A beautiful church on the edge of the Candelaria district in Bogota, Colombia
This past August, as part of the Association’s ongoing effort to strengthen relationships with the trademark offices and associations throughout Latin America, INTA sent a delegation to the region. Composed of INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo, INTA leadership, subcommittee chairs, External Relations Coordinator for Anticounterfeiting Maysa Razavi and myself, External Relations Coordinator for Latin America, Gabrielle Doyle, the delegation travelled to the region to visit the countries of Panama, Colombia and Brazil.
Kicking off the visit in Panama, the delegation met with the National Customs Authority, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Director of the Panama Industrial Property Registry, the Advisor to the Panamanian Minister of Commerce and Industries and the Special Prosecutor’s Office on Crimes against Intellectual Property and Cyber Security. We were eager to discuss intellectual property and anticounterfeiting initiatives with the various officials, particularly because the Panama Canal expansion project is scheduled to be completed within the next year. The expansion will more than double the Canal’s capacity, enabling it to accommodate ships that are too large to traverse the existing canal. Following the expansion, the number of containers passing through the canal will increase from 6 million per year to 21 million—also increasing the likelihood of counterfeited merchandise passing through Panama.
Shipping containers waiting to pass through the Panama Canal
From Panama, the delegation travelled to Bogota, Colombia. In just two days the delegates met with the Deputy Director of Foreign Trade at the Directorate of National Taxes and Customs (DIAN), had coffee with numerous officials at the Colombian Attorney General’s Office, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce, and inaugurated the agreement with a training session for trademark examiners and an Unreal Campaign event. This MoU marks INTA’s third agreement of collaboration in Latin America, the first two being agreements with Mexico’s IMPI (Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial) and with Brazil’s INPI (Instituto Nacional da Propriedad Industrial).
INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo and Superintendent Jose Luis Londoño signing the MoU
In Sao Paulo, the delegation attended the Brazilian Intellectual Property Association’s (ABPI’s) 34th Annual International Congress. The well-organized conference included a variety of panels and plenaries on topics ranging from 3D printing to fluid trademarks to trade dress. During the Congress, the delegation sat down with Brazil’s INPI President, Otavio Brandelli, Trademark Director Vinicius Bogea and the Coordinator of IP Global Issues Marcus Dudkiewicz to discuss the Brazilian government’s role in encouraging the development of knowledge-intensive industries, innovation and IP. Overall, it was an especially thought-provoking and motivating conference.
The delegation ended its eight-day journey in beautiful Rio de Janeiro, where we met with INPI officials, including Mr. Bogea and the rest of his staff, and organized an examiners’ training session and a government roundtable titled “From the World Cup to the Olympics: Enforcement Practices in Brazil.” Among those presenting at the roundtable were the IP manager for the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, a legal consultant for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Nike’s Brand Protection Manager.
The view of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil