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August 22
Changing Landscape of Latin America Conference: Co-Chair Video Interview

​Don’t miss INTA’s Changing Landscape of Latin America Conference! Taking place in Cartegena​, Colombia, on October 2–3, 2017, this two-day advanced-level conference focuses on the regulatory restrictions, technological advances, and political uncertainties that underpin doing business in Latin America today for both start-up and established companies. 

What inspired the theme for this conference? What are the three biggest opportunities and challenges for brand owners in Latin America today? What can attendees expect from this conference? Conference Co-Chairs Maria Cecilia Romoleroux (Corral Rosales, Ecuador) and Diana Arredondo (Grupo Televisa, S.A.B., Mexico) answer these questions and more!

Watch the full video interview and register today: http://www.inta.org/2017Cartagena


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​​To watch more INTA videos, please visit our YouTube page​
August 18
Thailand and Indonesia Implement New Customs Regulations: Thailand’s New Customs Act B.E. 2560

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On May 17, 2017, Thailand published its new Customs Act B.E. 2560 (in the country’s Royal Gazette. The new laws will take effect this November, and are the culmination of eight years of negotiations and drafting. 

The new act represents the largest change in customs laws since the first act was introduced in 1926. The new act also addresses weaknesses of the 1926 act, such as those related customs officers’ commissions, proportionality of penalties for offenders, and transparency in the customs process. 

Some of the specific changes introduced in the 2017 customs act include:  

  • Reducing the incentive and reward payments (or “commissions”) that customs officers receive for investigating alleged offenders. While the 1926 Act set commission rates very high, resulting in the involvement of multiple parties, complicating and prolonging the process. Under the new act, commissions will depend upon the type of non-compliance by the alleged offender (smuggling, false declaration, etc.), and are capped at 5 million baht per customs officer per case. 
  • Expanding liability for directors and officers of an alleged offender. For instance, if an offender is a juristic person, and if the offense has occurred because of an order or act of a director, manager, or person responsible for business operations, such a person may face the same criminal penalties as the juristic person. Directors and officers can also be liable for negligently causing a juristic person to commit an offense. 
  • Reducing the penalties for various customs offenses, including smuggling, duty evasion, false document declaration, and provision of false information. 
  • Setting a five-year limit for customs authorities to conduct a post-clearance audit.
  • Setting a three-year limit for customs authorities to evaluate a duty, beginning at the date of submission of an import or export entry clearance form. 
  • Setting a 180-day limit for the Appeal Commission to conclude a matter brought before it, subject to an extension not exceeding 90 days. 
  • Extending the duty refund period (wherein a taxpayer can claim a duty refund) from two to three years.
  • Requiring importers to produce their import license just prior to the taking of goods by customs authorities, as opposed to at the time when the goods enter port.  

For more information on the modernization of the Thailand Customs Act, please click here

Indonesia’s New IPR Customs Regulation

On June 2, 2017, Indonesia enacted its customs IP border protection system, providing a recordal system for trademarks and copyrights. Recordals are renewable, but valid for one year only. Additionally, only right holders with a business entity domiciled in Indonesia may submit applications to the recordal system. Customs has 30 days to approve or reject an application. 

The recordal system detention process for suspected infringing goods is summarized below: 

  • Customs sends a notification of restraint to the right holder; 
  • The right holder must confirm the notification within two days; 
  • The right holder must file a suspension request to the commercial court within four days of their confirmation of the notification. 
  • The suspension request process is summarized below: 
  • The right holder must pay operational costs security to customs in the form of bank or insurance guarantee;
  • The right holder must submit sufficient evidence of IPR ownership and infringement;
  • The right holder must apply for a physical examination of the goods for which suspension is being requested. 
When executing the suspension order, customs may detain the suspected infringing goods for up to ten days from the receipt of the order. At the expiration of the order, the goods may either be (a) destroyed by customs, (b) surrendered to investigators, pursuant to legal action, (c) dealt with in a private settlement, or (d) given to the court bailiff in the event the right holder files an action and or application for security for costs over the suspended goods. 

Implementing the new recordal system will require additional regulations that are currently being drafted by the Ministry of Finance. 

For further details on the new IPR Customs Regulation, please visit the IP Komodo blog here

August 15
Pacific Alliance Adds New “Associate Membership” Status

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In June, 2017, the Pacific Alliance—the Latin American free trade bloc composed of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru—announced a new option for outside states to become Associate Members. 

The Associate Member status is one step above the current Observer Member status, and requires joining countries to commit to a free trade agreement with the Pacific Alliance members. The trade bloc has most recently accepted the countries of Canada, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand as Associate Members. Notably, Costa Rica and Panama are in negotiations to become Full Members.

Becoming an Associate Member requires full negotiations between all members of the Pacific Alliance and the membership-seeking country. Associate Membership status is easier to obtain than is Full Member status, which requires a country to have existing trade deals with at least half of the Pacific Alliance’s full members. This registration process reflects the Pacific Alliance’s desire to expand its membership.

This new member status is in line with the Pacific Alliance’s goal of liberalizing trade. Representatives for the Pacific Alliance have expressed optimism that the member category will lead to new free trade markets. Additionally, the Pacific Alliance has set a goal of having 90% of merchandise trade fall under a free trade agreement by 2030, which would require a dramatic increase in trade deals. It may be likely that the Pacific Alliance will see an increase in Observer Member countries seeking to become Associate Members.

The creation of the new membership category also represents a response to the recent political-economic backlash against globalization, open economies, and free trade, exemplified by events like Brexit and the United States’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty (TPP). Nonetheless, in an effort to continue working toward reducing barriers to trade, the eleven remaining TPP members met with the Pacific Alliance. The meeting presents the possibility of future trade deals between the Pacific Alliance, its Associate Members, and the members of the TPP. The Pacific Alliance also continually seeks to cooperate with MERCOSUR, another regional trade bloc composed of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. 

August 11
Unreal Campaign Visits Chile

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On June 23, 2017, my colleague Virgilio Topasio and I hosted an INTA Unreal Campaign presentation at the Instituto Agrícola Pascual Baburizza, a school situated approximately 50 minutes outside Santiago, in a town called Los Andes. We did two separate presentations for approximately 80 students—juniors and seniors, ranging in age from 16 to 18 years old.

We started the presentation by defining “trademarks” and explaining the importance of trademarks for consumers, companies, and entrepreneurs. We focused on this point, as we believe it was important for the students to grasp the idea of intellectual property and trademarks prior to analyzing counterfeiting.

Once we felt the students generally understood what a trademark is, we continued the presentation with a brief explanation of what the International Trademark Association (INTA) does around the world and the objectives of Unreal Campaign Committee to bring awareness of the problem of counterfeiting to young people. 

I explained the definition of counterfeiting and gave several examples, explaining the negative consequences of counterfeiting and impact that it has had on companies as well as on consumers. Additionally, we had a brain-storming session with the students to find different ways to prevent counterfeiting.

During each session of approximately 2 hours each, the students participated enthusiastically and asked many interesting and challenging questions. They enjoyed the games we engaged in at the end of the presentation, such as the true-or-false guessing game.

At the end of the session, many of the students approached us personally to ask questions and to express their profound interest in counterfeiting and how to prevent it.

Finally, I would like to share a translation of the letter that the headmaster of the school sent us after the presentation:

“I want to express my gratitude for the excellent co-curricular opportunity that we were given today through the talks of the UNREAL program.

It was motivating for me to see young people actively participating in a topic that might have seemed dry at first and yet it turned out to be more significant than we had imagined.

In addition, the contribution of real cases, from the expertise with which Virgilio spoke, was a key factor to catch the interest of the audience. 

Today was a day where both students and adults who attended the activity were apprentices. Where in spite of the intense cold that day, the time became short to address all the questions.

God bless you,

Best regards,” 


Thank you to our 2017 Unreal Campaign sponsors for making these events possible.
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August 08
TMAP—It Never Gets Old!

2017_TMAP_banner_main_300blog080717.jpgI always ask the same question of numerous IP attorneys who attend an INTA Annual Meeting: “Do you work with paralegals?” “Yes, of course, I do,” is the typical answer. So, when I follow up with: “Do they attend the trademark administrators and practitioners meeting offered by INTA—you know, TMAP?” there is often a pause before the attorney says, “I’ve been meaning to look into it.” When I tell them that, in my experience, I have found no educational program offered to trademark paralegals and young practitioners that is as comprehensive as INTA’s TMAP meeting, they are not surprised. Why I am telling you this? As my mother used to say, if you don’t believe in yourself and advocate for yourself, no one else will. 

TMAP is my happy place. Where else can I be exposed to practical tips from my peers; get updates on new trends within the trademark community of paralegals and young practitioners; meet with colleagues and network; and feed my brain knowledge from a group of passionate IP professionals? 

Years ago, I remember submitting a memo asking my supervising attorney for sponsorship to the TMA Conference (as it was called back in the day) and receiving the same memo back with a handwritten note in the upper-right side that read: “this looks similar to last year’s meeting” and not getting my sponsorship approved. I knew it was an excuse on the firm’s part to save money, but I wasn’t prepared (then) to respond or to ask to be reconsidered. That was the first, AND LAST, time that I didn’t get approval for a TMAP meeting. From then on, I made sure that my interest and passion to expand my career and help grow our IP practice would show in every request I made. And after every TMAP meeting, I would return to the office and prepare an email with highlights from the conference. One year, in my “Highlights from the conference” email, I included a picture of myself with Anne Chasser, then Commissioner for Trademarks at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, after she had spoken to us during a luncheon presentation. It made quite an impression.

It should not come as a surprise that I’m still friends with the first people I met during my very first meeting in 2002. I remember having just landed in Arlington, Virginia, and being on the shuttle bus to the hotel, when a passenger asked out loud who was there for the conference. Since most of us were there for the conference, all of us on the bus came to life and began to talk to each other! 

A lot has happened to me since then. I left my position at a law firm and started working as an intellectual property manager in-house at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. There’s a place for INTA in my resume under “continued education,” where I have included all the meetings that I have attended. In my new role, I immediately began to tell my colleagues about INTA, its mission, and all it has to offer to trademark owners and IP professionals, and I continue to attend TMAP and Annual and Leadership Meetings. 

Year after year, INTA does an amazing job in gathering speakers and topics that offer great and useful information for everyone—from the novice to the seasoned paralegal—and reminds us of the relevance and value that our day-to-day work brings to the table. 

TMAP is the meeting to attend to keep on learning, to get new ideas and feedback, and to network! I hope to see you in New Orleans this year!

P.S. I continue to include pictures in my “highlights from the conference” emails. 

The upcoming TMAP Meeting is taking place on September 14-19 in New Orleans, Louisiana (USA). To learn more and register, click here

August 04
41.3 Million Fake Goods Seized by EU Customs in 2016: A Slight 2% Decrease Since 2015

EU_Blog_080317.jpgOn July 20, 2017, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD) released its annual report on customs enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs) at EU borders​

There were 63,000 detentions in 2016 (81,000 in 2015), for a total of 41.3 million articles (43.7 in 2015), representing a value of more than 672 million euros (640 million in 2015). IPR infringement in general, and counterfeiting in particular, remains a wide and important phenomenon even though customs’ performance at tackling it seemed to have improved (the number of intercepted articles rose by 2% compared with 2015).

Among other findings the European Commission reported:

  • An increase in the detention of fake daily-use products with a potential to harm consumers (such as food and beverages, body care articles, medicines, electrical household goods, and toys). They accounted for 34.2% of the total number of detained articles in 2016 (an increase from 25.8% in 2015).
  • Cigarettes made up the largest category (24%) of articles detained, followed closely by toys (17%), foodstuffs (13%), and packaging material (12%). 
  • China remains the highest-ranking country of origin of fake goods (80% of total). Hong Kong (7.76%), Pakistan (1.71%), and Vietnam (1.71%) also stand on the podium, followed by Cambodia (1.5%), Turkey (1.09%), and India (1.08%).
  • Although detentions in postal traffic went down 28%, courier traffic and postal traffic together still accounted for 73% of all detentions.
  • In 82% of the detention procedures started by customs, the goods were destroyed after the owner of the goods and the right holder agreed on destruction. In 8% of the detentions, a court case was started to determine the infringement or as part of criminal proceedings. 
  • Regarding what happened to seized articles, 77% of the articles were destroyed or were subject to proceedings. However, 23% of the articles were released because the right holder did not react to the notification by customs (8%) or the goods were eventually found to be original goods (15%). 
This report is a facts-and-figures document (covering the year 2016) and does not entail any policy or political recommendation. It is mainly aimed at feeding information to customs authorities to ultimately help them better understand their shortcomings and areas of recent improvement with regard to customs enforcement of IPRs.

The report was presented by Pierre Moscovici, EU Commissioner responsible for customs. He stressed: “Fake goods pose a real threat to the health and safety of EU consumers and also undermine legal businesses and state revenues.” He added that “cooperation between law enforcement authorities should be strengthened and risk management systems upgraded to protect the EU from goods infringing on intellectual property rights.” This is an approach equally shared and advocated by INTA (more recently at the July 6 meeting between DG TAXUD and stakeholders, reported in the INTA Bulletin here).

For more information on INTA’s anticounterfeiting activities in Europe, please contact INTA Manager Maysa Razavi at mrazavi@inta.org


August 01
The Unreal Campaign Travels to Aruba!

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On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, Nicole Booi, founder of and attorney at Aanic Legal, presented INTA’s Unreal Campaign to local high school students at the Colegio Arubano in Oranjestad, Aruba. 

The purpose of the presentation was to educate the students on the value of trademarks and IP in general and to expand their awareness of counterfeit goods and the dangers thereof. 

Ms. Booi explained that luxury goods such as purses and bags are not the only goods that are being counterfeited but that other goods such as baby formula, medicines, and auto parts are also being counterfeited. These counterfeit goods are a serious threat to the public’s health and safety. 

The story behind these “fake goods” was also discussed. Not only are there financial links among counterfeiting, organized crime, and terrorism, but also the production and distribution of these fake goods often involves child labor, human trafficking, and poor working conditions.

The students learned a lot, but were upset that the danger of counterfeit products is much greater than they had realized.

At the end of the presentation, students viewed examples of counterfeit and genuine goods, all of which were on loan from the original stores and Customs Aruba.  

Colegio Arubano is the first school in Aruba and the Dutch Caribbean to have played host to the Unreal Campaign. Ms. Booi is confident that more schools in Aruba and the region will follow. 

The Unreal Campaign is INTA’s public awareness initiative designed to educate teenagers about the concept of intellectual property, the importance of trademarks, and the dangers of counterfeit products.

To learn more about the Unreal Campaign, please visit www.inta.org/unrealcampaign or contact Senior Coordinator, Communications Laura Heery at lheery@inta.org. 

Thank you to our 2017 Campaign sponsors that help to make these events possible!
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July 31
Study Shows Korean Consumers’ Changing Attitudes on Counterfeiting

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At the Busan Global Gathering, which took place on May 20, 2017, the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK), the prime advocacy organization for European companies conducting business in and with Korea, conducted a survey that analyzed consumers’ perceptions of counterfeit products. 

The goal of the survey was to gather information on Korean consumers’ perceptions of counterfeit products, these consumers’ purchasing patterns, and their opinions on increased enforcement activities against counterfeiting. The ECCK has conducted several similar studies on Korean consumers’ attitudes towards counterfeiting, including surveys in 2015 and 2016. 

Sven-Erik Batenburg, ECCK’s Head of Legal & International Affairs, remarked: “Since its establishment, ECCK has focussed on improving the IP environment in Korea by cooperating with relevant stakeholders. One of the key factors in achieving such improvement is the enhancement of public awareness of the benefits that IP provides and the damage that IP infringements (in particular, counterfeiting) can cause. ECCK conducts a yearly survey in Busan in order to measure consumer perception on counterfeiting. These surveys have shown a consistently high level of support for enhanced sentencing, including for consumers of counterfeit products. This year’s survey also serves to highlight the increased importance of online intermediaries. ECCK will continue its efforts to improve not only the offline, but also the online IP environment, for the benefit of all.”

The recent survey contained seven questions. Among the 407 respondents, 240 were female, 136 were male, and 31 did not indicate their gender. 

Out of the total number of respondents, 166 (41%) said that they had purchased counterfeit products. Those who reported having purchased counterfeits were predominantly in their twenties. 

Online shopping and e-commerce, including platforms like Alibaba, G-Market, Interpark, and Coupang, were the most commonly reported shopping outlets. Furthermore, respondents in their teens and twenties displayed the highest use of online platforms for counterfeit purchases. Compared with the ECCK’s 2015 study, the percentage of online platform users has nearly doubled (from 21% to 38%). 

The most appealing counterfeit products were all related to the apparel industry, with 29% of respondents reporting purchasing (or a desire to purchase) clothing or shoes, 27% bags or wallets, and 11% jewelry or watches. 

While almost all respondents (96%) said that counterfeiting is a problem, that it damages a brand-owner’s image, that it hurts local businesses, and that it harms consumers, more than half of all respondents (56%) reported that they believe most people purchase counterfeit goods because of a counterfeit’s low price. This is consistent with the ECCK’s 2015 study, where 68% of respondents reported that they believe a counterfeit’s low price is the most significant factor for consumer demand of counterfeit goods. 

More than two thirds of respondents expressed a desire for enhanced punishment of individuals involved in the counterfeit industry, while 17% of respondents advocated for punishing purchasers of counterfeit products. Since the ECCK’s 2015 study, there has been a trend of more favorable attitudes toward increasing anticounterfeiting enforcement activities. 

The full study and related materials can be accessed here

July 26
Join the TMAP Co-Chairs in the Big Easy!

​Conference Co-Chairs Karen Holme (Sunkist Growers, Inc., United States) and Daniela Rojas (Hilborne Hawkin & Co., United States) recently met with INTA to discuss INTA's 2017 Trademark Administrators and Practitioners Meeting, which will take place in New Orleans on September 17–19, 2017. 

This year, the meeting program is designed to reflect the flavor and energy of New Orleans—in particular, the inspiration and empowerment that one can find in this great city. Exciting new activities will feature TMAP’s first team-building and charity event with Bikes for Kids. Bikes for Kids will also be having a finale event at the end of the meeting. 

Of course, the TMAP Meeting will also feature educational events and professional development series—including sessions focused on emotional intelligence and creating personal branding. TMAP will also bring back some popular items, such as the Dine Around events and Table Topics. 

How will you benefit from attending this year’s Trademark Administrators and Practitioners Meeting? To learn more and register today, watch the full video interview with Karen Holme and Daniela Rojas at www.inta.org/TMAP!

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July 25
U.S. Representative Member and Co-Chair of the Congressional Trademark Caucus Hosts Two Roundtables with INTA in South Florida

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On Monday, July 10th, in collaboration with the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, INTA hosted two small-business roundtables in Florida, in Ft. Lauderdale and Boca Raton. The roundables, focused on trademarks, began with opening comments from U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL-22nd), who is Co-Chair of the Congressional Trademark Caucus (CTC), and later featured a panel of IP experts. With over a hundred Florida small-business owners in attendance, the roundtables gave attendees an opportunity to connect with experts in trademark law and to learn more about what trademarks mean for their enterprises. Following INTA’s successful small-business roundtable in Delaware earlier this year, these roundtables continued INTA’s initiative to provide education and outreach to small businesses about trademarks. 

U.S. Representative Deutch, who also serves as an active member of the House Judiciary Committee, noted the importance of trademarks as a key component for a successful business and discussed the need for businesses to protect their products and reputations. 

Following Representative Deutch’s remarks, the panel of IP experts were introduced, including the following professionals:

  • Christina DeAngelis, INTA member and Intellectual Property Counsel, Jarden Group–Newell Brands
  • Jonel Hein, South Florida, Deputy District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Craig Morris, Managing Attorney for Trademark Outreach, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • Deborah Cohn (Moderator), INTA Senior Director of Government Relations

flroida2_072717_300.jpgThe IP experts panel provided an overview of the U.S. trademark system, including a summary of the process for applying for trademark registration and trademark enforcement. The panelists encouraged attendees to seek assistance and guidance from trademark lawyers, the USPTO, and the U.S. Small Business Administration before making decisions about their intellectual property. Further, the panelists answered questions from members of the business community in the audience and provided best practices and tips about trademark prosecution and enforcement. 

INTA enjoyed working with Rep. Deutch and his staff. The Association plans to host trademark education and outreach roundtables with congressional partners and INTA local members. For further information about our roundtable plans, please contact Debbie Cohn, Senior Director of Government Affairs, at dcohn@inta.org.

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