effects as an application for registration of the mark made in each of the countries designated by the applicant. If protection is not refused by the trademark Office of a designated country within a specified period (12 or 18 months), the protection of the mark is the same as if it had been registered by that Office. The Madrid system simplifies greatly also the subsequent management of the mark, since it is possible to record subsequent changes (such as a change in ownership or a change in the name or address of the holder) or to renew the registration through a simple single procedural step with the International Bureau of WIPO. Further countries may be designated subsequently.”

La marca: una herramienta para la toma de decisiones

Carolina Belmar
Trademark Subdirector at INAPI

Día a día nos vemos rodeados de una abundante oferta de productos y servicios, más o menos similares, entre los cuales debemos decidir cuál de ellos elegimos. En este escenario, las marcas ayudan a diferenciar y distinguir unos de otros.

El origen de las marcas se remonta a la antigüedad, cuando los artesanos reproducían sus firmas o “marcas” en los productos y, si bien en un principio, buscaba indicar propiedad, con el desarrollo del intercambio comercial ha evolucionado para servir como identificador del origen de los productos y servicios que se ofrecen en el mercado. En este sentido, la marca es un elemento que ayuda a ordenar el mercado en tanto busca evitar la confusión en el público consumidor.

En Chile, las marcas comerciales se encuentran reguladas en el Título II de la Ley 19.039 de Propiedad Industrial, que señala que bajo la denominación de marca comercial se comprende “Todo signo que sea susceptible de representación gráfica capaz de distinguir en el mercado productos, servicios o establecimientos industriales o comerciales. Tales signos podrán consistir en palabras, incluidos los nombres de personas, letras, números, elementos figurativos tales como imágenes, gráficos, símbolos, combinaciones de colores, sonidos, así como también, cualquier combinación estos signos”.

Las marcas, por tanto, pueden incluir nombres de fantasía (Kodak para material fotográfico), figuras (piénsese en esa especie de tic que utiliza la marca deportiva Nike), sonidos (recuérdese los acordes en guitarra eléctrica de la compañía Virgin Mobile) o combinaciones de unos u otros.

La marca es percibida como un elemento de identidad en la extensa variedad de productos y servicios ofertados en el mercado, contribuye a la transparencia y favorece la competencia. La marca, además, puede servir para señalar que un determinado producto es depositario de ciertas connotaciones -negativas o positivas, según el cliente-, confrontándose con otras en el proceso de comercialización. Las experiencias de los consumidores, respecto de un determinado producto o servicio, le permitirán en sus decisiones futuras definir rápidamente la elección de uno por sobre otro. En esa decisión, la marca cumple un rol fundamental, facilitando la identificación y finalmente la adquisición.

Un producto que posee ciertas cualidades adquiere a través del tiempo un prestigio definido, que podrá potenciarse y mantenerse gracias a la acción de una marca posicionada. Esta reputación se hace extensiva no sólo al producto sino además a quien lo elabora, e incluso podría llegar a identificar a quienes lo consumen.

Una marca que se mantiene y consolida en el mercado es entonces un agente silencioso y eficaz de la procedencia, a la vez que como signo distintivo comunica cualidades y atributos del bien que se comprará o del servicio que se obtendrá. Por tanto, es capaz de desarrollar una especie de “personalidad exclusiva”, capacitada para prestigiar a fabricantes y consumidores.

Frente a la potencial adquisición de un producto o servicio y ante la multiplicidad de opciones, uno de los primeros elementos que atrae a la mayoría de las personas, es la marca. De allí que, en algunos casos, ha llegado a transformarse en un símbolo que entrega, o definitivamente niega, la calidad y confianza de los consumidores.

De las múltiples marcas que se usan profusamente en el mercado; sin embargo, sólo aquellas que han sido registradas cuentan con el derecho exclusivo de usar ese signo distintivo en el mercado para los productos o servicios en que ha sido registrado.

Mayores informaciones en http://www.inapi.cl