INTA Engages with Andean Community Judges on IP Enforcement

Published: August 15, 2018

The Judicial Training Task Force of INTA’s Enforcement Committee, in association and cooperation with the Andean Community Court and Colombia’s Consejo Superior de la Judicatura (the Supervisory Organ for Judges and Courts in Colombia), organized and hosted a workshop on July 30 in BogotÁ, Colombia.

Following a 2017 event in Quito, Ecuador, this second Andean Community‒focused workshop was created for Colombian judges of first and second instances and addressed trademark rights and the significant role the Andean Community Court and System have in intellectual property (IP) enforcement matters. In addition to the judges in the auditorium of the Consejo Superior, the program was broadcast live stream to 20 local court offices around the country, reaching more than 400 judges.

The Andean Community Explained
In his introduction, Justice Luis Rafael Vergara Quintero provided a detailed overview of the Andean Community System and the history of its development and implementation. The Andean Community System, which was modeled on the European Union, aims to harmonize Andean Community laws and jurisprudence in an effort to create legal security and, as a consequence, trust in the judicial system.

In the spirit of this mission, the Andean Tribunal of Justice is charged with different special judicial areas, including the issuance of so-called Interpretaciones Prejudiciales (“prejudicial interpretations”), which constitute the response of the Andean Community Court to requests by first and second instance judges in IP matters to clarify the application of provisions of the Andean Code in these cases, in much the same way the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) functions. In the first instance, the submission of these requests for clarification are optional, but in the second instance, or any proceedings which do not allow for an appeal, judges are required to solicit the interpretation of any applicable Andean Community regulations by the Andean Community Court. Consequently, the Andean Tribunal of Justice is one of the busiest international courts-its four judges, each originating from the four Community countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, have decided 2,478 cases since 2010.

An Interactive Discussion
Particularly during the Q&A period, the lively discussion between the speakers and the judges demonstrated that topics such as the interaction between local courts and the Andean Tribunal of Justice were of significant interest to-and at times considerable confusion for-the local judges. The intense intellectual exchanges continued over lunch, during which the judges had the chance to address different issues and concerns, while the representatives of the Andean Tribunal of Justice in turn answered questions and offered insights into the operation of the court and processing of cases.

In addition to the further details on the Andean Community System and the process of the Interpretaciones Prejudiciales, Magistrado Hugo Gomez Apac, the Tribunal’s Peruvian Justice, provided the audience with recent decisions on topics such as “Trademarks vs. Tradenames,” “Border Measures,” “Famous & Well-Known Marks,” and “Confusion Between Goods and Services.” These discussions were complemented by presentations on comparisons of the Colombian and Mexican systems of preliminary injunctions by Gerardo Florez (Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría S.A.S, Colombia) and Miguel Angel Carpio (Carpio, Ochoa, Martinez & Brik, S.C., Mexico); a discussion about the treatment of evidence by courts between Martin Zuluaga and Gregory Torregrosa, Judicial Affairs Counsel at the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce; and information and outlook on the protection of nontraditional marks in Colombia, Mexico, and other jurisdictions, as offered by Ian Raisbeck (Raisbeck & Castro, Colombia) and Mr. Angel Carpio. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was represented by Tobias Bednarz, Legal Officer, Building Respect for IP Division (Switzerland), who informed the audience of the importance of enforcement as an important tool in building respect for IP.

A Promising Future
The audience’s keen interest and interactive participation confirms the significance of IP matters in courts in Colombia, as well as within the Andean Community System. As Magistrate Jose Agustin Suarez, of the Consejo Superior de la Judicatura, very eloquently stated in his opening remarks, quoting Justice Posner, “the future of a nation depends in no small measure on the efficiency of the industry, and the efficiency of the industry depends in no small measure on the protection of IP.”

The event was a huge success for IP protection in Latin America, but also opened the dialogue between the judges in Colombia and the Andean Community Tribunal and paved the way for continued productive interactions. Due to the significance of the Andean Community rulings for the protection and enforcement of IP in the region, INTA is planning its next workshop of this kind in cooperation with the tribunal for Lima, Peru, at the end of this year.

INTA wishes to warmly thank the Andean Court, Judiciary Council of Colombia, Superintendence of Industry and Commerce, and WIPO for supporting and hosting the program. In addition, a special thank you goes out to the speakers from the Enforcement Committee for their valuable contributions.

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. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

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