Panama City, Panama – November 20, 2015 – Today the International Trademark Association (INTA) and The Judiciary of the Republic of Panama signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Panama City, Panama. INTA President J. Scott Evans and President of The Supreme Court of Justice José Ayú Prado Canals signed the agreement on behalf of their organizations. The MOU sets a foundation for future cooperation between INTA and The Judiciary, and recognizes both the need for robust intellectual property (IP) systems in a rapidly changing and increasingly integrated global economy as well as the central role of Panama in international maritime trade.
Over the past decade, Panama’s economy has experienced remarkable economic growth. During this time, the government maintained an average GDP growth rate of 7.8 percent and reduced poverty levels from 39.9 percent to 26.2 percent. Panama is also the world’s second largest free trade zone (170 multinational companies and over 100 international banks have offices in Panama) and the Panama Canal is one of the most important maritime waterways, connecting South and North America and the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Looking ahead, in 2016, the Panama Canal expansion project will be completed. The existing locks can cater cargo ships carrying up to 5,000 20 foot containers. The expanded locks will cater megaships carrying up to 12,600 containers—or 170,000 tons. This expanded Canal is expected to bolster Panama’s role as a regional business hub and the Canal’s annual revenue is projected to increase from B/.2.649 million in 2014 to B/.6.2 billion by 2025.
Both INTA and Panamanian government appreciate the impact of the Panama Canal expansion on global trade and the global trademark community. Transshipment and transit of goods through free trade zones and free ports contribute significantly to the trafficking of counterfeit goods, and eighty percent of the goods passing through the Canal are goods in transit. This MOU will serve to develop cooperation activities in the field of trademarks and other related areas. INTA and the Judiciary have already begun organizing judicial trainings. Other areas of future cooperation include:
- Development of collaborative projects related to trademarks, dispute settlement, trademark rights enforcement, and other related areas;
- Exchange of information, experiences and educational materials;
- Development of studies; and
- Organization of meetings and conferences.
“Panama plays a critically important role in the global economy and international maritime trade and this will only increase with the expansion of the Panama Canal,” said INTA President J. Scott Evans. “At the same time, Panama’s economy and middle class are growing. INTA looks forward to working with The Judiciary to enhance its effectiveness for brand owners and consumers in Panama and around the world.”
INTA released this micro-documentary video to explain the impact of the Panama Canal expansion on brand owners and consumers around the world.
The International Trademark Association (INTA) is the global association of trademark owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and related intellectual property in order to protect consumers and to promote fair and effective commerce. Members include more than 6,700 trademark owners, professionals and academics from more than 190 countries, who benefit from the Association’s global trademark resources, policy development, education and training, and international network. Founded in 1878, INTA is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Brussels, Shanghai and Washington, D.C., and representatives in Geneva and Mumbai.
About The Judiciary of the Republic of Panama
The Supreme Court, the High Courts and Tribunals are called upon to decide and resolve conflicts independently, quickly and reliably, ensuring respect for the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Panama, protection of citizens' rights and freedoms, peaceful coexistence and defending the core values of democracy.