One of the projects of the 2016‒2017 Enforcement Committee was to address the need for educational workshops for judges on IP and trademark matters. After a first workshop was rolled out in 2016 in Costa Rica, the respective task force, under the lead of Editha Hechanova (Hechanova Bugay Vilchez & Andaya-Racadio, Philippines), established contact with the Court of Justice of the Andean Community to organize Judges Workshops for this highest level court for the community consisting of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
The first workshop, set at the seat of the Andean Community Court in Quito, Ecuador, on October 26, was predominantly organized by local member and INTA Board member Maria Cecilia Romoleroux (Corral Rosales, Ecuador), who was able to gain the support of Pablo Tinajero, Justice at the National Court of Justice of Ecuador. The event attracted more than 120 guests, consisting of the judges of the Andean Community Court as well as the Administrative Litigation Court of Ecuador and Examiners of the Trademark Office of Ecuador, IEPI. Ms. Romoleroux moderated the program and speakers included Dr. Tinajero, Christian Bittel from the Buenos Aires‒based ASDIN (Asociación de Derechos Intelectuales), and José Luis Londoño, INTA’s Chief Representative Officer for Latin America.
The workshop addressed several current topics of interest relating to the Andean Community Court and IP law, including the system and functioning of the Andean Community Court and the interpretation of its judgments by the local courts, the application and implementation of Andean Community rulings, patentability, and well-known marks and their treatment in the Andean Community. Interestingly, the vast majority of Andean Community Court rulings concern IP cases following the leading decision 486/2000, which updated Andean IP laws in order for Andean Community members to meet TRIPS Agreement protection standards. Some of the latest case law of the Andean Community Court concern the partial cancellation for non-use of a trademark and an interpretation of Decision 486 with regard to the evidentiary requirements on the trademark owner in these cancellation cases.
With respect to the protection of well-known marks, the Andean Community Court distinguishes between trademarks registered in the Andean Community and those registered outside, with significant privilege attaching to the registration or use of a trademark within the Andean Community, where neither registration nor use in the country of application are required to obtain protection in the Andean Community as a whole. The same benefits do not apply for extra-communitarian well-known marks, for which use and registration need to be shown in order for the well-known status to apply.
While the IP decisions of the Andean Community Court seem to be advancing trademark protection in the Andean Community, the judges and attendees of the event seemed to appreciate the lively discussions about the local law and INTA’s positions and policies. INTA welcomed the opportunity to interact with the judges and other attendees and engage in the exchange of knowledge and ideas in trademark matters with a view to increasing understanding and appreciation of trademark law and jurisprudence worldwide. The Association hopes to be invited to organize similar events in the other Andean Community states in 2018 to continue this important project.
INTA and the Enforcement Committee wish to thank Ms. Romoleroux for her tireless work in organizing and hosting this event.
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© 2017 International Trademark Association