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September 1, 2015 Vol. 70 No. 15 Back to Bulletin Main Page

INTA Leads Landmark Delegation to Cuba, Argentina, Chile and Peru

In August, INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo and External Relations Associate for Latin America, Gabrielle Doyle, headed a delegation to Cuba, Argentina, Chile and Peru to meet with government officials, INTA Members, National IP Associations, Chambers of Commerce and media throughout Latin America. This was INTA’s first official delegation visit to Chile, Cuba and Peru, and the first to Argentina since 2004.

Opening to Cuba
Mr. Sanz de Acedo was joined by ASIPI President Juan Vanrell (Vanrell Propiedad Intelectual Abogados, Uruguay) during INTA’s first ever visit to Havana, Cuba. The delegation had the opportunity to meet with officials from various Cuban authorities, including the Vice Minister of Justice, the Director of International Relations and the Director of Agencies at the Ministry of Justice, as well as the Director General at the Cuban Office of Industrial Property (OCPI), to discuss future collaboration and training opportunities. INTA was pleased by the strong interest and welcoming response from the Cuban authorities. With the reopening of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States, INTA hopes to play an important role in enhancing the IP landscape of the Caribbean nation.

The delegation in Buenos Aires kicked off with an examiner training session with the National Institute of Industrial Property of Argentina (INPI). Featuring members Federico Berger (Ferrer, Reyes, Tellechea, & Bouche, Argentina), Chair of the Latin America Subcommittee of INTA’s Non-Traditional Marks Committee), and fellow subcommittee member Graciela Perez de Inzaurraga (Hausheer Belgrano & Fernández, Argentina), the training focused on discussing three-dimensional marks and distinctiveness with more than 30 examiners, including an introduction by INPI Legal Advisor, Hernan Cabaleiro on the current IP landscape in Argentina.

The delegation next met with INPI President Mario Aramburu and Mr. Cabaleiro. Mr. Aramburu informed the delegation about the various initiatives taking place within INPI. He emphasized projects such as “PROSUR,” a community framework agreement among the countries of South America that intends to facilitate, harmonize and improve industrial property proceedings in the region, as well as “Mi Primer Registro,” an innovation initiative targeted at encouraging first time applicants to register their trademarks and/or patents. INTA strongly supports these programs and looks forward to working with INPI on future trainings and collaboration projects.

Finding ways to control the production and transit of counterfeit goods was a constant theme in the meetings in Argentina. At the meeting with the Argentine Confederation of Medium Companies (Confederacion Argentina de la Mediana Empresa), the delegation sat down with the Secretary of Public and Institutional Relations, Fabian Xavier Castillo, and Secretary General José A. Bereciartúa to discuss the growth of counterfeit production in Argentina—in particular via mini “La Salada” markets, known as “Saladitas.” (La Salada is Buenos Aires’ largest informal market and is famous for hosting counterfeit products). Moreover, the delegation learned about the economic, political and social strength of small and medium-sized enterprises in Argentina, which make up roughly 93 percent of production in the country, and how some of them, including national fashion brand Cardon, are the most widely counterfeited brands in Argentina. The delegation also spoke with the National Customs Office of Argentina (Direccion Nacional de Aduanas) within the Federal Administration of Public Revenue (AFIP). The Director General of the Customs Office, the Deputy Director of Customs and the Legal Advisor to the Director of the AFIP discussed the increasing amount of counterfeit production passing through the borders. That same day, the office had seized 50 tons (two containers) and 115,000 units of counterfeit goods. INTA supports the measures the office is taking to combat the growth of illegal trade, such as the Alert System for Trademark Fraud and the online database that keeps track of seized goods through the AFIP. The delegation then visited the Argentine Association of Intellectual Property Agents (AAAPI) at their new official office location, where INTA will be hosting a roundtable in collaboration with AAAPI on online counterfeiting during the 2015 Interpol Conference in September.

The next stop on the trip was at the Argentine Chamber of Commerce, whose member companies make up 60 percent of the entire country’s GDP, to discuss ways to innovate and bring awareness to the importance of trademarks with new entrepreneurs and business owners in Argentina.

The remainder of the Argentina trip included meetings and discussions regarding the possibility of future collaboration and trainings with the President of the Federal Appellate Chamber and the President of the Association of Magistrates and Judicial Officials.

The delegation also hosted a membership reception with approximately 50 attendees from INTA’s membership base in Argentina. The delegation was very pleased with the turnout and thanks the Association’s delegation members for all their support. 

Following the trip to Buenos Aires, the delegation traveled to the city of Santiago de Chile, where they were generously hosted for two days by the Chilean National Institute of Intellectual Property (INAPI). While in Santiago, the delegation sat down with INAPI to discuss collaboration projects, including future workshops, collaborative pieces for the INTA Bulletin on the Pacific Alliance trade bloc and the Office’s participation at the Leadership Meeting in Panama. INTA commends the current advancements taking place within INAPI, especially through INAPI Proyecto, which will significantly modernize the application and registration process, shifting the procedures to an online platform. Currently, 76 percent of the Office’s applications are completed online; by 2016, they hope to see the remaining 24 percent also online.

INTA also organized two training events during the delegation. The first event included an examiners training on plain packaging, presented by Ariela Agosin (Albagli Zaliasnik, Chile), Chair of the Latin America Legislation and Regulation Subcommittee; one on 3D marks, presented by Paulina Bardon (Claro y Cia, Chile), member of the Latin America Non Traditional Marks Subcommittee; and one on suggestive marks, presented by Virgilio Topasio (Mackenna, Irarrazaval, Cuchacovich & Paz, Chile). Moderated by Juan Puga (PUGA IP, Chile), a member of the Latin America Trademark Office Practices Subcommittee, the training featured attendees from the INAPI Office, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Economy to hear more on plain packaging. Opening remarks were delivered by Mr. Maximiliano Santa Cruz, National Director of INAPI and Mr. Sanz de Acedo.

The second training event planned was the Trademark Administrators Roundtable, organized by Daniela Rojas (Hilborne Hawkin, USA) on best practices for filing trademark applications and what brand owners expect from outside counsel. The speakers included Carolina Belmar, INAPI Deputy Director of Trademarks; Claudia Paredes, Head of the Formal Examinations Department at INAPI; and Ms. Rojas, INTA Trademark Administrators Committee Member. It was moderated by Ms. Agosin and opening remarks were given by Mr. Sanz de Acedo. The roundtable saw an excellent turnout of 30 participants.

Given Chile’s rapidly growing economy and global position, INTA was pleased to have this opportunity to meet with the Chilean Ministry of Health, Ministry of Economy and the Supreme Court to comment on the trademark-related concerns with the recent plain packaging initiatives in Chile. In light of recent developments in Chile, such as the Food Labeling Law and the Plain Packaging Reform, INTA voiced its concern regarding violations of international treaties and domestic laws, as well as the practical implications of plain and highly standardized packaging impinging upon consumer choice. The spread of plain packaging into other countries and other consumer product sectors were also discussed. The delegation met with the Chilean Subsecretary of Health, Jamie Burrows Oyarzun, at the Ministry of Health to discuss plain packaging initiatives in the country. The Subsecretary reemphasized that the Ministry’s top concern is the safety and well-being of its citizens, especially among teenagers, where there are high levels of tobacco consumption. However, the Subsecretary of the Ministry of Economy, Katia Trusic, and the President of the Supreme Court, Sergio Muñoz Gajardo, both voiced the importance of the “Right to Property” within the Chilean Constitution. INTA suggested that alternative education mechanisms be considered to deter tobacco consumption in order to reduce reliance on plain packaging.

As in Buenos Aires, the Membership Reception was a success, with 30 attendees. 

The final stop on the Latin America tour was Lima, Peru. Inaugurating the visit, INTA hosted its first-ever examiners training with the Peruvian National Institute for Defense of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) to over 35 examiners. Speakers included Luis Alonso Garcia (Estudio Echecopar, Peru), Latin America Trademark Office Practices Subcommittee Member and Adriana Barrera (Barlaw-Barrera & Asociados, Peru), Latin America Anticounterfeiting Subcommittee Member, who presented on Absolute and Relative Grounds of Refusal. The training was moderated by Rodrigo Estrada (Rodrigo Estrada IP Advisors, Peru), Latin America Anticounterfeiting Subcommittee member. Mr. Sanz de Acedo gave welcome remarks.

The highlight of the Peru portion of the delegation’s visit was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with INDECOPI. The MOU marked the fourth agreement INTA has established with IP offices in Latin America—evidence of the Association’s increased involvement in the region. This agreement intends to increase cooperation between the two organizations and work to improve trademark protection for Peruvian and international brand owners alike. The agreement was signed by Mr. Sanz de Acedo and Hebert Tassano Velaochaga, President of the INDECOPI Board of the Directors. Also present at the signing were Ray Meloni, Director of Trademarks at INDECOPI; Sergio Chuez, Deputy Director of Trademarks; Giovana Hurtado Magan, Director of the National School of Defense of Competition and IP within INDECOPI; Mr. Garcia, Mr. Rodrigo Estrada (Rodrigo Estrada IP Advisors, Chile); and Ms. Doyle. INTA is eager to develop the action plan underneath the MOU, including the development of training programs and collaborative projects, exchange of information and the organization of future cooperation events on trademark enforcement.

The delegation had the opportunity to meet with the Peruvian Ministry of Production’s Commission to Combat Customs Crimes and Counterfeiting and discuss the current status of counterfeit and illegal trade in Peru. The Commission works in conjunction with the local governments within the Peruvian provinces to limit the amount of contraband that enters through Peru’s international borders. Through their program, “Yo Decido, Yo Respeto” (I Decide, I Respect), they are increasing awareness about the risk of buying counterfeit goods. This program, much like INTA’s Unreal Campaign, targets high school students throughout all 17 provinces of Peru. INTA looks forward to working with the Commission on joint educational IP projects in the future.

The delegation culminated with Justice Ricardo Vinatea Medina from the Supreme Court of Peru. With Mr. Meloni and Mr. Alonso Garcia present, the delegation discussed a variety of collaboration opportunities, including judicial trainings on IP for the judges from the interior courts and from Lima and the possibility to present amicus curiae briefs in front of the Supreme Court.

INTA’s first membership reception in Peru drew approximately 30 associate member attendees. The Delegation was pleased to see so many members make it to the reception.

INTA would like to express its sincere gratitude to its volunteer delegation members, ASIPI President Juan Vanrell, the Offices of INAPI, INPI and INDECOPI for their efforts and contribution to a very successful visit to Latin America. INTA plans to attend ASIPI’s Annual Congress in Cartagena, Colombia in December 2015.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2015 International Trademark Association