Global Innovation Index: Latin America highlights

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

WIPO, together with Cornell University and INSEAD, has recently published the 2017 edition of the Global Innovation Index under the title Innovation Feeding the World, with a special focus on innovation in the agri-food sector.

According to the Index, the most innovative country in Latin America is, not surprisingly, Chile (ranked 46th), followed by Costa Rica (53rd), Mexico (58th), Panama (63rd) and Colombia (65th).

Apart from general information concerning innovation ecosystems in each Latin American country, the publication devote two chapters – Chapter 7 and Chapter 10- to some Latin American specificities related to innovation in the agri-food sector. The former deals with “Policies and Institutions Fostering Innovation and Agriculture Technologies in Brazil” including a description of the innovation ecosystem in Brazil- policies and institutions- as well as different proposals to improve it, with a special focus on agri-food production.

Chapter 10, titled “Innovation in the Agri-Food Sector in Latin America and the Caribbean” offers an overview of the evolution of innovation in the Region, including a briefing of the value chain in the sector with the most relevant innovative fields for agri-food sector, as well as an update of the status of biotechnology and Genetic Modified Organisms (GMOs) in most Latin American countries, from both a technological and policy perspective.

Should you need more information with regards how to manage innovation and IPRs in Latin America, please read our FS on IP in the Agri-food sector (I): Geographical Indications and our – soon to be released- FS in bio and nanotechnology.

Stay tuned.

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.