Two Cents on the new Industrial Property Law

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

The National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI) is promoting the substitution of the current Industrial Property number 19.039 by a modern regulation which allows simple, faster and lower cost procedures on trademarks, patents and industrial designs.

The bill seeks to encourage innovation, knowledge transfer and allow consumers to discriminate products and services on a better way. I want to provide two cases, one related to trademarks and another to industrial design. The bill has contemplated the trademark expiration arguing the lack of real and effective use by the owner right or a third party with his consent in the national territory; this rectification pretends to guarantee the indissolubility link between the trademark, the object to be distinguished and the purpose in the market.

With such proposal, INAPI seeks to prevent the blocking on the trademark protection system due to the registry of simple formal rights producing saturation as well; in this way, we avoid the registration of trademarks with no intention to be used in the market and generating blocking for new entrants. The bill forces the registrant to properly use the trademark, with the aim to assure that every register counts with a product or service effectively traded in the market, notwithstanding that might be valid reasons to justify not using it.

In this manner, the owner right will fall into an expiration causal whether has been passed five years from the date of concession and the trademark has not been used in a real and effective way within national territory to distinguish the products or services for which has been granted; or in the case if such using has been uninterruptedly suspended during the same span.

The requirement of using is a demand that almost all countries consider in their trademark legislation. Chile is lagging on this issue and the bill goal is to prevent not using trademarks to impede the introduction of firms willing to use new denomination, either similar or identical, creating a barrier for competitors. In other words, the trademark registration must effectively reflect the reality on the market, because favors free competition and the creation of new businesses.

In the case of industrial design, the current legislation does not favor the national inventors and designers. The industrial design protects the appearances of functional objects, by its form, geometric configuration, and ornamentation or by their combination. Currently the legal proceeding for obtaining the industrial design is performed according to the applicable rules of invention patent; by other meaning, it uses time limit and formalities which are not fitting with his nature. As consequent it has a larger cost and longer processing time, which in many cases exceeds two years, making them a useless tool to foster those kinds of creations in our country. The industrial design is an intangible asset with a short useful life which is easy to copy; therefore a granting procedure as the present does not fit with its nature.

Hence the bill establishes a new procedure with the goal to stimulate the effectiveness on the legal proceeding and by this way adjusts to the needs of national inventors and designers. Having an expedited system for such rights is remarkably important if the aim is supporting entrepreneurs and innovators to protect their creations; therefore these modifications on the new bill are essential to benefit the applicants.

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