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.

Gold Medal for Chile

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

In 1986 the world heard the breaking news on the field of medicine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of the first recombinant vaccine, product developed to fight the Hepatitis B virus, a potentially mortal infection.

The Chilean biochemist Pablo Valenzuela Valdés was behind this historic scientific achievement. He became a referent of the genetic engineering as well as a pioneer on the technology transfer at the University of California, San Francisco.

The invention was patented and then licensed to pharmaceutical firms who were responsible for distributing the vaccine to dozens of countries. The license agreement has become the most prolific in term of economic results for the University of California, San Francisco in almost two decades, allowing funding new discoveries and further technology development.

Later the protection of industrial property on the vaccine, based on research about yeast, produced a number of tests which transformed the blood banks in a safer source.

Dr. Valenzuela´s contribution still gathers praise. On last October 22nd he became the first Chilean scientist to be awarded with the Gold Medal for Inventors, given by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The award was promoted by The National Institute of Industrial Property of Chile (INAPI), due to Valenzuela significant contribution to the creation of new knowledge and its appropriation, which has meant a truly entrepreneurship engine for development.

The award had a special meaning for the patent system, as was given at the first anniversary since INAPI began operations as International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority (ISA/IPEA) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). This new role, reserved only for 21 national agencies in the world, has meant a stimulus for Chilean universities and inventors in order to globalize their inventions and reach bigger markets.

During this year, 11 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, which are PCT members, have designated the Chilean office as the mandated office to search and conduct the preliminary examination on patents.

Thus, the Chilean agency of industrial property provides services beyond their borders as well as Chile paves the way for the proliferation of new inventors who might impact the world with their technological developments as Pablo Valenzuela did almost three decades ago. He is the undisputed winner of the WIPO Gold Medal.

PCT: The backbone of the international patent system

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

It has been over six years from the entry of Chile to one of the most important and successful agreements of intellectual property. The 2nd of June of 2009 our country was incorporated into the 148 member nations of the Patent Cooperation Treatment (known as PCT), managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and which saw the light over 40 years ago, in 1970.

Practically all of our major commercial partners like United States, the European Union, Brazil and China are PCT members. In addition, it can be highlighted that countries with very different economic developments such as Australia, Mexico, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Malaysia and India are members as well. This proves the trust put in this international agreement, which also foster innovation and technology transfer, through the free and efficient access to an enormous database of technology information on patents.

The incorporation of Chile to the PCT has completed a triad of significant events that have strongly impacted on the intellectual property system in our country. Besides the implementation in Chile of the intellectual property agreement from the World Trade Organization´s (WTO), during 2005, as well as the signing of a couple of free trade agreements, remarkably the one with United States, the PCT has closed a cycle of important transformations within our intellectual property system.

The PCT is a strategic tool in two aspects. On one hand, facilitates the patenting of our nationals overseas; as counterpart the foreigners obtain a much more easy access to patent in Chile. On the other hand, expedites the work of industrial property offices and improves the quality on granted patents.

This agreement concentrates a large interest from the Chilean innovators, expressed on the 48 patent applications at INAPI during the very first year of the enactment entry. Such figure is one of the highest at the Latin American level, during the first year of the enactment of this treaty.

Before this agreement, Chileans should make the patent application on every single country where they wanted to have protection, immediately after the first 12 months to its application in Chile; in that form, the invention still was considered a novelty, and if they would intend to use the PCT, Chileans should associate or find administrative loopholes.

Nowadays Chile is part of the PCT and national innovators can simply apply with an only solicitude at the National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI), which will be considered as simultaneously applied in each of the 148 country members of this treaty.

This allows saving costs, because they are not required to make multiple translations on the application, nor undergo to diverse procedures and neither make payments on multiple currencies according to where they would like to protect. Today they can apply in Spanish, in a single procedure to be paid in Chilean pesos.

The PCT is a good example of globalization and internationalization of the intellectual property system. Its virtue resides in the enhancement of the international patenting and the cooperation of the industrial property offices, and at the same time it does it respecting the whole sovereignty of the member countries which can freely determine the patentability conditions and deciding whether an invention is finally patentable.

The PCT is a crucial tool to achieve the goals of the Ministry of Economy in Chile, about strengthening the institutional framework for intellectual and industrial protection, promoting the invention as well as patenting among Chilean scientists and entrepreneurs.

If the WTO intellectual property agreement in 1994, known as TRIPS or ADPIC, was probably the most transcendent milestone of the past century for substantive harmonization, the PCT was the equivalent on the matter of cooperation and infrastructure on the global patent system. So much so that Francis Gurry, current WIPO Director General, has called it the “backbone of the international patent system”.

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.